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Birds of North America by Pop Chart Lab Wall Calendar 2019 - cover

Birds of North America by Pop Chart Lab Wall Calendar 2019

Wonder Page-A-Day Calendar 2019 - cover

Wonder Page-A-Day Calendar 2019

Everything Grows with Love Wall Calendar 2019 - cover

Everything Grows with Love Wall Calendar 2019

A Year of Gratitude Page-A-Day Calendar 2019 - cover

A Year of Gratitude Page-A-Day Calendar 2019

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Page-A-Day® Calendar Pet Contests

Think your kitty is the cutest? Got a pampered pup? Enter them in our weekly online contests and print calendar contests on Page-A-Day®!

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Calendars for Animal Lovers

We love animals and pets! Check out our 2019 calendars for animal lovers.

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

Focus Features, The Palindrome, Centro Televisivo Vaticano, Celestes Images, Solares Fondazione delle arti, Neue Road Movies, Decia Films, Fondazione Solares Suisse and PTS Art’s Factory present a 96 minute, Documentary, Biography, directed by Wim Wenders, written by Wenders and David Rosier with a theatre opening date of May 18, 2018.

Cat Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

A gift of pure pleasure for the cat lover, Cat Gallery Calendar is a year of enchanting photographs in color and black-and-white, printed to the exacting standards of a fine art book. Each image showcases the beauty, grace, and mischievous spirit of a unique cat: A beautiful tabby exploring a rocky seashore. A wide-eyed black cat peeking out from behind the couch. An elegant Siamese sunbathing by a patch of flowers. It’s a loving, day-by-day tribute to our most beguiling and delightful animal companion.

The Rolex of calendars, the Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar elevates what a calendar can be, incorporating engaging content with the weight, style, and visual richness usually reserved for art books. A sophisticated gift for collectors, connoisseurs, and aficionados—and an aesthetic upgrade for any desktop.

 

Dog Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

 

The ultimate gift for the dog lover: a year of extraordinary canine portraits, in color and black-and- white. A joyous spaniel bounding across an open field. A Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound standing in the falling snow. A Goldendoodle waiting eagerly by the front door for his morning walk. Plus a Shar-Pei enjoying a day by the ocean, a German Shorthaired Pointer with her favorite tennis ball, and a Corgi playing in a pile of autumn leaves. Each image captures its subject in beautiful detail, reminding us why the dog is man’s best friend.

The Rolex of calendars, the Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar elevates what a calendar can be, incorporating engaging content with the weight, style, and visual richness usually reserved for art books. A sophisticated gift for collectors, connoisseurs, and aficionados—and an aesthetic upgrade for any desktop.

The Dogist Wall Calendar 2018

 

Nobody captures dogs like The Dogist, aka photographer Elias Weiss Friedman. Author of the New York Times bestselling book The Dogist and Instagram phenomenon with over 2 million followers and climbing, Friedman has a gift for getting down on a dog’s level and, in a few quick snaps of his camera, finding the indelible, individual spirit of the animal he’s photographing. The result: warm, heartfelt, arrestingly beautiful candid portraits of dogs on the street in all their variety and glory. Now in its second year, with each month featuring a new themed collection of main and supporting images, including Portable Pooches, Dogs of Summer, Besties, Two of a Kind, and more.

Bad Cat Wall Calendar 2018

 

Bad Cat is a rude walk on the feline wild side. Here are cats going rogue in places where they shouldn’t be—in sinks, in toilets, in houseplants. Here are cats plotting escapes, warding off children, scamming their owners, yet still expecting to be spoiled rotten! Sneaky cats, fat cats, naughty cats, bored cats, and—perhaps worst of all— cats plotting revenge for all those costumes they were forced to wear during the holidays. With bonus features such as Bad Cat Beauty Secrets, Least Wanted Bad Cats, Bad Cat Diet Secrets, Who’s Who in Bad Cats, and Bad Cat Early Warning Signs.

