This week in birds - #471

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

American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week is the beautiful Cerulean Warbler. This little warbler breeds in mature deciduous forests, often close to water, and winters in moist montane forests. They can be difficult to spot because they tend to hang out very high in the forest canopy. More than 80 percent of the population nests in the forests of the Appalachians and then make the long-distance flight to the Andean forest mountains from Colombia south to Bolivia to spend the winter.

*~*~*~*

On Friday, President Biden restored full protections to three national monuments that had had their sizes slashed by the previous president. The three protected sites are Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New England.

*~*~*~*

An Illinois woman has been barred from visiting Yellowstone National Park for a year and will have to spend four days in jail because she refused to move out of the way of a mother grizzly bear with three cubs while visiting the park in May. She will also be fined $1000 and made to make a $1000 community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund and will be on probation for one year. She got off very light. The penalty the mother grizzly might have imposed on her could have been much more severe.

*~*~*~*

A devastating spill from an underwater pipeline leak has spread over Huntington Beach in California forcing the area to be closed to the public. Dead and injured birds and other wildlife have been washing up on the beach there. 

*~*~*~*

In spite of the fact that the world is heating up, the South Pole has just experienced its most severe cold season on record. Over the past six months, the average temperature there has been minus 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

*~*~*~*

Plastic continues to be perhaps the most insidious of all polluting materials on Earth. A new book examines the crisis and documents what works to combat it and what clearly doesn't.

*~*~*~*

A public records request by The Guardian has revealed that the Canadian pipeline company, Enbridge, has reimbursed U.S. police departments $2.4 million for arresting and surveilling demonstrators who protest the construction of the Line 3 pipeline.

*~*~*~*

This is a most welcome first: The city of Pittsburgh this past summer began implementing a "Dark Sky Lighting" ordinance for all city parks, facilities, and street lights. It is the first major city in this country to do so, but let us hope it will be the first of many.

*~*~*~*

What are the oldest animals on Earth? Here is a list of seven that are almost unimaginably old.

*~*~*~*

Scientists with the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network have determined that between 2009 and 2018 the world's seas lost 14 percent of their coral. The main cause of the losses is the rising temperatures of the sea but pollution, fishing, and construction along the coastline also play a part. 

*~*~*~*

The Artic's loss of sea ice is decimating the polar bear population and is also impacting the ability of scientists to study the bears. 

*~*~*~*

An aging killer whale grandmother in a large, extended orca family in the northeastern Pacific Ocean has not been seen since February and is feared to be dead. She was one of the most prolific females of the Southern Resident clan, having given birth to seven calves that reached adulthood. 

*~*~*~*

Global heating and the growth of urban populations have put millions at risk of illness and death. According to a new study published this week, exposure to extreme heat in cities has tripled in recent decades.

*~*~*~*

The Hopis have survived in the arid mesas of the Southwest for more than a thousand years, but the megadrought now gripping the region is testing their resilience.

*~*~*~*

A deal negotiated between the indigenous people of Australia and the government has returned some of the country's most famous national parks to the control of the original residents. The returned lands include UNESCO World Heritage Site, Daintree National Park that is estimated to be 130 million years old.

*~*~*~*

The giant sequoias of California have coexisted with fire for centuries. But the climate has changed. It is now drier and hotter and the fires are fiercer. Will the giant trees still be able to survive?

*~*~*~*

The population of the American bumblebee has plummeted by 87% over the last 20 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct a one-year review of the insect's status after which it may be added to the endangered species list.

*~*~*~*

Jordan has announced plans to allow copper mining in the country's largest and most diverse protected region, the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Conservationists are appalled by the plans and are attempting to organize to oppose the action.

*~*~*~*

It sometimes seems that the only news that we can report about the environment is bad, bordering on catastrophic, but here are some actual good news stories to raise our spirits.

*~*~*~*

A herd of zebras in Maryland? Well, maybe. Last month, five zebras escaped from a farm there and although you might imagine that they would be easy to spot in the Maryland countryside, so far they have been able to remain at large.





Comments

  1. I went walking with my boyfriend 3 years ago, in Slovenia. We saw some bear-paws on the map, but we were like: They won't be so close to the trails right?!

    We started walking and I found myself thinking: This trail has not been walked on for a long time. We also had to get through some fences and stuff like that. I found it a really weird trail to be honest.

    After a while we heard some grunting and some bushes were shaking. My boyfriend told me to turn around and walk away really slowly. I swear he is NEVER scared, but I heard his voice and knew it was serious.

    When we were back to the car I was a bit scared to asked what he saw. He told me it was a mother bear with her cub. We were SO CLOSE. I still can't believe it till this day....

    So that woman who refused to go out of the way... I can't imagine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were very wise to walk away. A mother bear protecting her cub can be a dangerous animal.

      Delete
  2. It's roundup day at the Texas Corrall so it must be Saturday! Thanks as always for your weekly contribution, Dorothy, which has become essential reading for me. I need to get that new book on plastic pollution. This issue is becoming more serious by the day. The woman who had the encounter with the bear is very lucky, but I can't help but think that had the bear attacked her it would have been shot and the cubs would have been orphaned. Her stupidity would have had tragic consequences.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Why would a person refuse to get out of the way of a grizzly bear? What an odd story.

    The warblers that occasionally pass through our area are some of my favorite birds. I would love to see a Cerulean Warbler.

    Off to check out the good news.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The woman was busy taking pictures of the bears and would not be moved, although the other people in the area wisely moved back.

      I've never seen a Cerulean Warbler. I do enjoy the other warblers that pass through our area, as well as the three that spend their winters here. All are magical creatures.

      Delete
  4. With how hot it's been the past few days, I wanna go visit the South Pole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've actually had very pleasant October weather so far. Here's hoping it lasts for a while.

      Delete
  5. stromatolites might not be classified as living, although the builders are microbes that never take a rest. they can be up to 3.5 billion years old... they're the reason humans are alive, having produced oxygen for some billions of years to change the chemical constituents of the atmosphere...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One imagines that the building blocks of life should qualify as "life."

      Delete
  6. Hard to say whether people are stupid or stubborn in so many cases now days. Thanks for the positive links--it helps to know what is going right and to hope that people follow that lead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It always makes me happy to be able to report some positive news.

      Delete
  7. I agree that the lady who acted like an idiot in Yellowstone got off lightly, but frankly, I'm more worried about the bumblebee population than about idiots like her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend to agree, Sam. The world without bumblebees would be a sad place indeed.

      Delete
  8. The Hopi and the Navajo have been dealing with water shortages that none of the rest of us would put up with. For many of them, they have to haul in the water they use from miles away. They live in an incredibly beautiful, but very unforgiving, landscape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a magnificent landscape. It always makes me remember Frank Herbert's Arrakis from the Dune books.

      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