This week in birds: #503
A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:
(Yellow-billed Cuckoo photo from eBird.)
The dominant voice around my yard this week has been the bird that I knew as the "Rain Crow" when I was growing up. It was only later that I learned that the bird's proper name was Yellow-billed Cuckoo. A secretive bird that skulks among the leaves of the trees and shrubs its frequents, it is more often heard than seen, so it is difficult for the amateur to get a good picture of it. But at this time of year, even if we can't see it, its call leaves us no doubt that it is present.
The heatwave that has been scorching India and Pakistan has been made thirty times more like by climate change, according to scientists. The subcontinent has had extreme temperatures and low rainfall since mid-March and that has caused widespread suffering in the area.
Scientists are also warning that focusing on carbon dioxide alone will not be enough to keep temperatures within a livable range. It is also necessary to sharply cut methane levels in the atmosphere they say.
Among the 2022 winners of the world's preeminent environmental award, the Goldman Prize, are Indigenous activists and lawyers who took on transnational corporations and their own governments to force climate action.
This is not the news that those of us who live near the Gulf of Mexico want to hear: Conditions in the Gulf are now similar to 2005, the year that produced deadly Katrina as well as six other major storms.
An unprecedented wave of sandstorms has recently struck parts of the Middle East and experts say they are at least partly the result of climate change. They also blame the failure of governments to regulate appropriately.
It was sixty years ago that Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was published and engendered the modern environmental movement. It was thanks to that book that DDT was banned in America but still today birds face extreme threats to their existence, largely because they migrate through every habitat on Earth.
As heat surges and drought worsens across already dry California, tensions are rising in the state as governments seek ways to deal with the crisis.
States are looking at ways to extract critical elements from waterways that have been polluted by coal as a means of offsetting the high cost of cleanup.
If you go outside and look up at the sky on Monday night, you might be able to see a very special shower of meteors. Or not. But if everything lines up just right there could be as many as 1,000 shooting stars per hour which would make for a spectacular show.
*~*~*~*for the birds.
It really brings me a smile to read about people like Jimmy Carter, who stand up for wildlife and nature! I've read the article and I'm pretty curious where this case will end up.ReplyDelete
Jimmy Carter has long been a hero of mine. He goes his own way, pursues his own passions regardless of the opinion of the world. That is a rare thing indeed, especially in a public figure.Delete
Good morning, Dorothy. Thank you for the weekly roundup. Trillium grandiflorum is the provincial flower in Ontario and to think of it becoming extinct is very sad indeed. It carpets the woodlands in spring and I look forward to its arrival every year. Between climate news, especially the catastrophic loss of ice in Greenland, and the tragedy at Uvalde, this has not been a good week.ReplyDelete
I considered doing a rant about Uvalde, but what purpose would it really serve? We spent a night there a few years ago on a trip through South Texas. I remember it as a small, quiet, anonymous town like most of the towns in that area, a place where everybody knows everybody else, a place not unlike where I grew up. Now it joins the long and growing list of American cities that have had to find a way to endure the unendurable. And in the meantime, somewhere in this country, probably in Texas, there is a young man who has followed the news of this tragedy and said to himself, "He only killed 21 people? HOLD MY BEER! I can kill way more than that with my trusty AR-15 that I was able to buy without questions down at my corner gun store." And he will. Soon, next week or next month we'll be reading about him and his trusty AR in the news and everyone will say what a tragedy it is and how could this happen in this "God-fearing" country? But the truth is that the only "god" we worship here is the god Gun and we won't countenance any actions that might inhibit his freedom to be placed in the hands of disturbed 18-year-olds (or disturbed people of any age) out to prove their "manhood" or ease their psychic pain by causing pain to others. And so Uvaldes will continue to happen and we'll all be shocked, shocked and we'll talk about it and focus on it for a few days and then the next shocking thing will occur and it will be forgotten. In the end, a country that loves its guns more than it loves its children cannot long endure and I'm not sure it deserves to. There, I got that rant out of my system. Thank you, David.Delete
I had no idea we had cuckoos here. I will use my ears and my bird sounds app to see if I can hear them.Delete
The Gulf conditions for this year are, of course, worrisome for those of us who live near this tumultuous body of water.
And, Dorothy, I thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments about the horror in Uvalde that occurred this week. Those little children.Delete
If nuclear weapons ever become products that everyone can afford and if the nuclear weapon industry becomes a profitable industry, none of us will have to worry about any of this anymore.
Our Yellow-billed Cuckoos don't say "cuckoo" so you might not easily recognize them as such, but they are around throughout the summer.Delete
It is likely that in Texas such nuclear weapons would be readily sold even to children who have just turned 18, and, as you say, that will be the end of that and us.
Sadly, I'd have to agree with your assessment of the (potential) nuclear weapons industry here in Texas, Dorothy.Delete
I have major concerns about hurricane season, it is going to be terrible.ReplyDelete
It is certainly shaping up for another destructive season. Those of us who live along the coast had best prepare ourselves.Delete
The yellow-billed cuckoo is beautiful and all those gannets remind me of the puffins that are so plentiful in Maine each June. And Uvalde, those innocent children and law enforcement that failed to act. The horror those parents experienced waiting outside for something to be done.ReplyDelete
There are not enough tears. But will anything change? I am not hopeful. Thank Nature for the birds that do provide us some comfort.Delete
Rant away Dorothy. I liked what you said up above. I'm interested in the Kemp Sea Turtles you mention ... I see they are the smallest sea turtles in the world ... and weigh 70 to 100 pounds as adults. I hope the eggs survive!ReplyDelete
The Kemps are on the brink of extinction. Kudos to the dedicated people trying to pull them back from that brink.Delete
I'm so torn on if I should stay up that late to see the meteor shower, if nothing happens... I lost a lot sleep! But it would be so cool to see!ReplyDelete
It would certainly be an event to savor.Delete
That sinkhole in China fascinates me!ReplyDelete
And as for that meteor shower, there's no way I'll be able to see it here in the middle of the Phoenix metropolitan area, but I do remember sitting in a hot tub outside a log cabin up in Greer, Arizona... 8,000 ft. elevation and no light pollution... Denis and I sat and watched the shooting stars. Beautiful! That was also the place where the great blue heron would fish in the Little Colorado River right off our porch.
The sinkhole is pretty amazing, isn't it? A secret forest!Delete