This week in birds - #404

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

A Black-necked Stilt searches for tasty bits in a flooded field at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast. 

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A new study shows that it is possible for the United States to achieve at least 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. Not only is that feasible, it would also be cheaper.

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The current administration in Washington has reversed rules promulgated during the Obama administration (of course!) that forbade baiting bears in Alaska with things like donuts in order to shoot them. The rules also made it illegal to shoot caribou while they were swimming.

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The lead researcher on a new study says there is not a nook or a cranny on Earth where plastic cannot be found. It is in the water, it is in the soil, it is in the air we breathe.

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A study of milkweed in California found that this only source of nourishment for Monarch butterfly caterpillars was contaminated with 62 different pesticides. Within the sample reviewed by the study, 32% contained pesticide levels known to be lethal to Monarchs.

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The reintroduction of beavers in Europe has resulted in more fertile and productive wetlands.

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Our federal government has eliminated protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The 4,900-square-mile marine protected area off the coast of New England is home to numerous endangered species and fragile deep-sea corals that can live for thousands of years. It will now be open to commercial fishing.

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Tropical Storm Cristobal battered the Gulf Coast earlier this week and wildlife rescuers rushed to the scene to try to save birds and other animals that were victims of the battering.

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Around 445 million years ago, about 85% of all marine species on Earth disappeared in a flash that is known as the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Apparently, the cause of the extinction was global warming caused by widespread volcanic eruptions.

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The population of Barn Owls in the U.K. is growing thanks to some help from humans. Humans are putting up nesting boxes for the birds and that has led to a heartening increase in numbers of the elegant owls.

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Since 2014, entomologists in Los Angeles have sampled millions of insects and identified 800 different species, including 47 that were previously unknown. Here is a gallery of them.

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Russia is currently experiencing an environmental catastrophe of massive proportions as more than 20,000 tons of diesel fuel has spilled over an area of its Arctic region.

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New research reveals a creeping, permanent dryness expanding across the United States. It’s much more than “drought,” and researchers hope a more accurate and descriptive word for the phenomenon, possibly "megadrought" or "aridification," might spur the critical action that is needed.

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The pandemic has had the unfortunate effect of hobbling protections for the Amazon rainforest, with the result that illegal deforestation has increased and the risk of fires has been heightened.

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A new report lists 515 animal species that have less than 1,000 individuals remaining, meaning that those species are on the brink of extinction.

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We just paid at least $77,000 to allow the president's son, Junior, to go to Mongolia and shoot an endangered sheep.

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Shorebird declines are related to the development of lands along the shoreline, but not all lands are equal. Much depends on which areas are developed.

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Glossy Ibises are nesting in Sri Lanka this year, an area where they had previously only been found during winter.

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Some of the oldest trees in Canada are found in the Sunshine Coast Forest in British Columbia, an area that is now being opened for logging.

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The building of a wall between Mexico and the United States has resulted in a loss of trust in the Customs and Border Patrol by the local residents who are almost unanimously opposed to the structures. The construction is doing untold damage to the environment along the border.






Comments

  1. The environmental bad news is enough to make you take the cyanide pill! Is it even possible for humans to learn from past mistakes?

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    Replies
    1. I often wonder that myself as I compile these weekly roundups.

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  2. Oh Dorothy, this post was so interesting and yet, so disheartening. All the good things that had been done to protect our beautiful animals have been undone. SAD

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    Replies
    1. What has been undone can be restored. We just have to restore sanity to our national government.

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  3. Even a slight semblance of sanity restored to our national government has to be better than what we have now. Thanks again for carrying the torch.

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    Replies
    1. Each of us can only do the little bit within our power. This is my little bit.

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  4. A lot of bad news. But that owl photo is exquisite. Beautiful. I like owls and recently bought a book called The Hidden Life of Owls by Leigh Calvez. Hopefully I'll learn stuff I didn't know about them.
    I forwarded the Russian oil spill story to my husband ... another mess.

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    1. Owls well deserve their reputation as magical creatures. None more so than the beautiful Barn Owl.

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  5. Your news this week sounds bleak. I am especially worried about the plastics that are everywhere in our environment. We had a speaker at our Texas Master Naturalist club that spoke on microplastics last year. Worrisome.

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    1. Microplastics are one of the most troubling issues facing the environment today. We have to find a solution, somehow weaning ourselves from their use.

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  6. Blech, so much depressing news. Nothing like putting people in charge of the EPA in order to destroy the agency from within.

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    1. One gets the idea that the goal of this government is to destroy all of the departments from within and to steal all the public money it can for cronies in the process.

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