This week in birds - #448

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

The Eastern Kingbirds have arrived in the area, along with tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and, allegedly, Baltimore Orioles, although I confess I haven't yet encountered any orioles. Nevertheless, my oranges are out and waiting for them!

*~*~*~*

Scientists have counted more than 25,000 barrels in waters off the California coast that are believed to contain DDT-laced industrial waste. It is believed that this may help to explain the extraordinarily high rate of cancer in adult sea lions in the area. Some of the barrels may have been languishing there for at least 70 years. DDT was banned in the United States in 1972.

*~*~*~*

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats employed an obscure law in order to resurrect Obama-era regulations on limiting emissions of methane. The regulations had been wiped out by the previous administration.

*~*~*~*

Native American lawmakers in Montana have called on President Biden to help craft a plan to reintroduce bison to the landscape in and around Glacier National Park and the Charles M. Russel National Wildlife Refuge. The request was presented in a letter addressed to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

*~*~*~*

Advances in the use of weather surveillance radar are making it possible for scientists to better track and understand the nocturnal migrations of songbirds. This, in turn, is helping them to advocate for protections for the birds as they fly, particularly the effort to turn off lights in highrises at night that can be deadly for the migrants.

*~*~*~*

In the last fifty years, humans have become more aware of the role of whales in the environment and of the need to protect them. Considerable advances have been made during that time increasing public awareness and protections for them, but there is still much work that needs to be done.

*~*~*~*

Most of us are probably at least somewhat aware of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened and endangered animals, but did you know that they also have a green list? It exists and it is cause for hope in what sometimes seems like a losing battle.

*~*~*~*

Trees are our friends and allies and planting them seems like a good thing, but the Prairie Ecologist makes the point that the planting needs to be of the right kind of tree for the particular environment in which it is placed.

*~*~*~*

Among all the other problems they face, the endangered Swift Parrots of Australia have a sex ratio problem. They produce more male than female chicks which leaves many males without mates when they get to maturity. Swift Parrot mothers are able to know the sex of their chicks while still in the egg and it seems they are sexists that prefer and offer more protection to the male chicks, thus more of them survive.

*~*~*~*

Bobcats are thriving in many parts of the country and that includes New Jersey. The population there is still small, estimated at 106 animals, but it is growing.

*~*~*~*

The administration's infrastructure plan includes money to fund the chronically underfunded Superfund that is charged with cleaning up toxic sites.

*~*~*~*

One important element in any plan to combat global climate change is the need to protect healthy ecosystems in our public lands.

*~*~*~*

A rehabbing eagle that had been shot in the leg. She recovered and was able to be returned to the wild.

The Chaco Eagle, also known as the Crowned Eagle, is endemic from southern Brazil to central Argentina. It is endangered, with possibly only about 1,000 adult birds left in the wild and they face a wide variety of dangers including drowning, electrocution, shooting, poisoning, and habitat loss.

*~*~*~*

What is more powerful, a $27 million a mile wall or a $5 ladder? You may not be surprised to learn that it is the $5 ladder, combined with a little human ingenuity.

*~*~*~*

Here's an interesting story (at least to me) of how meteorites made a 22-million-year journey from the asteroid belt to southern Africa, landing in Botswana, and just how scientists were able to figure out where they came from and how long it took.

*~*~*~*

Drought is too small a word to describe what is happening in the western part of our country because of global climate change. "Megadrought" or "aridification" more accurately describe the process and there is some hope that using more accurate descriptive words may actually help to spur action to slow or reverse the process.

*~*~*~*

Mangroves help to protect the southern tip of Vietnam from the encroaching sea. People there are undertaking a conservation effort to protect and restore mangroves as a way of increasing protection for remaining coastal lands.

*~*~*~*

Conservation efforts have aided much of the wildlife that lives in Puget Sound but orcas are still struggling there primarily because the Chinook salmon which they eat are also struggling.

*~*~*~*

During the massive Australian wildfires last year, heroic and harrowing efforts were undertaken to save plants and wildlife. Among those was a scheme to protect a stand of ancient Wollemi pines.

