This week in birds - #488

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

American Robins do love their beautyberries and there are plenty for them in my backyard.

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Some rare good news for gray wolves this week: A federal judge has overturned the decision by the previous administration (which had also been defended by the Biden administration) to take the wolves off the Endangered Species List, thus removing them from the protection from being hunted. They will now be protected in most of the lower 48 states, although apparently, that protection will not extend to Montana and Idaho.

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The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas remains closed due to threats from right-wingers. 

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A saltwater crocodile in Indonesia that had somehow managed to get a motorbike tire wrapped around its neck has finally been freed after five years of carrying the tire. The reptile was trapped by a local bird seller and dozens of locals helped to drag the animal to where the tire could be cut from its neck. Then it was released back to the wild.

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These two Bald Eagles nesting in Leesburg, Virginia now have names thanks to the children in the area. About 9,000 students in Loudoun County public schools entered a contest to give the birds names and what they came up with were Martin and Rosa for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. The birds have a lot to live up to. There are two eggs in their nest which are expected to hatch in early March.  

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The Wyoming toad was listed as endangered in 1984 and shortly thereafter was considered extinct in the wild. But reports of its demise were premature. Wyoming toad lives!

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This seems like a sad burden to inflict on a poor, defenseless worm. Scientists have named a newly discovered flatworm after the coronavirus. Its official name is Humbertium covidum and it has been found in France and Italy but likely lives in other areas as well.

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The construction of dams can endanger species of fish because they change the temperature of the water in rivers which may make it uninhabitable for the fish.

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Wild Turkeys are big birds and groups of them can be very aggressive especially around nesting season. That seems to be what is happening in Mountain View, California now. They've become such a nuisance that plans are being made to trap and relocate them to a less populated area.

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A loophole in protections has allowed more than 400 square miles of Amazon rainforest to be felled in order to expand soya-growing farms in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil.

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Here's a story about how the magic of birds can captivate onlookers.

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Biologists are concerned that white-tailed deer could become a reservoir for coronavirus, posing an ongoing threat to both animals and humans.

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The worst drought to hit the area in a decade is creating a humanitarian crisis in Somalia as millions are going hungry.

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The Rough-legged Hawk is a strikingly handsome bird and it ranges over a good portion of North America.

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Trust Canada to come up with a wonderful idea! The benefits to one's mental health of time spent Nature are well documented and now Canadian doctors can prescribe a pass for national parks for the patients whom they deem are in need of such time. 

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Mountain glaciers are melting faster than ever because of climate change and in some areas, this is straining the freshwater supply.

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Chimpanzees have been observed catching insects and applying them to wounds on themselves or other chimps. They do not eat insects but they are definitely applying them to wounds. Is this a form of chimp medicine? Scientists believe that may be just what it is. 

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It's just possible that winter may be the very best time to observe Great Gray Owls like this one, as well as many other kinds of wildlife.

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The experience of extreme weather can have devastating effects on animals even if they survive. Scientists are finding that rhesus monkeys who lived through a hurricane showed signs of premature aging.

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A Texas-based group called Re:Wild has drawn up a list of the 25 most wanted species as part of its quest to find species that have been lost to science and that may be extinct. 

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Betty, the National Zoo's oldest Flamingo has died at the age of 67. Betty had one chick of her own and fostered many others over the years. The average life span of Flamingos in captivity is 27 years, so she was indeed a remarkable bird.

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Grotte Mandrin, a rock shelter in France, evidently sheltered both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens alternately over a period of some 50,000 years. 

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Insects are disappearing from Nature and this is very bad news not only for insects but for all the rest of us. They are after all an integral link in the food chain. What happens if that chain is broken?

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Rover, the Bald Eagle, was banded as a chick in New Haven, Connecticut on May 11, 2018. And now Rover has "roved" to New York's Central Park and has made himself quite at home there. If he can make it there, he can make it anywhere.

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The birds of Hawaii are unique from those of the mainland. You can learn about some of them here.




Comments

  1. I was so relieved to hear the wolves will be returned to the endangered species list. It broke my heart when they had been taken off. I'm so glad the crocodile is free finally! That's such a long time to have suffered! That's so interesting about the chimpanzees using insects that way. What do they know that we don't? Probably a lot. Thank you for sharing all these links! I haven't been able to read all of them yet, but I will be sure to come back and do so when I can.

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    1. I'm happy to share the links. Thank you for visiting.

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  2. Good morning, Dorothy. Thank you for the roundup. It is encouraging that the Grey Wolves have been returned to the endangered species list, not before we have already slaughtered a whole lot of them, however. And one is not surprised that Montana and Idaho have declined to restore sanity in relation to wolves. Deer are possible reservoirs of COVID, and their numbers are exploding. Wouldn't you think that someone could make the connection that the restoration of a healthy predator/prey relationship would help to ease this situation? Has Yellowstone taught us nothing?

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  3. It is really a frightening time for nature and for all of the creatures large and small on this planet. We have had eagles on our land down in the country for over a decade now. I remember when they first appeared and now we watch each year for them to hatch a new generation. A wildlife photographer and a local wildlife artist have erected a stand to watch them and keep track of them in the old dead tree they nest in. The photographer keeps tabs on others in the area, probably generations of the old couple that must seek new territory.

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    1. How exciting to have eagles nesting on your land. There is a pair that nests about 2 miles (as the eagle flies) from us. I remember well when Bald Eagles were rare and feared to go extinct in this country. Now they seem to be as common as House Sparrows! Thank you, ESA and President Johnson for signing it.

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  4. I love hearing that doctors in Canada prescribe a pass to the parks. Here's to more creative non-drug prescriptions.

    American Wolf gave me a good idea of the issues around wolves in the Yellowstone area of the world. I'm happy wolves have been given some protection.

    I do worry about the deer and coronaviruses.

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    1. Wolves are an essential part of a healthy and balanced environment. They certainly deserve to be protected from extermination which is what some people seem to want for them.

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  5. I actually looked up all the drama that was going down at The National Butterfly Center and I was shocked! I mean, I shouldn't be at this point but I was.

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    1. I know. It really is an almost incredible story or should be, but we have learned that there are some very deranged or deluded people in this world who seem capable of almost any stupidity.

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  6. I've been sitting here looking out the window watching a pair of little verdins build a nest. Yesterday, they couldn't decide between the fairy duster bush or the huge senita cactus. Today, it appears that they've chosen the fairy duster. They've got their source of food and a birdbath is between both the plants, so they have their source of water, too. And while I was watching them, I remembered that I had to zip over here to indulge in your links.

    I, too, was pleased to see the wolves get back on the Endangered Species List. There were so many other links I enjoyed as well, but I have to admit that the one on turkeys reminded me of the week I spent in a cabin with a million-dollar deck down in Ramsey Canyon. Among all the daily visitors was a group of about a dozen turkeys, and I loved sitting on the deck watching them.

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    1. I completely understand. I have had the occasion to watch some Wild Turkeys as well and they are very interesting critters.

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  7. I've been walking in nature a lot and I've seen so many beautiful animals, like foxes, a hare, deer, otters and much much more!
    I always think about all the facts I've learned from your blog when I stumble upon wild animals or walking through nature.

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    1. I am truly flattered that the sights of Nature should bring my blog to mind! I can't think of a higher compliment.

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  8. It's cool they have a Web Cam on the Eagles in Virginia and now we can all see if their eggs will hatch in early March. I will keep the link. Also need to read about the Neanderthal cave in France. thanks

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    1. I'm always fascinated by new finds regarding the Neanderthals and other hominids of prehistory.

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