The Kiwikiu lives as long as 16 years, choosing a single mate and remaining loyal throughout its life. Reproducing slowly, usually producing only a single chick every year or two, the young birds mature slowly, too. Immature birds remain with their parents from five months to over a year.
The Kiwikiu uses its heavy, specialized bill to split branches and extract insect larvae, the bird’s primary prey.
A new study of algal bloom activity in dozens of freshwater lakes around the world provides an answer: For the past 30 years, lakes nearly everywhere have been experiencing more frequent and severe toxic algal blooms—and a changing climate is one reason why.
Researchers at theCarnegie Institution for Scienceused satellite data collected over the past three decades to examine large freshwater lakes across six continents. They searched through more than 72 billion data points to identify statistically significant patterns in algal bloom intensity and found that the severity of algal blooms has increased in over two-thirds of the 71 large lakes studied across 33 countries.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Sitta pusilla POPULATION: 1.4 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Loblolly, Longleaf, Shortleaf, and pine-oak forests.
The perky, social Brown-headed Nuthatch never strays far from its favorite pine-forest habitat, where small flocks range through the trees, easily detected by their squeaky calls. Even smaller than its close relative theWhite-breasted Nuthatch, it’s no wonder that this tiny songbird’s species name is pusilla, Latin for “very small.”
The Brown-headed Nuthatch, like theGreen Heron, is one of the few birds in the world known to regularly use tools. When foraging, it may select a flake of pine bark, then use it as a lever to pry up bark scales to get at food hidden beneath, usually insects and spiders or their eggs. This enterprising little bird has also been observed using twigs and pine needles as tools. A Brown-headed Nuthatch will even carry its tool from tree to tree as it forages, or use it to cover up a cache of seeds.