*~*~*~*

The celebrated cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. are threatened by the encroaching rising seas and by land subsidence. A recently created Tidal Basin Ideas Lab has commissioned five landscape architecture firms to come up with plans to protect the area.

*~*~*~*

What would you consider to be the most photogenic bird in the world? It might not be the Tawny Frogmouth but according to researchers in Germany who surveyed social media, this perpetually angry-looking bird is it! One does have to admit that it has a striking and unforgettable appearance.



Comments

  1. You will be happy to know, Dorothy, that lying in bed this morning for a few minutes before easing myself out, I was delighted to remember that it is Saturday morning and I have the roundup to look forward to. Now that's having an impact! Once again good news is peppered amongst the bad and that's encouraging. As for your Baltimore Orioles, I am sure they have returned to Texas because the first was sighted here yesterday - and that's a lot farther north than Texas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, the orioles have been reported here but, to my knowledge, they haven't turned up in my yard yet. I'm surprised that some have made it as far as Canada already.

      Delete
  2. Bobcats are definitely surviving here - over the years since living in Omaha there have been a couple that wander into the city and it is quite worrisome on two levels - I don't want to come face to face with a bobcat (or worse, for Eleanor to), but I also don't want the animals to be hurt.

    The DDT barrels is troubling - more than troubling, infuriating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bobcats definitely thrive in our area, although I can't say that I've personally ever seen one. One of the reasons that they thrive is that they usually do their best to avoid human contact.

      The DDT story is infuriating. How on Earth was this ever allowed to happen? And what will it take to clean it up?

      Delete
    2. Exactly! They avoid humans, so they are more than surviving here; they are thriving as well - to the point that overpopulation is leading them to occasionally come into the city.

      I can't understand how this was allowed to happen and why the perpetrators have not been punished. We are poisoning our world and no one who can stop it cares.

      Delete
    3. I'm not sure if the perpetrators are completely known, but when and if they are I would hope there would be heavy penalties imposed. It is an abominable situation.

      Delete
  3. I was delighted to see my first Baltimore Oriole this week at the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary. Amazing color.

    I don't think I'll see a lot this weekend, sadly, for the City Nature Challenge, a bioblitz that we had planned to participate in. It's just too wet to wander around outdoors. I hope it might clear up by the end of the blitz on Monday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations on your first oriole. I remember my first as well. Gorgeous birds.

    Yes, the weekend is looking definitely soggy and a flash flood watch in effect. At least our plants are enjoying the rain. It's been pretty dry here this spring up until now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eastern Oregon is suffering drought more than the western side of the Cascade mountains, although changes in the weather patterns are causing a certain amount of uneasiness in those who actually pay attention... appalling re the DDT dump; also Japan's plan to irradiate the Pacific ocean... great info, tx... the question remains: is there intelligence on planet Earth?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love Tawny Frogmouth birds!! My husband and I use to be members of the Santa Barbara Zoo for years and they had two Tawny Frogmouth birds... I'd never seen one before... And yes, I think Tawny Frogmouth birds are beautiful. We became foster feeders for these birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fascinating. I love learning facts like this about my readers!

      Delete
    2. I love how the Tawny Frogmouth birds feathers are mottled and look like tree bark, so they blend in with the trees in which they roost. This helps to protect them from predators.

      Delete
    3. That's a feature of all members of the Nightjar family. Isn't Mother Nature clever?

      Delete
    4. Yes, Mother Nature is indeed very clever.

      Delete
  7. I did not know that about Swift Parrots! I honestly don't even know what to say. The poor female birds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a strange, rather inexplicable phenomenon.

      Delete
  8. The DDT dumping first reported last fall in the LA Times ... has rocked Southern California ... and now the extent of it is far worse than first imagined ... it's hard to even put into words this evil to the Ocean .... it's horrifying ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is horrifying and is emblematic of all the crap we have thoughtlessly dumped into our oceans.

      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