This week in birds - #431

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

A male Northern Cardinal shells a seed he just picked up from the feeder. Cardinals are without a doubt one of America's favorite backyard birds and, thank goodness, there are still plenty of them around.

*~*~*~*

On its way out the door, the current administration is rushing to do as much damage to the environment as possible. Here are twelve such actions that have been taken since the election.

*~*~*~*

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is underfunded and much too busy to take the trouble to add Northern Spotted Owls to the Endangered Species List, even though the birds are eligible for listing. 

*~*~*~*

The U.S. FWS uses the same excuse for rejecting a petition to give protection to Monarch butterflies, again even though the butterflies meet the test to need Endangered Species protection. I wonder where all the money appropriated for FWS has gone. It couldn't be that it has been channeled into building someone's vanity wall, could it? 

*~*~*~*

Rupert Murdoch and his international "news" (for which read propaganda) organization continue to deny or cast doubt on the reality of human-caused climate change, and in his home country of Australia, they are fed up with it.

*~*~*~*

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only facility in the state that performs rehab of aquatic animals, thus giving them a second chance at life, but the facility's future may be in doubt.

*~*~*~*

New research shows that fossil fuel power plants in America will reach the end of their expected lives by 2035. This should make it easier to transition to clean power as the new administration promises to do.

*~*~*~*

The listing of the Black Rail as a threatened species will give impetus to conservationists seeking to restore habitat areas for the birds. Loss of habitat is the main reason for the bird's decline.

*~*~*~*

A trail camera positioned along the Bronx River in New York has recorded the image of a bobcat exploring the area. This is heartening evidence of the improving health of the environment. 

*~*~*~*

President-elect Biden has announced his selections to head the EPA and the Interior Department. Both have gained widespread praise and the appointment of a Native American woman, Deb Haaland, to head Interior is indeed a historic choice. Both of these people will have their hands full attempting to reverse the damage of the last four years.

*~*~*~*

A few of the irruptive Evening Grosbeaks. (Image courtesy of Audubon.)

According to news reports, this fall has seen one of the biggest irruptions of boreal birds in recent memory, but I haven't seen much evidence of it in my yard yet.  

*~*~*~*

Wetland areas in Australia have been reduced due to long-term drought conditions. This has resulted in a reduction in the numbers of several waterbird species that rely on such habitat. 

*~*~*~*

Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have announced that 156 new plants and fungi have been discovered and described this year. Among them is "the ugliest orchid in the world."

*~*~*~*

Ivory from elephant tusks that were found on a Portuguese trading ship that sank in 1533 was found to have preserved genetic traces of whole lineages of elephants that have vanished from West Africa.

*~*~*~*

Several previously unexplained power outages in Scotland have now been blamed on the large murmurations of European Starlings flying in the area.

*~*~*~*


This is an artist's rendering of what surely must be one of the strangest dinosaurs yet discovered. The Ubirajara jubatus lived about 110 million years ago along the shores of an ancient lagoon in what is now northeastern Brazil.

*~*~*~*

Researchers believe they may have discovered a previously unknown species of whale in the waters off Mexico's western coast. If it is confirmed it would definitely be a significant discovery. 

*~*~*~*

There is also good news for a well-known species of whale, the bowhead. Researchers have found that the species seems to be making a recovery in spite of the warming of the Arctic waters which are their home. 

*~*~*~*

Karen Attiah shares with us her anger and despair at the wanton destruction of her favorite fig tree. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved tree to an inexpert tree trimmer will feel her pain.

*~*~*~*

"This week in birds" will be absent from this space next week as I enjoy holiday celebrations with my family. It will return in two weeks. I hope all of my readers are enjoying a healthy, happy, and safe holiday season.   



Comments

  1. Those newly discovered plants look so interesting,especially the orchard.

    Rupert Murdoch really has been an awful character. His spreading of climate denialism and other garbage has done real harm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It always amazes me that so many new species are discovered every year. There may be nothing new under the sun but there are definitely still things that are "new" to us.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for the roundup, Dorothy. Enjoy your time away with your family, and have the merriest of times that COVID permits. It has been a distinct pleasure to enjoy your blog and I look forward to doing so in 2021. With my very best wishes, David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, David. All best wishes to you and Miriam for a healthy and happy new year watching the adorable Lily grow!

      Delete
  3. A Native American woman as head of the Dept of the Interior is some of the best news of the week!
    Happy Holidays to you and your family, Dorothy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering the damage that the Interior Department has done to many native tribes and cultures over the years, it seems particularly appropriate.

      Delete
  4. I've been hearing lots about wetlands recently and this just makes me so sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wetland areas are endangered almost everywhere due to the effects of global warming.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for these weekly updates Dorothy, which I find fascinating and always learn from.
    I’m so relieved that 2021 will now start with renewed hope for the environment (and many other things) for America and the rest of the world.
    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, rd. We all hope that the new year will be a new beginning for us and a chance to correct some of the awful depredations of the last four years. We still have some dark months ahead with the pandemic, but at least now there is hope.

      Delete
  6. It's disappointing to read about the failure of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take important action. Let's hope a new administration brings changes in this agency.

    It's about time that we properly call a spade a spade. I don't know who needs to do it, but I've had enough of people calling themselves a news agency and reporting lies and other propaganda as truth. I can think of several that need to lose their credentials.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had long thought of FWS as being on the side of the angels, but obviously the agency has been corrupted like so much else of the government. The new administration certainly has its work cut out for it.

      Delete
  7. That Is one strange looking dinosaur ... it looks like it has a squirrel tale and a bird head. Hmm one mixed one creature. Enjoy your holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It surely is one of the strangest critters I've ever seen!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry Sunday: Excerpt from The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney

Open Season (Joe Pickett #1) by C.J. Box - A review

Poetry Sunday: Invitation by Mary Oliver