News roundup, February 26

Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

What’s new?

—Israel works to restore wetlands in the Hula Valley, an important migratory spot for cranes (as shown above) and other birds. [National Public Radio]

—The New York Times delves into the world of Blakiston’s Fish Owls and winter raptor birding excursions. [New York Times]

—Native flowers in Australia have evolved to favor pollination by birds such as this Rainbow Lorikeet rather than insects, according to study published in New Phytologist. (Photo by Peter Waters/Shutterstock) [ScienceAlert]

—Audubon Magazine interviews Jonathan Franzen on his love for birding and obsession with one particular species: the Masafuera Rayadito, found only on a tiny island in the Juan Fernandez archipelago off the Chilean coast. [Audubon]

—Pasadena NPR affiliate KPCC takes a look at the latest in the saga of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to raze acres of wildlife habitat at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. [KPCC]

Guilty pleasure via Huffington Post Green: The world’s largest bird nests by the Social Weaver, photographed in South Africa by Dillon Marsh (photo below). HuffPo’s Dominique Mosbergen reports:

Dillon Marsh, from Cape Town, spent three days wandering in the Kalahari Desert near the South African town of Upington to photograph the huge, avian-built homes. According to a photo caption provided to The Huffington Post by British photographic press agency Rex Features, the pictures were taken earlier in February.

“I had seen these nests as a child while on a holiday with my family and their impressive size had mesmerized me,” Marsh told the Daily Mirror.”I had started to develop an interest in the relationship between people and the environment, and these nests struck me as the perfect subject matter.”

According to earlier research, the nests of social weaver birds (also known as sociable weavers) are believed to be the largest birds’ nests in the world. Reminiscent of giant haystacks, each nest — some of which can grow to over 20 feet wide and about 10 feet tall — can be occupied by hundreds of sociable weavers at a time. [Huffington Post Green]