Unlikely Friendships Wall Calendar 2018

 

The Unlikely Friendships book series has charmed readers with its tender tales of love between animals of all shapes and sizes. The Unlikely Friendships Calendar features 12 stories of heart-tugging interspecies friendship, each accompanied by a charming, full-color photograph of the pair. A large capybara is groomed by a crew of monkey stylists. A dachshund snuggles up to a hedgehog. A Belgian Malinois and an owl defy expectations and find common ground in play. A calendar that the whole family will love.

Audubon Nature: A Birder's Wall Calendar 2018

 

Audubon Nature is the definitive wall calendar for nature lovers, birders, environmentalists, and travel enthusiasts alike. Here are glorious sites in nature—and the birds that inhabit them—across seasons and locales. Discover the beauty of a Trumpeter Swan gliding in Wonder Lake, Denali National Park. Behold the amazing Dalmatian Pelicans at Lake Kerkini, Greece. Take a peek at the secretive Northern Goshawk sitting among aspens in Dixie National Forest, Utah. Printed on responsibly sourced paper, this wall calendar provides transporting and awe-inspiring views of the great outdoors.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar 2018

 

It’s a yearlong journey of a lifetime, and your expert guide is Patricia Schultz, author of the phenomenally successful 1,000 Places to See Before You Die® travel series. Each month, discover a new extraordinary location, from the Czech Republic to Buenos Aires to Italy’s glorious Amalfi Coast. Exceptional full-color photographs—one large image at the top of each page and smaller ones throughout the grids—are accompanied by detailed trip itineraries, maps, and captivating text that highlights local history, travelers’ tips, and more.

365 Cats Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

The all-time bestselling cat calendar is packed with full-color photographs to feed the cat lover’s obsession. Here they are: the playful, mischievous, and lovable winners of the 2018 Cat Calendar Contest. A gray cat with striking orange eyes. A Ragdoll-Himalayan living the good life on a tropical beach. A patriotic tabby posing with Old Glory. Plus a cat hitching a ride on a donkey, oodles of adorable kittens, the spotted Savannah, and other unusual breeds; trivia—Did you know that when a cat blinks or looks away, it is feeling affectionate?—and cat lover quotes: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”—Edgar Allan Poe

365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

Starring the charming winners of the 2018 Dog Calendar Contest, 365 Dogs Page-a-Day Calendar is the bestselling calendar that provides season after season of poodles romping in the snow, retrievers fetching in flower beds, Rottweilers doggy-paddling through pools, and terriers diving into leaf piles. A Cocker Spaniel basks in the sun. A Lab dives underwater in pursuit of a ball. Plus, meet shiny-coated Dobermans, fluffy Samoyeds, pouty Pugs, mutts of all kinds, and even lesser-known breeds like the adorable and spirited Japanese Chin.

Audubon Birds Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

The Audubon BirdsPage-A-Day Calendar is a celebration of gorgeous and diverse species from around the world, photographed in their native habitats. Whether it’s the grace of a swan gliding across the water, the sleek outline of a hunting hawk’s wings, or the striking palette of a painted bunting, each photograph captures the unique spirit and beauty of the featured bird.

Cat Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/cat-page-a-day-gallery-calendar-2018

Price: $16.99 (US)

Dog Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/dog-page-a-day-gallery-calendar-2018

Price: $16.99 (US)

The Dogist Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/the-dogist-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

Bad Cat Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/bad-cat-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

Unlikely Friendships Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/unlikely-friendships-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

Audubon Nature: A Birder's Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/audubon-nature-a-birders-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

1,000 Places to See Before You Die Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/1-000-places-to-see-before-you-die-picture-a-day-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

365 Cats Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/365-cats-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/365-dogs-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price:$14.99 (US)

Audubon Birds Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/audubon-birds-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

 

The three-part series, narrated by actor David Tennant, deploys 50 spycams to record many first-time images of penguin behavior

The life of a penguin is not an easy one, but recording the challenges faced by nature’s most devoted parents and their offspring in remote parts of the world was nearly as hard, and only possible due to the placement of spycams in their midst. For nearly a year, filmmakers deployed 50 animatronic cameras disguised as realistic life-size penguins, eggs and rocks to infiltrate the colonies of three very different species:  emperor penguins in Antarctica, rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands, and Humboldt penguins in Peru’s Atacama Desert. The resulting footage shows what it is really like to be a penguin from a whole new perspective.

