The Cuckoo – under threat in the UK.

A cuckoo sits on a perch in the rain on Thursley Common, England.
The United Kingdom has seen a 71% decline in the breeding population of cuckoos over the last 25 years.
The decline is thought to be linked to the migration routes to wintering grounds in the Congo Basin in West Africa.
The environmental conditions at stop over sites are thought to be the main thing that determine the birds’ migration success with drought and wildfires on the shorter routes having a negative effect, according to scientists.
Image Credit: Photograph by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.
Source: The week in wildlife – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian

Bobolink Songbirds, Lincoln, Missouri.

Bobolink. Photo: Garrett Sheets/Audubon Photography Awards
Species: Bobolink
Location: Dunn Ranch Prairie, Lincoln Township, Missouri
Camera: Canon EOS 60D with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 400
Story Behind the Shot: At sunset the Dunn Ranch Prairie becomes a field of golden grasses, which provided a perfect setting for this male as he perched briefly for a curious glance at my camera.
The robotic tone of his song was echoed by dozens of other Bobolinks as they flew overhead.
I was almost too excited to take the photo, but I secured a burst of photos before he took off, flying far out over the grasses.
Bird Lore: Most songbirds nesting in grasslands of the United States and Canada are short-distance migrants at most.
The Bobolink is a striking exception, vacating North America entirely in fall, spending mid­winter south of the Equator in South America.
Bobolinks molt before migrating, the male trading his snappy summer plumage for subtle buff-brown tones.
Source: The 2019 Audubon Photography Awards: Winners | Audubon

Allen’s Hummingbird, Santa Cruz.

image_3146e-Hummingbird-Tongue

A male Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) near Santa Cruz, CA. Image credit: Shravans14 / CC BY-SA 4.0.
Since the 1830s, ornithologists have assumed that hummingbirds drink by capillary action (wicking), the passive process of a fluid rising into a narrow tube because of forces attracting the liquid to the tube’s solid internal surface.
A new study, led by Dr Alejandro Rico-Guevara from the University of Connecticut, debunks the ‘wicking theory’ and shows that the hummingbird’s tongue actually works as an elastic micropump.
Using high-speed cameras, Dr Rico-Guevara and co-authors filmed the tongue-nectar interaction in 18 hummingbird species, from seven of the nine main hummingbird groups throughout the Americas.
The results were published online today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
“A hummingbird’s tongue, which can be stuck out about the same length as its beak, is tipped with two long skinny tubes, or grooves,” Dr Rico-Guevara explained.
“Rather than wicking, the nectar is drawn into the tongue by the elastic expansion of the grooves after they are squeezed flat by the beak.”
The tongue structure is collapsed during the time it crosses the space between the bill tip and the nectar pool, but once the tip contacts the nectar surface, the supply of fluid allows the collapsed groove to gradually recover to a relaxed cylindrical shape as the nectar fills it.
via Hummingbird Tongues Work Like Elastic Micropumps, Study Shows | Biology | Sci-News.com.

Bald Eagle takes Red Fox for a Ride.

Bald Eagle and Red fox.
Image Credit: Photograph by Kevin Ebi/Audubon Photography Awards
Species: Bald Eagle. Location: San Juan Island National Historical Park, Friday Harbor, Washington.
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS lens; 1/320 second at f/11; ISO 1600.
Story Behind the Shot: I had spent the day photographing foxes and was panning with this kitten running with its prey when an unmistakable cry made me look up.
I just knew the eagle swooping our way was after the fox’s rabbit.
I expected to have only a split second to capture the theft in one explosive frame; instead the eagle snagged the fox and rabbit, carrying both 20 feet off the ground.
After eight seconds it dropped the fox, seemingly unharmed, and flew away with its stolen dinner.
Bird Lore: Bald Eagles eat pretty much anything they want to. Their penchant for dining on carrion may seem less than regal, but they are also powerful predators and pirates.
They capture a wide variety of fish, mammals, and birds, and don’t hesitate to steal others’ prey.
Source: The 2019 Audubon Photography Awards: Winners | Audubon