I’m not sure if there is just a typical post-holiday slowdown of science news or possibly it’s the impact of COVID-19 delaying research results but the volume of press releases seems to be lower than usual.
Nevertheless, we have two upbeat stories to share.
First, the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, announced that Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) populations have re-established in two green spaces in Staten Island, a borough of New York City. Breeding residents were extirpated sometime in the mid-1800s. Exciting news for NYC birders! This also suggests that those green spaces are particularly healthy at this point because pileateds usually need fairly old trees.
This was reported in the November 4, 2020 edition of the Northeastern Naturalist journal. An abstract can be seen here at BioOne: https://bioone.org/journals/northeastern-naturalist/volume-27/issue-4/045.027.0418/The-Re-Establishment-of-Pileated-Woodpeckers-in-New-York-City/10.1656/045.027.0418.short
Transitioning from an urban success story to an intriguing rural one, a research team is reporting that when stressed, female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) like to take a relaxing soak.
Specifically, the body temperature of bears rises during lactation. These bears use natural depressions containing water (features deeper than wallows) for cooling to help themselves overcome constraints on activity and milk production imposed by heat.
The results were published in Functional Ecology, a journal of the British Ecological Society. The collaborative team included researchers from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Cool science, I think!