Take a front row seat as they journey to their breeding grounds, raise chicks, dodge predators and return to the sea when Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation airs on three consecutive Wednesdays, September 24, October 1 and 8, 2014 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After broadcast, the episodes will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.

Series director John Downer (“Earthflight”) and his team filmed 1000 hours of intimate behavior for this project using both animatronic and conventional cameras, footage which was later condensed to three hours for broadcast. Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation contains a number of notable firsts due to the sheer length of time the production crews spent observing the colonies as well as to the presence of the spycams.

At the cold Antarctic breeding ground of the emperor penguins, emperorcams and eggcams await the arrival of prospective parents. In a humorous sequence, female emperors engage in flipper fights over the more limited pool of potential mates. Even when it’s clear which emperors are officially couples, some female rivals still try to disrupt a pair, sometimes when mating. Later, egg-laying by a female is filmed for the very first time. The footage shows how the mother uses her tail feathers to catch the couple’s single egg while her feet cushion the fall. A dropped egg on the ice would quickly freeze leaving the parents childless.

On the Falkland Islands, rockhoppercams, eggcams and even rockcams capture other firsts, including the underwater arrival of rockhopper penguins battling the stormy South Atlantic seas as they head for dry land. Some rockhoppers are also filmed using mountaineering techniques, rather than hopping, as they struggle to scale the steep rock walls to reach their clifftop nests. On a darker note, pairs that have lost their chicks to predators turn to kidnapping from others in their desperation to find another chick to care for and heated fights ensue.

The shy and rarely-filmed Humboldt of Peru’s Atacama Desert is the only mainland penguin to live in the tropics. At night, low-light Humboldtcams reveal for the first time how hungry vampire bats feed on both adults and chicks while the Humboldts fight back by kicking dirt in their faces. Other sequences show how the penguins maneuver through dangerous booby bird colonies, gangs of fur seals and potentially deadly sea lions to make their way back and forth to their nests from the sea.

With 50 remotely controlled spycams operating in tough environments, there are always mishaps:  losing three eggcams in a blizzard or having a rockhoppercam lose its head in an attack by a jealous mate. But when a predator bird mistakes eggcam for the real thing and flies off with it, viewers are treated to the first aerial of a penguin colony shot by a flying bird. The spycams, which captured many first time events and challenges faced by these dedicated parents and chicks, provide new insights into the study of penguin behavior.

Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation

Episode 1:  The Journey – airs Wednesday, September 24 at 8 p.m.

Emperor penguins cross a treacherous frozen sea to reach their breeding grounds. Rockhoppers brave the world’s stormiest seas only to come ashore and face a daunting 300-foot cliff, hopping most of the way up. Tropical Humboldt penguins negotiate a gauntlet of dangers to reach their desert burrow nests. The hard work for all the penguins finally pays off when their tiny, vulnerable chicks begin to hatch.

Episode 2:  First Steps – airs Wednesday, October 1 at 8 p.m.

Watched by spycams, newborn emperor penguins in Antarctica are seen walking on their mothers’ feet and taking their own first unsteady steps. On the Falklands, rockhopper chicks meet their unruly and predatory neighbors while eggcams provide unique views of the colony. In Peru, Humboldt chicks take on fur seals and take aim at gulls.

Episode 3:  Growing Up – airs Wednesday, October 8 at 8 p.m.

As their chicks become increasingly independent, emperor and rockhopper parents place them in a crèche and go fishing. Humboldt chicks are left in their burrows as the adults head for the beach. As the young grow bigger and preen out baby fluff they sport punk hairdos. Emperor chicks go skating while rockhopper chicks practice jumping skills. Eventually all the chicks leave for the sea, tackling the same hazards as their parents before them, from sea lions to predatory birds, high cliffs to glaciers.

A two-hour version of this three-hour series, titled “Penguins: Waddle All the Way,” aired on Discovery Channel last November.

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET.  For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, A Nature Special Presentation is produced by John Downer Productions for BBC.

Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry.  Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers.  The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television. 

Nature has won over 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 12 Emmys and three Peabodys. The series received two of wildlife film industry’s highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Recently, the International Wildlife Film Festival honored Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.

PBS.org/nature is the award-winning web companion to Nature, featuring streaming episodes, filmmaker interviews, teacher’s guides and more.

Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Estate of Elizabeth A. Vernon, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Susan Malloy and the Sun Hill Foundation, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by the nation’s public television stations.

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*****NEW FALL SEASON 33 PROGRAM LISTINGS ON PAGE 4

About WNETAs New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.

NEW FALL SEASON 33 PROGRAM LISTINGS

Wednesday, October 15, 8-9 p.m. on PBS

Nature “Animal Misfits” 

Life on earth is incredibly diverse, but it’s not always what you might expect.  Alongside the fastest, strongest, smartest animals are nature’s misfits.  These odd, bizarre and unlikely creatures at first glance seem-ill equipped for survival.  Left at the starting line in the race for life, these are the apparent losers in the story of evolution, yet somehow they still manage to cling to life and in some cases even thrive.  Animal Misfits reveals some surprising details about how evolution really works, demonstrating that all animals are remarkably well-adapted to their chosen way of life.

Wednesday, November 5, 8-9 p.m. on PBS

Nature “A Sloth Named Velcro”

In 2000 in the jungles of Panama, a young journalist, named Ana, has a chance encounter with a tiny orphaned sloth, which she names Velcro.  For nearly two years, the pair is inseparable until finally Ana travels up a remote river to reintroduce Velcro back to the wild.  This is the story Ana's return to Central and South America to see how much has changed since Velcro came into her life.  Sloths, once largely ignored, have become a hot topic of scientific researchers.  New studies are showing that they're not so sloth-like after all, that they have social structures, they move like primates, and that males keep small harems.  Sloth sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers are also springing up throughout the Americas as development displaces these gentle creatures.  Shot on location in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia this is a story of friendship and a growing network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them.

Wednesday, November 19, 8-9 p.m. on PBS

Nature “Invasion of the Killer Whales”

A remarkable new story is unfolding in the Arctic, one that has never been told before.  As the ice shrinks, the polar bear is struggling to survive in a fast melting world. Polar bears are great hunters on ice but recently their home ground is vanishing from under their feet. Although classified as a marine mammal, the polar bear is not adapted to hunting in the water despite being able to swim huge distances. And they are certainly no match for the world’s greatest aquatic hunter – the killer whale.  In the last few years scientists have started noting an ever-growing number of killer whales in Arctic waters in the summer months.  More and more have been attracted to these huge hunting grounds by the growing expanses of open water.  And they are attacking exactly the same prey animals as the polar bears: seals, narwhal, belugas and bowhead whales. 

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Washington, D.C., January 2, 2014) Bolivia’s Barba Azul Nature Reserve, home to the world’s largest population of the majestic Blue-throated Macaw, has been doubled in size through efforts led by Asociación Armonía, Bolivian partner of American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

Asociación Armonía and several partner groups worked together to purchase an additional 14,820 acres that have expanded Barba Azul Nature Reserve from 12,350 acres to 27,180 acres. The reserve is the only protected savanna in Bolivia’s Beni bioregion that is spared cattle grazing and yearly burning for agricultural purposes.

“Barba Azul” means “Blue Beard” in Spanish and is the local name for the Blue-throated Macaw, which only occurs in Bolivia and is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). It was also recently listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Barba Azul Nature Reserve is the world’s only protected area for the Blue-throated Macaw; the reserve has hosted the largest known concentration of these birds, with close to 100 recorded on the reserve at times.

“Conservation actions of this magnitude for small organizations in poor countries are only possible with outside help. Doubling the size of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve is an excellent example of conservation groups combining their effort to achieve a massive conservation product,” said Bennett Hennessey, Executive Director of Asociación Armonía.

Several organizations and individuals teamed up to achieve this historic conservation result: American Bird Conservancy, Patricia and David Davidson, International Conservation Fund of Canada, IUCN NL / SPN (sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery), Loro Parque Fundación, Rainforest Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants Program, Robert Wilson Charitable Trust, and World Land Trust.

