This week in birds - #402

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


An Eastern Kingbird perches on a bare limb keeping a lookout on the surrounding area. The kingbird is well-named. It definitely sees itself as king of all that it surveys and unhesitatingly defends its territory from anything deemed a threat, up to and including eagles.

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The recent collapse of two dams in Michigan should be a warning to us that there are thousands of such run-down dams in our country that could create catastrophe and untold deaths if they collapse. It's all a part of the neglect of our infrastructure that has gone on far too long. 

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The recent incident in Central Park when a white woman called the police about a black man who was birding there brings home the fact that many black men feel uncomfortable birding in public parks because they are always subject to being falsely accused. The birder had asked the woman to leash her dog and, in fact, birders in the park have for years waged a battle to ensure that dog walkers keep their animals on a leash as required by law in the park. The unleashed animals disturb wildlife and can be a threat to them.

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Thousands, actually more likely millions, of migrating birds lose their lives each year when they collide with buildings in their path. But this is a fixable problem

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Planting trees can be a good thing for the environment, but it can also be a very bad thing if the wrong kinds of trees are planted or if it is done improperly.

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A U.S. judge in Montana has struck down the public lands oil and gas leasing rules of the current administration because those rules do not take into account the needs of the Greater Sage-Grouse, an endangered species in the West. 

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It could be a very loud summer on parts of the Atlantic Coast this year. In parts of southwestern Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia, it's nearly time for the IX brood of CICADAS to emerge for their once-in-17-year mating season. As many as 1.5 million cicadas could emerge per acre and they can create a lot of noise.

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Sun bears are the world's smallest bears. This wide-ranging native of Asia is a threatened species whose greatest threats come from poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and traditional medicine. Their status is even more complicated and dire now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cockatoos in captivity are among the smartest of bird species, but does their association with humans make them smarter, or are their wild relatives just as clever? Turns out they don't need humans to increase their IQ. 

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Within the next fifty years, rising seas are likely to overwhelm the wetlands that line the coast of Louisiana and that offer some protection to the land mass from hurricanes and tropical storms.

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Snowy Plovers, like this female at her nest, have evolved their own unique nesting strategy. Both sexes share in brooding the eggs, but once the chicks hatch, the male bird is completely responsible for them.

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The island nation of New Zealand is making a concerted effort to rid itself of invasive animal species in a plan to protect its endemic species, especially native birds.

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A Common Cuckoo wearing a satellite tracking device was tracked on a 7,500-mile migration flight from southern Africa to its breeding grounds in Mongolia.

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The sterile monoculture of a typical suburban lawn could be made more environmentally friendly by adding plants that nourish pollinators.

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A site near an ancient lake in Mexico has turned up the bones of about sixty mammoths. The 30,000-year-old bones may reveal more about the hunting techniques of the humans of that period.

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There is mounting evidence that extracting oil and gas through fracking is a threat to wildlife and ecosystems as well as to human health.

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Although the increased carbon produced by climate change might be a benefit to trees, the droughts that come as a result of that change can be deadly for the trees.

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Slow and steady may win the race for sea turtles. Around the world, various species of the turtles are increasing in population and improving their status.

Comments

  1. Thanks fir the roundup, as usual, Dorothy. You perhaps know that the scientific name of Eastern Kingbird is Tyrannus tyrannus. Don't want to mess with a bird with a name like that!

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    Replies
    1. He lives up to his name in both Latin and English!

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  2. Judging by the amount of birds, bees, butterflies and other creatures, I think I am on the correct plan for my yard.

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    Replies
    1. Pictures please! :) I love admiring other peoples' gardens and vegetation because I can not grow anything no matter what I try.

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  3. So good to hear about sea turtles increasing their populations again! And the Snowy Plover is adorable. So fluffy.

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    Replies
    1. It is refreshing to finally have some good news about sea turtles. They've been in decline for a while, but it appears they may be making a comeback.

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    2. Yes!! Turtles are one of my favorite animals and to see these newest reports gives me hope for their survival.

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  4. I'm a Texas Master Naturalist, and some from my group gather sea turtle eggs each year. With beaches less populated this year, perhaps sea turtles will do better.

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    1. That could certainly help many species, not only the turtles.

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  5. I remember the cicadas last emerging when I lived in Virginia ... oh gosh it was creepy ... millions of them ... I could barely mow my lawn as they fly right at you ... with their red eyes and acid-like smell after they shed their bodies near the tree stumps. They are a force! Some of them are big flying insects!
    Also I'm glad to hear about the Sage-Grouse ruling ... my brother lives in Montana and will be pleased as he's a big birder ... interesting birds these grouse!

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    Replies
    1. I've never experienced one of the "brood" cycles of cicadas but I can imagine it could be quite nerve-wracking. I enjoy the cicadas we get here, but multiply them by a million or so and I might feel differently.

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