This week in birds - #325

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:



Savannah Sparrow photographed at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of southeast Texas. 

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The devastating red tide that continues to affect Florida's coast is now having an impact on the fall migration of birds. Shorebirds like Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, and Red Knots are turning up sick because of it.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its outlook for the winterBecause of a likely El Niño, which is the episodic warming of the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean, NOAA is predicting above average amounts of precipitation along the southern tier of the United States, creeping up the East Coast through the Mid-Atlantic. This could mean heavier snowfalls, depending on the strength of the El Niño system.

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How do scientists know that human activity is affecting the global climate? Here's a short review of some of the information that makes them so certain.

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And here's a bit of irony for you: It seems that Hurricane Florence has finally convinced at least some Republicans in North Carolina that global warming and its effects on the climate and weather events is actually a thing!

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The quaking aspen forest that covers 106 acres of Fishlake National Forest in Richfield, Utah, is made up of a single clone and is the most massive organism on Earth. It has existed for thousands of years and even has a unique name: Pando from the Latin word for "I spread." But now the continuing existence of this unique forest is being threatened by overgrazing by herds of hungry animals and human encroachment.

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Climate change affects many systems in Nature and one of those is the balance between winter ticks and their hosts, the moose. Climate change has been delaying snow's arrival, allowing the ticks to multiply to unheard of numbers. One dead moose calf was found with around 100,000 of the creatures on it. The calf died of anemia caused by the parasites. The ticks may cause deaths directly or may make the animals so unhealthy that they are unable to fight off disease or survive difficult weather conditions.

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And although these ticks may be thriving at the moment, a number of long-term studies have documented dramatic declines in invertebrate populations around the world. Insect populations are in crisis and this has a domino effect on the birds, amphibians, and reptiles that feed upon them.

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Vandalism in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has increased since the current administration has reduced the size of it.

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Tahane, a 16-year-old wolf that was a resident at Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Florida, escaped from his enclosure when the fence was damaged during Hurricane Michael last week. The Preserve has issued an urgent plea for residents in the area to be aware of the animal and to please not shoot it. They are hoping to recover him.

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How do you solve a problem like a giant lagoon of pig feces? This is a major problem in places like North Carolina where large pig farms exist, especially when a hurricane dumps a lot of water and spreads the toxic feces all over the landscape.

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Architects of high rise buildings with a lot of glass are becoming more aware of the problem of bird collisions with their buildings that result in massive numbers of deaths each year. Although advances have been made, almost a billion birds are killed in these collisions in the United States every year.

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The deadly fungus called white nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. and Canada. Now the plague appears to be moving farther west and scientists are trying to get ahead of it to prevent further spread. 

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The current administration is moving to restrict the release of information about its decisions on endangered species. The move comes as wildlife advocates and scientists accuse the government of attempting to weaken protections for wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears and sage grouse, while boosting domestic energy production and mining in crucial animal habitat.
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Strict managing of hunting of rare species of birds can help those species become more common once again. 
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Many species in the satyrine group of butterflies - which includes such well-known species as Monarchs, Emperors, and Admirals - have swollen veins at the base of their wings that serve as a kind of "ear" that is sensitive to low frequency sounds.

Comments

  1. Well, we are off this coming week to visit Zion National Park. Going to see some mighty nature!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So varied news and not that good either...Plant and animal species dying right and left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was, in fact, a depressing week of news about the environment.

      Delete
    2. It seems the trend this year. :-(

      Delete

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