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. 

*~*~*~*

Scotland's Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth is home to the world's largest colony of Northern Gannets, some of which you see here. The island is literally for the birds.

*~*~*~*

After more than a century of federal management and nearly two decades of negotiations, the lands of the Northern Bison Range in Montana have been reclaimed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

*~*~*~*

This is Trillium grandiflorum, a native wildflower in the eastern part of the continent. It is seriously endangered due to human development, predation, and competition from invasive plants and it may disappear.

*~*~*~*

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, more than fifty corporations pledged to "buy green" by getting the commodities they need in their production from processes that emit little or no carbon. 

*~*~*~*

Ninety-seven-year-old Jimmy Carter has joined the fight to stop the construction of a gravel road that would cut through a federal wildlife refuge in Alaska. The battle over the road endangers an environmental law which Carter called one of his highest achievements.

*~*~*~*

Also in Alaska, the Biden administration this week took action that will likely block the controversial Pebble Mine project there. 

*~*~*~*

When cave explorers descended into a massive sinkhole in China's Guangxi region that had never before been explored, they discovered a hidden forest that could be home to previously unidentified plant and animal species.

*~*~*~*

Langkawi Archipelago in Malaysia is a cluster of 109 tropical islands that form an important area for marine mammals. It is threatened by development in the area that could cause severe damage to its ecosystem and wildlife.

*~*~*~*

A nest of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle was discovered in the dunes of Galveston Island State Park on Thursday. The nest contained 107 eggs which were taken to an incubation facility where they can be protected. The nest was the first to be discovered in the park since 2012 and since this is the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, every egg is precious. 

*~*~*~*

A lithium mining project in North Carolina promised a reliable source of clean energy but neighbors have now turned against the project.

*~*~*~*

While some species suffer because of the warming climate, at least one creature is perfectly happy with higher temperatures. Pacific rattlesnake populations in a heated up California are thriving.

*~*~*~*

Christian Cooper, the Black birder who became famous after he was accosted by a White woman in Central Park, will soon be hosting a birdwatching show called "Extraordinary Birder" on National Geographic TV.

*~*~*~*

One victim of the heatwave on the Indian subcontinent has been the mango. The blistering temperatures have devastated crops of the fruit.

*~*~*~*

The tiny Clear Lake hitch is an endangered fish that currently swims in the waters in California, but for how much longer?

*~*~*~*

Here are some pictures of the beautiful Swainson's Hawk from the Flint Hills of Kansas.

*~*~*~*

Wandering salamanders that parachute out of trees? Yes, they exist! Nature never ceases to amaze us. 



Comments

  1. 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
    Replies
    1. 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
  2. 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
    Replies
    1. 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
    2. 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.

      The Gulf conditions for this year are, of course, worrisome for those of us who live near this tumultuous body of water.

      Delete
    3. And, Dorothy, I thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments about the horror in Uvalde that occurred this week. Those little children.

      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.

      Delete
    4. Our Yellow-billed Cuckoos don't say "cuckoo" so you might not easily recognize them as such, but they are around throughout the summer.

      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.

      Delete
    5. Sadly, I'd have to agree with your assessment of the (potential) nuclear weapons industry here in Texas, Dorothy.

      Delete
  3. I have major concerns about hurricane season, it is going to be terrible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is certainly shaping up for another destructive season. Those of us who live along the coast had best prepare ourselves.

      Delete
  4. 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
    Replies
    1. 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
  5. 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
    Replies
    1. The Kemps are on the brink of extinction. Kudos to the dedicated people trying to pull them back from that brink.

      Delete
  6. 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
  7. That sinkhole in China fascinates me!

    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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sinkhole is pretty amazing, isn't it? A secret forest!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Open Season (Joe Pickett #1) by C.J. Box - A review

Poetry Sunday: Hymn for the Hurting by Amanda Gorman

Poetry Sunday: Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver