Plants of the genus Arisaema (Araceae) are poisonous perennial herbs that produce an assemblage of fruits similar in appearance to peeled cobs of maize (sweetcorn). Since the ripe fruits are bright orange-red and very conspicuous, it has been believed that birds eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. However, although there are many species of Arisaema in Japan, there is no detailed information on their frugivores. We used automatic cameras to examine foraging on two species of Arisaema, A. limbatum and A. serratum, in secondary forests, mainly in Kanagawa Prefecture, southern Kanto District, central Japan. These species are very similar in appearance but their fruiting seasons differ: the former in midsummer, and the latter in autumn-winter. We discovered that for A. limbatum the Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis was an exclusively important frugivorous bird in the study area. However, for A. serratum, several species — the Brown-eared Bulbul, Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus, Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus, Copper Pheasant Syrmaticus soemmerringii, Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea, Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma, Brown-headed Thrush T. chrysolaus and Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus — ate the red fruits. Among them, the first four species were regarded as being major frugivores of A. serratum. Twelve mammal species were confirmed in close proximity to the fruits of Arisaema. We observed that the large Japanese field mouse Apodemus speciosus foraged the fruits of A. limbatus and ate seeds rather than the fleshy fruit pulp, and so appeared to be a seed predator rather than a seed disperser. No other mammals were observed taking the fruits of Arisaema.
We measured the nutritional composition and energetic values of 19 prey species of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in Chubu, central Japan. Samples were collected during 2005–2012 from several breeding colonies, fish markets, rivers, and the sea near colonies. Lipid content and energetic value (dry mass based) varied widely, from 0.6% and 12.43 kJ/g for red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii to 38.2% and 27.79 kJ/g for white-spotted conger Conger myriaster.
On August 1, 2013, a Jungle Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus and two chicks were found in a plantation of hinoki cypress Chamaecyparis obtusa at Chichibu, Saitama, Japan. We observed the brooding habits of the Jungle Nightjar and relocation movements of the chicks, but we were unable to confirm the sex of the adult Jungle Nightjar. When we approached the nest, the adult bird feigned an injury to draw our attention away from the nest. The chicks walked and moved whenever the adult bird left the nest. We found the chicks at different locations whenever we visited the nest. The furthest distance from where the chicks hatched was 15 m.
In August 2013, Mr. Toyoharu Usuda donated a collection of skin specimens that he and his father, Mr. Toyota Usuda, have collected, to the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. The collection is comprised of 168 specimens of 100 species, containing six specimens of two mammal species. Mr. Yasuhiro Satō is Mr. Toyota Usuda’s son-in-law, and took over a part of Mr. Usuda’s collection. In October 2013, he also donated the collection to the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. The collection is comprised of 33 specimens of 28 bird species. Unfortunately, the donation included many specimens of which the localities and dates were unknown, because many were unlabeled and Mr. Toyota Usuda is now deceased. According to the remaining labels, almost all specimens were collected in and around Niigata City from 1918 to 1973.
A collection of bird study specimens comprising 213 individuals of 106 species was donated to Yamashina Institute of Ornithology by the Fukushi family in June 2013. According to the labels, these specimens were collected in mainly Sapporo, Hokkaido, from 1879 to 1906 by Naritoyo Fukushi. Fukushi collected birds in Hokkaido with Thomas W. Blakiston, who first noticed the faunal boundary in Tsugaru Strait, which was subsequently named “Blakiston’s Line” in his honor.
Dr. Yoshimaro Yamashina (1900–1989) was a Japanese ornithologist and the founder of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology. His two-volume “A Natural History of Japanese Birds”, published in 1934 and 1941, was an important contribution that had a major influence on the development of Japanese ornithology. One characteristic of the book is the use of figures printed from wood engravings. Indeed, this is thought to be the only Japanese bird book that includes figures made in this way. The Institute has been working on registration and preservation of the old unattended materials. The project revealed materials, such as original drawings, wood blocks and autographed manuscripts that Dr. Yamashina had used in preparing the handbook. A total of 527 related materials were registered, consisting of 51 autographed manuscripts, 448 original drawings, wood blocks, etc., and 28 miscellaneous items such as letters and envelopes. It was evident that Dr. Yamashina had shown a meticulous attention to detail in the preparation of his handbook. Furthermore, he had kept working on writing with a clear intention of publishing a third volume. The materials for the published and unpublished handbooks are important for studying the history of the development of Japanese ornithology, and they are also valuable as a means of showing that Japan at that time had a culture capable of producing such a book. Most of these materials are owned by the Institute.