The reserve extension protects broad grassy plains of the Beni savanna that are seasonally flooded in the rainy season. Also included in the newly protected area are a small river as well as “islands” of tropical forest characterized by tropical hardwoods and palms in this sea of grass. Two large forested islands provide crucial foraging habitat for Blue-throated Macaws, while more than 20 small forested islands provide roosting and potential nesting sites for these birds.

“The small forested islands appear to be great sites to use artificial nest boxes to attract Blue-throated Macaws to breed here,” Hennessey added. Armonía is currently working at the reserve to attract Blue-throated Macaws to artificial nest boxes, with support from ABC, Bird Endowment, Loro Parque Fundación, and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

In addition to the macaw, the Barba Azul Nature Reserve supports roughly 250 species of birds. The tall grasslands provide habitat for the Cock-tailed Tyrant and Black-masked Finch, both listed as Vulnerable by IUCN, as well as healthy populations of the Greater Rhea (Near Threatened) and migratory Bobolink from North America. Extensive wetlands attract flocks of waterbirds, including the Orinoco Goose (Near Threatened), which use nest boxes on the reserve. Armonía staff observed more than 1,000 Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the reserve in 2012, making Barba Azul the most important stop-over site for this species in Bolivia. The reserve extension will protect five additional miles of short-grass river shore habitat used by Buff-breasted Sandpipers during their spring migration.

Barba Azul is also a haven for mammals, thanks to the reserve’s protection of the Omi River, which is the only year-round source of water for miles around and a critical dry-season resource. The extension of Barba Azul improves its ability to protect the 27 species of medium and large mammals that depend on this habitat, including giant anteater (Vulnerable), pampas cat, puma, marsh deer (Vulnerable), pampas deer, white-collared peccary, and capybara. The reserve extension is critically important to maintain large protected areas for species needing expansive territories, like the maned wolf and jaguar.

The Beni savanna is an area twice the size of Portugal. It is a land of extreme contrasts, with intensive flooding in the summer and months of drought in the winter. Almost entirely occupied by private cattle ranches, these savannas have undergone hundreds of years of logging, hunting, and cattle ranching. Overgrazing, annual burning to promote new grass growth for cattle, and the planting of exotic grass species have greatly altered this ecosystem, which is now considered critically endangered.

Frequent burning, overgrazing, and timber harvests within forest patches degrade habitat for Blue-throated Macaws and may limit the number and suitability of nesting sites. At Barba Azul, exclusion of cattle is already resulting in the restoration of forest understories, and artificial nest boxes offer hope that Blue-throated Macaws will have more opportunities to breed.

“When we originally purchased the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, it was a habitat that held high abundance of many animals. But once we removed cattle and stopped hunting, net fishing, logging, and uncontrolled grassland burning, the true destructive impact of an overgrazed, poorly controlled ranch could be seen. Everything is rebounding as if the area is recovering from a drought,” said Hennessey.

The Blue-throated Macaw population has declined due to habitat degradation and trafficking for the pet trade. In addition to establishing the reserve, Armonía has worked with local communities in the Beni region to raise awareness of this species and effectively halt illegal trade in this macaw. Additionally, Armonía has provided local communities with beautiful synthetic feather head-dresses for use in traditional festivals as a conservation-friendly alternative to feathers gathered from wild macaws.

Barba Azul is a great place for birdwatchers, wildlife photographers, and researchers, who come from around the world to study birds and mammals based out of the research center on site. Armonía will be building additional cabins for tourists over the coming year. If you are interested in visiting the reserve, please contact BirdBolivia or find more information at ConservationBirding.org. More information about ABC and Armonía’s efforts to conserve the Blue-throated Macaw and Beni savannas is available on their websites.

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American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement. We are proud to be a consistent recipient of Charity Navigator’s four-star rating.

Asociación Armonía is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds and their natural habitat in Bolivia. Armonía’s conservation actions are based on scientific studies and active involvement of local communities, respecting their culture and knowledge. Asociación Armonía is the Bolivian key partner of American Bird Conservancy, BirdLife International, Loro Parque Fundación, Rainforest Trust, and World Land Trust.

