Grey parrots are endangered and their populations are collapsing across Africa — except for one small oceanic island. Why?

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Wild grey parrots taking flight (Credit: Andrew Bernard, USFWS / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

According to a number of recent studies (for example, this one from 2020), the world’s wild parrots are on a fast track towards extinction, and it’s all our fault. According to that 2020 study, we are not setting aside enough protected spaces to protect parrots, few of these protected spaces are located where wild parrots actually live, and fewer still are large enough for wild parrots to actually comfortably live within.


A recent study finds that parrots will rapidly go extinct if we allow deforestation, agriculture and poaching to continue unabated

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Glossy black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami) fly in for a drink of water during the devastating Australian bush fires of 2020. The glossy black cockatoo is one of is one of Australia’s rarest cockatoo species. The red tail panels reveal these are two males. (Credit: Bowerbirdaus / CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

. . . Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi © Crazy Crow Music

People love parrots for their intelligence, their ability to mimic the human voice, and for their beauty, but at the same time, we are rapidly persecuting them into extinction. According to BirdLife International

Conservation of nature is as important for human happiness and well-being as financial security

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A bluebird of happiness. Adult male mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides). (Credit: Sunny / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

There is growing evidence that exposure to nature, particularly for those who live in urban areas, is essential to human happiness and well-being. But what precisely is it about nature that is essential for happiness: is it the presence of trees? proximity to a body of…

Sudden changes in bird songs and plumage colors provides female songbirds with mate choices that can rapidly lead to establishment of new species in closely related birds — a finding that challenges the typical model of how new species form

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Adult male Iberá seedeater (Sporophila iberaensis) (left; image credit Abel Fleita) and adult male tawny-bellied seedeater (Sporophila hypoxantha) (right; image credit Sheela Turbek) live alongside each other without obvious ecological barriers to reproduction. They recognize their species by song and plumage colors. (Image composite created by GrrlScientist.)

Speciation — the process underlying how one species becomes two — is a poorly understood but critically important evolutionary process that creates and defines all living things. My enduring passion to understand this seemingly straightforward mechanism is certainly what lured me into a career in science. …

Some birds may develop unique behaviors to deal with extreme heat created by global warming

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A small flock of rosy-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis). These small parrots became established in Arizona after pet lovebirds were intentionally released or escaped. (Credit: Charles J. Sharp / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Global climate change is giving rise to a variety of rapid and diverse impacts, including shifts in growing seasons, food sources and species distributions and, as we all can attest, extreme climate events are becoming ever more common and harmful.

Even with all our modern technologies, people — especially residents of urban areas — are barely coping with this onslaught of severe heat, but what about animals? How do they cope? Many animals decrease their activity…

Exotic pets — companion animals that are not native to the area where they are kept — can become invasive pests when they escape or are released by pet owners, breeders, collectors and wholesalers

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Fire ants (genus: Solenopsis) are annoying and sometimes dangerous pests throughout the southeastern United States. There are more than 200 species of ants that both sting and bite. (Credit: Stephen Ausmus, USDA / Public Domain)

It’s no secret that the global market for exotic pets is large and growing, particularly recently, because so many of us stayed home for the past year to comply with the coronavirus pandemic quarantine restrictions.

In the last decade alone, billions of individuals comprising thousands of animal species were traded annually, fueling a multibillion-dollar global industry (i.e…

Although ‘fake news’ and misinformation are big problems for human society and addressing it is a big challenge, the same ‘fake news’ misinformation tactics can be used to trick invasive predators into ignoring a meal

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An adult double-banded plover (Charadrius bicinctus), also known as known as the banded dotterel or pohowera in New Zealand, in nuptial plumage. This ground-nesting shorebird is one of the three bird species that could most benefit from scent deception of invasive mammalian predators. (Credit: Andrej Chudý / CC BY-ND 3.0)

Invasive predators, particularly feral and free-roaming house cats, can be found almost everywhere that people have ever visited or now live, and they are killing one species after another, causing many to become endangered or even extinct (i.e.; see here). At the same time, the public overwhelmingly wants to protect feral and free-roaming cats from lethal…

But surprisingly, only half of all birders have ever heard of certified Bird-Friendly coffees

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Adult male cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea). This migratory songbird breeds in eastern North America and depends on shaded coffee plantations in Central and South America during the winter. This traditional farming technique is at risk as coffee prices fluctuate and as pressure to switch to higher-yield sun coffee or other crops intensifies. (Credit: Mdf / CC BY-SA 3.0)

A little more than one year ago, a study reported that North America lost 3 billion birds in less than 50 years (more here). One of the foremost reasons for this dramatic decline in birds was habitat destruction due to human activities such as logging, farming and mining. …

A 4600 year old painting from a tomb in Egypt depicts an extinct and previously unknown species of goose

Meidum Geese (Detail), Tomb of Nefermaat and Itet. Is this an extinct goose species? (Credit: Anthony Romilio)

An extinct and previously unknown species of goose has been identified from an ancient Egyptian painting that once adorned the walls of a mastaba, or tomb, according to a recently published analysis. This mudbrick tomb was the final resting place of Nefermaat, a prince in Egypt’s Fourth Dynasty (c. 2600 BCE), and his wife, Itet (Figure 1).

The oldest son of king Sneferu, Nefermaat ruled Egypt from 2610 to 2590 B.C. …

The Guam kingfisher has been extinct in the wild for more than 30 years but thanks to intense conservation efforts, it now stands on the brink of being released back into the wild

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NOTE: Originally published under the title: “Extinct Guam Kingfisher Provides Blueprint For Reintroducing Other Long-Lost Animals”

Adult male sihek, or Guam kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus). This critically endangered species is extinct in the wild. (Credit: John Ewen)

The Guam kingfisher, or ‘sihek’ as it’s known by the Chamorros, the indigenous people living on Guam, is becoming a symbol of conservation hope these days. …

𝐆𝐫𝐫𝐥𝐒𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐭, scientist & writer

PhD evolutionary ecology/ornithology. Psittacophile. scicomm Forbes, previously Guardian. always Ravenclaw. discarded scientist & writer, now an angry house elf

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