This week in birds - #410

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

This Red-bellied Woodpecker having a nosh on my suet cake appears to be molting, judging by the raggedy appearance of its feathers. This is the time of year when the molt is well underway and it's not at all uncommon to see bald-headed or nearly bald birds and others in various states of undress. In a few weeks, all those bright shiny new feathers will be in place and the birds will be sleek and well-dressed once again.

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Public lands such as national parks are being inundated with visitors wanting to get outside safely during the pandemic, but those visitors are trashing the parks and also possibly making the spread of the virus more likely.

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National Moth Week continues through Sunday night, the 26th. Visit the website to learn how you can participate by reporting your observations.

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Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act this week. The act is intended to fund infrastructure repairs on public lands as well as funding some land acquisitions. 

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Polar bears are likely headed for extinction by the end of this century if current trends in climate change continue unabated.

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The Pebble Mine project in Alaska was blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 largely over concerns for the risks that the project posed for salmon. The current administration has now reversed that decision and allowed the gold mine to continue, full steam ahead.

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The great climate migration in response to global warming is already underway worldwide. It may not have affected this country to a great extent yet but it almost certainly will in years to come.

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The Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots bills itself as a nonprofit dedicated to protecting endangered parrots and their habitats. The group maintains a captive breeding program to help increase the population of birds such as the endangered Spix's Macaw that is extinct in the wild. But there is some concern about the ethical practices of the organization and its lack of transparency.

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A new report concludes that the United States is failing in its duty to protect its most important fish habitats. There are insufficient protections for a healthy future for U.S. waters and the problem has only gotten much worse in the past three-and-a-half years.

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Fishing boats that discard some of their catch at sea are impacting the feeding habits of seabirds and not necessarily in a good way.

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Over the next two decades, plastic waste in our oceans is expected to triple in volume. So far, efforts to reduce such waste have been notably ineffective.

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Chinese Crested Tern in flight.

A decade long effort to restore a critically endangered seabird is having an effect. The global population of the Chinese Crested Tern has doubled in that time

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Federal regulators have put a new roadblock in the way of plans to demolish four massive hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River on the Oregon-California border. A coalition has been planning for years to demolish the dams in order to save salmon populations in the river that have dwindled to almost nothing.

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The American paddlefish and Russian sturgeon were not supposed to be able to breed and create hybrid offspring. But Nature found a way and now we have the "sturrdlefish."

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Wasps can spoil a summer day but they do have their role to play. It would behoove us to get to know them a little better and maybe give them the respect they deserve.

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Seabirds that feed on the surface of the ocean, like kittiwakes and fulmars, are more likely to ingest plastic waste than diving birds like murres and guillemots.

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Global climate change is affecting local climates as well. New York City, after years of having a humid continental climate, is now considered to be in the humid subtropical zone which requires that summers average above 72 degrees Fahrenheit and winters stay above 27 degrees Fahrenheit on average.





Comments

  1. As is so frequently the case, Dorothy, the roundup is a litany of man's folly, and is stomach-churning reading, but you do a great service by encapsulating the news and steering people's attention to it. It is very sad that people needing to escape confinement trash the very areas that they have gone to for respite. I fervently hope that in four months we will be celebrating the defeat of Trump, when perhaps environmental sanity can return.

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  2. A round up of where we are headed. OMG.

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  3. A lot of bad bad news, sigh. And that "sturrdlefish" is sure ugly ... it's downright scary!

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    Replies
    1. It is an amazing looking creature, isn't it? One can see both of its parents in it.

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