This week in birds - #446

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

A Double-crested Cormorant perches on a post at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast.

*~*~*~*

A recent study suggests that only about 3% of the world's ecosystems remain ecologically intact with healthy populations of all its original animals and an undisturbed habitat.

*~*~*~*

Even if we manage to drastically cut greenhouse emissions it will take time before the change translates to an improvement in the atmosphere. That is because those gases already added to the atmosphere persist over a long period of time. The decades of accumulation of such gases will take centuries to completely dissipate.

*~*~*~*

The European bison as firefighter? Maybe, at least in a manner of speaking. It seems that the bison loves to graze on the shrubs and underbrush that feed wildfires and reintroducing them to areas of the continent where they had become extinct could help in fighting or even preventing those fires.

*~*~*~*

We hear a lot about the loss of population of Northern Spotted Owls in the northwestern United States but the problem extends into Canada as well and now that country is taking aggressive measures to try to prevent the bird's extinction there.

*~*~*~*

An environmental accountant writes that Zimbabwe and Namibia have vastly overstated the value of their ivory stockpiles and he argues that the proposed sale of those stockpiles could generate further poaching

*~*~*~*

It seems like a no-brainer that planting more trees could benefit the atmosphere since trees absorb carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. But a growing number of scientists are warning that high-profile programs aimed at planting billions of trees can wreck natural ecosystems, dry up water supplies, damage agriculture, and push people off their land. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

*~*~*~*

Another example of how evolution works: The common foxgloves introduced to the Americas have modified their flower length over time in order to accommodate a pollinator group they had not previously known - hummingbirds. The long bills of the birds benefit from the longer flowers. In its native Europe, the plant is pollinated by bumblebees.

*~*~*~*

The right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council along with Republican governors are gearing up to fight Biden administration plans for counteracting global climate change.

*~*~*~*

The organization Shorebird Stewards has received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that will help it to increase protection for shorebirds and for the horseshoe crabs whose eggs they feed on.

*~*~*~*

There are thousands of abandoned oil wells that dot the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico. They present a danger to humans and to wildlife but getting the oil companies to clean up after themselves is not easy.

*~*~*~*

A new report details the grave risk to endangered American rivers from dams, mining, and global heating but environmental activists say the rivers can be saved with the appropriate actions.

*~*~*~*

More and more cities are joining the "lights out" movement to turn off city lights in order to protect migrating birds. Philadelphia is one of the latest to sign on to the action.

*~*~*~*

The Biden administration is declining to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline before federal regulators complete a new environmental analysis. This is a disappointment to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that has fought the pipeline for years. It is, at least for now, a victory for the pipeline owners and drillers.

*~*~*~*

A livestock drug called Diclofenac was banned in Asia because its use had led to the deaths of millions of birds, but it has now been approved for use in Spain and Italy with predictable results. Rare European vultures that feed on livestock carcasses that have ingested the drug are dying. 

*~*~*~*

The New Zealand minister for climate change has announced that the country has become the first to introduce a law that will require banks, insurers, and investment managers to report the impact of climate change on their business.

*~*~*~*

Conservationists are looking for ways to reverse the damage done to the environment along our southern border by the construction of a wall.

*~*~*~*

One of the first Superfund sites in the United States remains one of the most polluted. For years, miners extracted lead and zinc from the ground beneath the Tar Creek area in northeastern Oklahoma. The resulting environmental and human health threats led the federal government to declare 40 square miles of the area a Superfund site in 1984. But 50 years after the mine was shuttered, the region’s toxic legacy still seeps from boreholes into the water and drifts in the wind from tailings piles. 

*~*~*~*

Wisconsin has lost almost as much acreage to wildfires in four months as it did in all of last year. This threatens to be one of the state's most devastating wildfire seasons as hundreds of blazes rage on.

*~*~*~*

It is hoped that a new urban wildlife refuge, the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, will help to alleviate generations of environmental racism that has led to the pollution and degradation of the Mountain View community, home to mostly Chicano residents.

*~*~*~*

A National Weather Service station in Massachusetts was evacuated on March 31 and plans are to demolish it this month. The reason? The rising sea levels from climate change threatened to devour it.

*~*~*~*

The New York Times offers a guide to some of the best places in the country for birding during this migration season.


Comments

  1. Thank you for the weekend roundup, Dorothy - "must" reading to start my Saturday morning on the right foot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I always look forward to seeing your name in the comments on Saturday!

      Delete
  2. Talking about the migration season .... we are enjoying seeing trumpeter swans up here! We like to see them every spring ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you to have Trumpeters! They are magnificent birds.

      Delete
  3. I am particularly struck with the unexpected consequences of planting trees. Oh dear.

    I think I need to look at the list of the best spots for spotting birds during migration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are fortunate to live in a place where many of the neotropical migrants pass through on their way north. Spring migration is an exciting time.

      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