This week in birds - #333

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


White-throated Sparrow perched in a crape myrtle tree. The seeds of the crape myrtle are a major source of food in our area for members of the sparrow and finch families in the late fall and winter, one very good reason why gardeners should not prune those trees until late winter or early spring, if at all.

*~*~*~*

The Audubon Society's 119th Christmas Bird Count starts today, December 14, and continues through Saturday, January 5. It is one of the largest citizen science events of the year and provides much valuable information about the winter population and location of birds. 

*~*~*~*

Climate change is beginning to bite farmers in our midwest and even many who have been reluctant to accept the science are beginning to be alarmed and to advocate for measures to combat the problem.

*~*~*~*

At the U.N. climate summit in Poland, as nations urged action to counteract climate change, the U.S. delegation pushed for more use of fossil fuels, eliciting derision and laughter as well as some protests.

*~*~*~*

Wolves have been returned to the wild in Denmark after an absence of 200 years and scientists are trying to assist the human population to learn to live in peace with them.

*~*~*~*

It's been a while since there has been any good news to report about coral reefs, but, recently, scientists have found some glimmer of hope in their data. There is some evidence that the more heat-tolerant and robust parts of the reefs may survive and be able to adapt to the new climate. 

*~*~*~*

The prevailing winds play a big role in the migration of birds. It appears that the changes in those winds caused by climate change may make it harder for North American birds to migrate south in the fall but could make spring migration easier.

*~*~*~*

And speaking of migration, the blog "Cool Green Science" has a list of ten "snow birds," birds that disperse to various parts of the continent in winter. Some of them may show up in your area. The blog post includes some wonderful pictures of those birds.

*~*~*~*

A stand of 500-year-old blackgum trees is being slowly killed by encroachment of rising sea water in a primeval New Jersey forest. It's a preview of things to come in many areas near the sea.

*~*~*~*

The American bison is an important icon in the spiritual belief system of several Native American tribes and they are working to bring these animals that are so vital to them and to the environment back from the brink of extinction.

*~*~*~*

Earth has a vast underground ecosystem that contains billions of organisms and is twice the size of the world's oceans. Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with billions of micro-organisms that are hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet.

*~*~*~*

Scientists have long studied birds in the parrot family and they have come to the conclusion that the long-lived and clever birds are as different genetically from other birds as humans are different from other primates. In fact, their genes may give parrots the claim to being the humans of the bird world. (Or perhaps humans are the parrots of the primate world!)

*~*~*~*

A concerted conservation effort in Nepal is making a difference to the survival prospects of the nation's endangered vultures. Finally, the population is slowly increasing.

*~*~*~*

The native bees of North America are vitally important to the pollination of plant life on the continent and these bees are particularly susceptible to the effects of pesticides.

*~*~*~*

The current administration in Washington, in its continuing war against the environment and the health and safety of its citizens, is attempting to weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams nationwide from pesticide runoff and other pollutants. Environmentalists say the proposal represents a historic assault on wetlands regulation. 

*~*~*~*

Persistent warming in the Arctic is pushing the region into “uncharted territory” and increasingly affecting the continental United States, scientists reported this week. The Arctic has been warmer over the last five years than at any time since records began in 1900, according to the new report, and the region is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet.

*~*~*~*

Hummingbird gardens in Mexico City provide refuge for seventeen species of hummingbirds that are endemic in the area and they provide an opportunity for scientists to more easily monitor and study them.


Comments

  1. Interesting and various news from the environment this week. I, too, believe that humans are the parrots of the primate world. ;-) Good news for bisons, wolves, hummingbirds, and the potential survival of barrier reefs. As aside, what seems to be hurting the coral reefs is not so much the rise in temps as the rise in CO2 content in the ocean, which is turning them acidic while the corals are made of calcium minerals (basic).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nature is very resilient and adaptable and it finds ways to adjust that are not foreseen. I'm sure when it finally chucks off the human race "like a bad case of fleas," as George Carlin used to say, it will regenerate magnificently!

      Delete
  2. Trolling for hope, I found some in this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll take our hope wherever we can find it these days.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry Sunday: Excerpt from The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney

Open Season (Joe Pickett #1) by C.J. Box - A review

Poetry Sunday: Invitation by Mary Oliver