This week in birds - #405

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

Here's a Rock Wren that I photographed on a trip to Big Bend National Park a few years ago. Big Bend just happens to be one of my favorite places on Earth and a birding hotspot.

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Scientists are reporting that after a drastic decline this spring as the pandemic hit worldwide, global greenhouse gas emissions are now rebounding sharply as countries relax their coronavirus lockdowns and traffic surges back onto roads.

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One of the until now unreported effects of climate change is on pregnant women. Women exposed to high temperatures and/or air pollution are more likely to have premature, underweight, or stillborn babies. Moreover, based on the study of American women, African-American women and babies are harmed at a much higher rate than the population at large.

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The Appalachian region of the United States is one of the most biodiverse parts of the country and it has been identified as an "extinction hotspot" for plants, emphasizing the need to protect that biodiversity before some plants disappear forever.

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The permafrost of the Arctic is melting and is releasing trapped carbon and methane into the atmosphere. The question is can this process be reversed or have we already reached the point of no return?

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The Northern Bobwhite Quail is attracted to a habitat area based on whether other bobwhites are present there. Hoping to help restore the bobwhite to areas where it has disappeared, a cranberry producer in New Jersey has been approved to be a part of the USDA funded Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Restoration Program.

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A landslide has blocked the way for wild salmon in British Columbia to spawn in the Fraser River. Conservationists are clearing debris and constructing a concrete fish ladder to try to help the fish over the obstruction.

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Every bird has its day and today belongs to the albatrosses. It is the first World Albatross Day and New Zealand is the world's albatross capital with seventeen species found there, eleven of which breed in that country.  

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Ecotourism has been a boost to conservation around the world in recent years, but now, with the pandemic raging, ecotourism has been seriously impacted and that is a threat to conservation efforts.

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Humans have three types of color-sensitive cones in their eyes—attuned to red, green, and blue light—but birds have a fourth type, sensitive to ultraviolet light. A research team has been working with wild Broad-tailed Hummingbirds to investigate how birds perceive their colorful world.

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A study published in Insect Science states that butterfly diversity in tropical rainforests and savannahs is threatened by human-modified habitat loss and climate change. This is a particular concern because butterflies are considered bioindicators of environmental change.

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Feeding birds is a good way to get into the hobby of birding especially now that we are staying close to home. Here are some tips about how to feed birds safely and responsibly.

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It is possible that the iconic saguaro cactus may disappear from the Sonoran Desert as the area heats up. The climate may become too hot for the cactus to reproduce.

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Platypuses rescued from Australia's wildfires have been rehabilitated and are being returned to the wild and to an uncertain future.

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The Supreme Court has ruled against environmentalists and cleared the way for a natural gas pipeline to be built under the Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.

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British Columbia seems poised to give the okay to a coal mine that is planned for the heart of the critical habitat for an endangered caribou herd.

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China has banned the use of pangolin scales in traditional Chinese medicine and has elevated the animal to a level one protected species in the country.

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Florida is a rich avian landscape, home to more than 500 species, but its breeding birds need protection in order to coexist with the state's growing human population.


Comments

  1. I've spent a great amount of time during the pandemic watching birds at my feeder. I am interested in learning more.

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    Replies
    1. One of the (few) positive things to come out of this crisis has been an increase of interest in the environment and in watching birds.

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  2. Thanks as always for the weekly roundup, Dorothy, my stimulus for further reading during the weekend, in terms of melting permafrost we may well have passed the point of no return based on what I have been reading. The oceans too are now storing less carbon. A good friend of mine just had her first baby. The prospects for that child are dire indeed.

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    Replies
    1. All thinking people have to be concerned about what the future holds for the world's children.

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  3. The Supreme Court giveth and taketh away.

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    Replies
    1. Yes but mostly it seems to take away these days. Still we must celebrate the victories where they come.

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  4. I've always loved Hummingbirds and since they love red, I always make sure to have a few red plants in bloom for them to enjoy. Yesterday, I suspect a red-tailed hawk that has been around, attacked a rabbit and left it in my front garden. I was so upset:(

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    1. Such incidents can be upsetting, but we have to remember raptors have to eat, too, and hunting for their food is their role.

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  5. So much bad news: but I'm keen to read about the fish ladder being built in the Fraser River .... for the salmon. thanks.

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    Replies
    1. It always encourages me to know that there are people in the world who will clear debris and build a fish ladder to make it possible for fish to reach their spawning waters!

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