BIRD OF THE WEEK — JUAN FERNANDEZ FIRECROWN — PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD group

All PLANET EARTH groups supports:

Sierra Club* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) * American Bird Conservancy

PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD has over 1,600 members and over 131,000 photos and videos.

BIRD OF THE WEEK

Juan Fernández Firecrown

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sephanoides fernandensis
POPULATION: 490-2,000
IUCN STATUS: Critically Endangered
TREND: Decreasing
HABITAT: Native scrub, forest, and gardens.

The beautiful Juan Fernández Firecrown is surely one of the world’s most isolated hummingbird species. Unlike mainland birds such as the Chilean Woodstar, this hummingbird is found on just one far-flung Pacific island in Chile’s remote Juan Fernández Archipelago, more than 370 miles west of the South American mainland. That island, Isla Robinson Crusoe, has been designated an Alliance for Zero Extinction site because it contains this species’ entire global population.

The female Juan Fernández Firecrown may not be quite as flashy as the male, but she is still a brilliant dark green above and white below, spangled with iridescent green spots, and topped with an iridescent blue-green crown. (See photo below.) In contrast, the male is a uniform rufous-orange, with a fiery reddish-yellow crown.

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Vermilion Flycatcher on Mesquite Branch

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Finch Dines on Cactus

Spot-Billed Pelican, Bioparc, Fuengirola, Spain

Lazuli Bunting

SIERRA CLUB — SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS TASK FORCE — PLANET EARTH LANDSCAPES group

All PLANET EARTH groups supports:

Sierra Club* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) * American Bird Conservancy

PLANET EARTH LANDSCAPES has over 7,900 members and over 345,000 photos and videos.

The Sierra Club’s Santa Monica Mountains Task Force (SMMTF) was created in 1972. Our initial efforts were to bring attention and support to the Santa Monica Mountains as a great natural, cultural and recreational resource.

The SMMTF has long played an active role in campaigning to purchase significant open space in these mountains. We have worked to elect political leaders who fight to obtain new parkland and who endorse the highest level of protection for natural resources.

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Crepuscular Rays at RSPB Burton Mere

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Oberdiessbach

HISPANIOLA’S HIDDEN TREASURE — BLACK-CAPPED PETREL — PLANET EARTH ARCHITECTURE group

All PLANET EARTH groups supports:

Sierra Club* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) * American Bird Conservancy

PLANET EARTH ARCHITECTURE has over 6,000 members and over 297,000 photos and videos. 

BLACK-CAPPED PETREL

The “little devil,” or Black-capped Petrel, is among the rarest and most secretive seabirds in the Western Hemisphere. Extreme habitat loss on their breeding grounds was thought to have driven the bird extinct until its rediscovery in 1963. This species remains in danger of extinction, with fewer than 2,000 pairs in existence.

These seabirds spend most of their lives in flight over open water, returning to land only to breed. One reason Black-capped Petrels remain little known is that their breeding sites are hidden in the rugged mountains of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nicholas Convent (Pereslavl-Zalessky, Russia)

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The Bridge at Konitsa

BIRD OF THE WEEK — SOUTHERN SCREAMER — PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD group

All PLANET EARTH groups supports:

Sierra Club* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) * American Bird Conservancy

PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD has over 1,600 members and over 130,000 photos and videos. 

BIRD OF THE WEEK

SOUTHERN SCREAMER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chauna torquata
POPULATION: 100,000–1,000,000 individuals.
TREND: Stable
HABITAT: Freshwater tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, including lakes, marshes, flooded grasslands and lagoons.

The Southern Screamer (also known as the Crested Screamer) may look ungainly at first glance, with its big body, disproportionately small head, and thick legs. But this large, gray marsh bird, closely related to geese and other waterfowl, is actually a strong swimmer and flier.

Screamers are the “guard birds” of their habitats; their trumpet-like calls can carry for several miles, warning other birds, such as Blue-throated Macaw, Orinoco Goose, and Streamer-tailed Tyrant, of approaching danger.

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A desert cardinal on an aviary wall

Curruca cabecinegra

House finch in mesquite

Mourning dove on a wall

Happy Blackbird

SIERRA CLUB — A NEW THREAT TO HARP SEALS — PLANET EARTH IN SEPIA group

PLANET EARTH IN SEPIA has over 400 members and over 5,000 photos and videos.

All PLANET EARTH groups supports:

Sierra Club* United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) * American Bird Conservancy

The Canadian government has banned commercial hunting of these vulnerable white pups since 1987 and established strict rules for tourist interaction. That helped to protect the population, but climate change brings new uncertainty to their future. Already the Magdalen archipelago is experiencing stronger storms like Hurricane Dorian, which tore away parts of the islands in 2019. And a diminishing ice barrier no longer protects against winter storms. One study shows that temperatures around the islands have “warmed 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, twice the global average.”  

The difficulty in reaching harp seals is not for lack of seal numbers. According to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), they are 7.4 million strong in three population groups (Northwest Atlantic, Greenland Sea, and White Sea/Barents Sea). The problem is retreating ice resulting from warming waters. This ice loss affects both the seals, who pup on the ice to avoid predators, and the humans on Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, who rely on the ice for protection from winter storms.

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