This week in birds - #506

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

My beautyberries are a favorite with American Robins as well as many other birds that visit my yard.

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The big environmental story of the week was the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan that killed more than 1,000 people and injured at least 1,600. Intense relief efforts are underway in the region.

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In Iran this week, on the first day of summer temperatures in the city of Abadan soared to a scorching 126 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Wildfires were much in the news this week. A fast-moving wildfire in New Jersey threatened to become the state's biggest fire in fifteen years. In New Mexico, a government-prescribed burn got out of control and became the state's largest recorded wildfire. The Forest Service admitted that it had failed to adequately account for the effects of climate change in starting the blaze.

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The southwestern United States is baking under record levels of heat. The temperatures in our area, for example, are expected to climb into triple digits on most days during the next ten-day period.

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Levees that restrict the flow of rivers are not working as they were intended and their removal benefits the rivers as well as wildlife and communities in the area.

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Extreme weather conditions have spread to China which has been experiencing scorching heat and massive flooding that has displaced up to half a million people.

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In Bangladesh, also, the country is reeling from massive floods caused by unusually heavy rains during the monsoon season.

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In some areas, goats are important allies in helping to prevent forest fires.

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Rewilding is an idea whose time seems to have come - at least in some areas. Devon, for example

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Polar bears, at least some of them, seem to be finding ways to adapt to a world with less sea ice. 

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At the height of the tourist season, record rainfall and resultant flooding and mudslides forced closures in Yellowstone National Park this week. None of our national parks are untouched by the effects of extreme weather caused by climate change.

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A UN spokesperson has warned that a massive humanitarian relief effort is needed to save Somalia from famine after it has suffered four consecutive failed rainy seasons and experienced the worst drought in four decades.

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Hooray for Canada! The country is planning to ban the manufacture and importation of harmful single-use plastics by the end of this year. 

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We've known for a while that Burmese pythons have become an invasive species in Florida but this week a team of trackers captured the largest member of that species ever found in the Everglades. She was almost eighteen feet long and weighed 215 pounds. Some of that weight was the 122 eggs that she had inside her. 

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Research has proven that trees communicate with each other. What might happen if we learned to listen to them?

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Scientists have created a tiny self-propelled robo-fish that can swim around and remove free-floating microplastics from the water. The invention also has the capacity to fix itself if it gets damaged.

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Indigenous farmers in Hawaii are attempting to restore the ancient food forests that once fed their ancestors.

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The American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week is the beautiful Bay-breasted Cuckoo that inhabits the dry lowland forests of Hispaniola.

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An unprecedented agreement makes five Native American tribes essentially co-managers with the federal government of Bear Ears National Monument in Utah.

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The Biden administration is returning to the old definition of "habitat" and tossing out the shrunken definition that was used by the previous administration.

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Researchers in Colombia report that common brown rats may be the primary pollinator in urban settings for the feijoa plant. The plant produces a fruit that is widely consumed in the country. 

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine has worsened a worldwide fertilizer shortage but a solution is at hand: Patriotic peeing or peecycling.  Human urine, it seems, is full of the nutrients that plants need to thrive.

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Viruses do not necessarily get gentler over time. The rabbit killer virus, myxoma, is a case in point. 

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In a real live "incredible journey," three African wild dog sisters traveled 1,300 miles and crossed national borders in a quest to forge a new dynasty.

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Is it the tilt of our planet that makes life possible here? Some scientists argue that it is that fortuitous angle that makes our blue marble of a planet livable. 

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Does it seem to you that the pollen in the air is especially thick this year? Well, you are not wrong and those who suffer from allergic reactions to it will confirm that if they can stop sneezing long enough.

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A hybrid monkey in Malaysia appears to be the result of mating between a proboscis monkey and a silver langur. Researchers believe that the mating is the consequence of habitat loss which meant that the male proboscis was unable to reach females of its own species.

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Avian influenza in the wild does not just affect birds; the virus can infect mammals as well.

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"Plastitar" is a term coined by researchers in the Canary Islands to describe a new form of pollution that is a mix of tar and microplastics. 

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Scientists are testing forgotten wheat varieties from around the world to find those with heat- and drought-tolerant traits that may help them survive the climate crisis.

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Tortoises and turtles are not just long-lived; they also barely age while they are alive. Galápagos giant tortoises, for example, seem unscathed by the ravages of aging as they plod into their 100s.

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Dolphins appear to be making a comeback in the waters around New York, as confirmed by an array of underwater microphones that track the feeding noises of marine mammals there.

Comments

  1. Yay, good plastic news from Canada! I feel like the whole world is scorching hot right now, I see it everywhere online; people from very different countries mentioning how hot it is, and it's the same over here in The Netherlands!

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    1. The world - at least the northern hemisphere - does seem to be burning at the moment and summer has only just begun. I dread to think what July and August might have in store for us.

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  2. Thanks for the weekly roundup, Dorothy. I will get into it later. I am leading an all-day bird walk and need to make sandwiches and get ready. As always, your dedication to this Saturday morning summary is greatly appreciated.

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    1. I hope your walk is a successful one and you find lots of interesting birds.

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  3. So much to read in this round-up, Dorothy! Thanks, as always, for putting it together. Loved the story of the African wild dogs. Also, the fact that people are beginning to realize that levees can actually do more harm than good. And the term "rewilding" warms the cockles of my heart.

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    1. It is a great word, isn't it? It warms the cockles of my heart!

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    2. We'd planned to visit Yellowstone while we were in Montana, but the flooding happened the day before we arrived, and all the entrances to the park were closed. Some of the videos I saw of the flooding were horrifying.

      The fires and the heat have been awful here in the US this summer. Hope we get some relief soon.

      I especially like your photo from your own garden. All is right with the world in your garden.

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    3. My garden is a respite from all the sadness and cares of the world.

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