This week in birds - #386

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


Bald Eagles are becoming an almost common sight in our area, especially in winter. This one was photographed at Archbishop Fiorenza Park in Houston.
(Image courtesy of HoustonAudubon.com)

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It's not exactly a surprise to learn that 2019 capped the hottest decade in Earth's recorded history. The past five years are also the hottest on record.

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The massive wildfires in Australia are fueling the anger of environmentalists there who hold their government at least partially responsible for the disaster because of its climate change denialism and lack of action. The environmental movement has been energized by this anger.

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Spain's new government has declared a climate emergency, which is a step toward enacting ambitious plans to combat climate change. 

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We tend to think of earthworms as a good thing for the environment, but not necessarily when those critters are an invasive species.

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These are African Gray Parrots. They are amazing birds for many reasons, primarily related to their intelligence. But a new experiment has found that they are also capable of altruism. A parrot will help another parrot to get a treat, even though that in no way benefits the first bird. (Image courtesy of The New York Times.)

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Some trees can live for more than 1,000 years. How do they manage to do that?

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The gigantic "hot blob" in the Pacific Ocean has been instrumental in the deaths of a million seabirds in less than a year, according to new research.

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The encroachment of the more aggressive Barred Owls into the territory of Northern Spotted Owls has displaced the Spotted Owls and created a conservation crisis. Now the Barred Owls are threatening to have the same effect on California Spotted Owls

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Homero Gómez González, a well-known conservationist who has spent years protecting Monarch butterflies on their wintering grounds in Michoacan state in Mexico, has not been seen since January 13. It is feared that he has been killed because of his conservation work.

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Leatherback turtles are being forced to make exhausting journeys, in some cases nearly twice as long as usual, from nesting to feeding grounds, because of rising ocean temperatures and changing sea currents.

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What would be your guess as to the first air-breathing land-dwelling animal? If you said the scorpion, you may have hit the jackpot according to new fossil evidence.

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An assistant professor of history and environmental studies believes that our efforts to keep the Galapagos Islands pristine may instead be destroying them.

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This cute little guy is a West Virginia northern flying squirrel and his species is doing quite well, thank you, after their removal from the endangered species list in 2013. (Image courtesy of Mother Nature Network.)

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Can reforesting the planet with one trillion trees help save it? Well, it couldn't hurt. We know that trees are our allies in removing carbon from the atmosphere and one trillion can remove a lot of carbon.

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Malaysia has returned 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste to their country of origin, proclaiming that they will not serve as the garbage dump of the world. Meanwhile, China is taking steps to phase out single-use plastics.

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The State of Florida is purchasing 20,000 acres of the Everglades in order to protect it from oil drilling.

Comments

  1. A few good news stories in there, Dorothy. We need them once in a while!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we do. I'm always heartened when I can find some good news to include in my roundup.

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  2. I ALWAYS scroll through your bird-posts. I love seeing the pictures and all the different animals and I love reading everything you write about the environment and nature. Just wanted to let you know, I'm soaking up these posts and are always excited to see a new one!

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    1. Thank you, Esther. I'm happy to know you are stopping by.

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  3. I really love this post, despite how angry it makes me - not at you though! Our world is going to hit the breaking point and we have to do something to save it YESTERDAY. Climate change will, without a doubt, directly impact my daughter and her potential children. This is not the world I imagined when I gave birth, and that was only six years ago!

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    1. At the moment, the future of our children and grandchildren is very much in the balance. We must do everything in our power to make sure to swing that balance toward a healthier planet.

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    2. I feel really helpless sometimes, because I don't even know where to start when we have an administration that decides to gut the very protections that would stop this from happening.

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    3. I think we all share that feeling of helplessness and frustration, even despair, but we owe it to our children to persevere and to continue to struggle against the darkness.

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  4. Good news and bad. At least there is good news to report, but we have such a long way to go. I recently visited a bird sanctuary in Florida which included a pair of bald eagles. How can the same species that saves animals also destroy them? I will always wonder about the nature of mankind.

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    1. As it happens, the book that I am currently reading, The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts by Karen Armstrong, considers human nature as related to the art of creation of religious philosophies. All of the major religions have caring for the environment as a tenet of their beliefs. And yet many who will claim to be devout in their religious faith despoil the planet, apparently with no qualms. I suppose it is all a part of the dichotomy of both good and evil that exists in humans.

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  5. If China is planning to phase out plastics, shouldn't North America?! Their ruining the planet. I'm worried about the monarch conservationist too.

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    1. Phasing out single-use plastics is sort of a no-brainer for helping the planet and good for China for doing it. Some of our individual states have done it but, of course, our reactionary national government would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do ANYTHING to help the environment.

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  6. I love this time of year where I live because the number of birds around grows and grows. I have read some thoughts about reforesting in both The Overstory by Richard Powers and in Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. In any case it is, as we say in my house, more than zero.

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