Rainforest Trust is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests and save endangered wildlife through community engagement and local partnerships. For 25 years, Rainforest Trust has saved over 7 million acres of critical habitat across the tropics and consistently receives Charity Navigator’s top four-star rating.

(Washington, D.C., May 13, 2013) A new study from scientists at Boise State University shows that even bird species considered “tolerant” of human activity, such as American Kestrels, may be adversely impacted by human disturbance to a far greater degree than many had believed.

The study, authored by Erin H. Strasser and Julie A. Heath of Boise State University, was just published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.

A key finding of the study was that American Kestrels nesting in close proximity to roads and developed areas had elevated stress hormones and high rates of nest abandonment – about ten times higher than kestrels in less-developed areas. American Kestrels are small, colorful falcons often seen perched along roadways and are abundant in urban and agricultural areas.

“In the case of the kestrel, the bird is possibly drawn into the urban environment by the abundant nesting and perching opportunities that environment provides and by the improved prey visibility provided by shorter grass. Unfortunately, this dynamic creates an ecological trap as ultimately the stresses caused by human activity lead the bird to abandon nests far more frequently,” said Heath.

The study involved the monitoring of 89 nest boxes along Idaho’s Interstate 84 (28 nests) as well as on posts and trees along secondary roads in other areas such as suburban (10 nests), rural-residential (24 nests), agricultural (22 nests) and shrubland (15 nests) in the breeding seasons of 2008 and 2009. Most (23 nests, 88%) of the nests that failed did so during incubation. Only three nests failed during the nestling stage. Sixteen of the 26 failed nests (62%) were abandoned.

The study says that cavity nesting birds, such as kestrels, who inhabit noisy environments may compensate for decreased auditory cues by increasing vigilance behaviour, such as visual scans from the nest entrance or flushing from the nest, leading to changes in energy allocation or extended periods away from the nest during incubation. This behavior appears to be followed, at a high rate, by nest abandonment.

The researchers looked at corticosterone levels, which indicate degrees of stress – the equivalent of cortisol in humans. Corticosterone can lead to behavioral and physiological changes that enable individuals to cope with stressful situations, while suppressing other activities such as reproduction.

The data showed that female kestrels nesting in areas with high human activity, such as along noisy roadways, have higher corticosterone levels, but males do not. This could be because females spend more time in the nesting box and thus are exposed more often to stressors such as vehicle noise. These effects lessened the further a nest was from the road.

“Birds evolved in an environment that was not dominated by humans,” Heath noted. “In recent history, human roads and structures have left few areas untouched. We’re just starting to understand the real consequences.”

Given that the vast majority of land in the continental United States is within a mile of a road, wildlife increasingly are exposed to chronic levels of road noise. The resulting increase in stress levels could cause fundamental changes in physiology and behavior across species inhabiting human-dominated environments, which over time could lead to population declines.

As scientists continue to connect the dots between human disturbances and the resulting long-term effects on wildlife, changes already are yielding positive results. Research conducted in preserve areas, such as state parks, has led to reduced speeds and attempts to limit noise, although noise mitigation, while locally effective, may not protect widespread populations such as kestrels from the pervasive threat of traffic noise.

The study concludes that until regulations or economic incentives are developed to encourage engineering innovations that result in quieter roads, projects in areas of human activity with favorable habitat should be discouraged in order to decrease the risk of ecological traps.

According to Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, one of the leading U.S. bird conservation organizations, “Many people think that since they see certain species of birds in urban environments, that they must have adapted to those unnatural surroundings. This study certainly suggests that at least in some circumstances, the exact opposite is true. Birds are being lured away from their more natural environment, into areas where their ability to reproduce is clearly being compromised.”

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.

Open Road Films, Inferno, 1984 Private Defense Contractors, Liddell Entertainment and Scott Free Productions present an R rated, approximately 110 minute, action, adventure, drama, directed by Joe Carnahan, written by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers with a theatrical release of January 27, 2012.