This week in birds - #508

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

A Great Blue Heron just being a Great Blue Heron in coastal waters.

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Yellowstone National Park was seriously damaged in places by the June floods. In rebuilding the National Parks Conservation Association will be taking the effects of climate change into account. 

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The deforestation of the Amazon has reached a six-year high in Brazil. The area cleared in the first six months of 2022 is five times the size of New York City.

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And those who attempt to defend the Amazon must put their lives on the line. Sometimes those lives are lost as happened to an Indigenous leader recently in Venezuela.

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In our own country, it sometimes seems that the Supreme Court is determined to kill us all. A prime example is their decision this week which will keep the government and the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the environment by limiting harmful emissions.

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Recent tests of America's drinking water in nine different locations found more toxic "forever chemicals" than the EPA tests have shown.

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Parts of Yosemite National Park were closed to the public this week as firefighters battled a wildfire that had stretched over sixty acres.

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China, too, has been suffering heat waves and floods this summer which are affecting the nation's plans for dealing with a changing climate.

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Here in Texas, San Antonio recorded seventeen days of triple-digit temperatures in June. Houston had five such days and since we are right next door, I expect that was our record also.

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In Washington, the historic Tidal Basin has fallen into disrepair. The National Park Service is planning a massive restoration.

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Drought is devastating Somalia once again and nearly half the country's population is facing what the UN calls "acute levels of food insecurity." In other words, people are going hungry.

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Harvester ants might be said to be the archaeologist's friend. In Nebraska, they have unearthed thousands of bones and teeth which have led to the discovery of ten previously unknown species

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Clouds that glow. They are called noctilucent clouds and they've been plentiful in the night skies this summer.

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A jawbone fossil found by paleontologists in Spain is believed to be the oldest human fossil found in Europe. It is believed to be 1.4 million years old.

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Smith Island on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland has become a pelicans' paradise, but only twenty-five years ago pelicans were unknown on the island.

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Scientists have come to believe that the formation of Earth's iron core some 550 million years ago led to the explosion of life on the planet.

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Egypt's pyramids haven't been around quite that long; it just seems they are ageless.

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The heating up of Europe has led to the collapse of some of its glaciers, one of which in the Italian Dolomites crushed at least ten hikers.

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How about some good news about whales? In the Southern Ocean, the fin whales, our planet's second-largest creatures, have made quite a spectacular comeback. They have returned to their historic feeding grounds in the waters around Antarctica.

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A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been found in four seals stranded along the Maine coast over the last two months.

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A recent report found that wild species - plants, animals, fungi, and algae - support half the world's population of humans and their future use is threatened by overexploitation.

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Italy is suffering through its worst drought in seventy years.

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The beautiful Spix's Macaw, endemic to northeastern Brazil, is the American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week.

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New Zealand will embark on a program of eradication of introduced predators on ecologically significant Rakiura/Stewart Island, home of such species as the kākāpō.

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"Sea dragons" are very weird-looking creatures, but what made them that way?

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Grunions, the fish that wriggles ashore to spawn, have fascinated Californians for decades, but the future of the fish in a world with a changing climate may be in doubt.

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In Western Australia, a possum and a gecko have become roommates.



Comments

  1. Good morning, Dorothy. Thanks for the Saturday morning roundup of environmental news, good and bad. The increased clearing of the Amazon rainforest is very troubling indeed. Knowing what we do of the serious consequences of such activity we still keep doing it, don't we? Soon there will be nothing left and then we will start to lament its demise, and the lungs of the planet will be struggling to function, and the inventory in nature's pharmacopeia will have been lost forever. Birds, mammals and insects will disappear, consigned to the abyss of extinction, yet still we destroy. Destruction is in our very DNA it seems whether it's of our fellow humans or of life-giving nature. We are an odd species indeed.

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    1. I don't know of any other species on Earth that deliberately and with malice fouls its own nest. Yes, I think we are unique.

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  2. Interesting news stories. Love the bird photos!
    Have a blessed day!

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  3. The article about ants being an archaeologist's best friend made me smile. My Uncle Orville and his wife, Aunt Mae, (I'm leaving out a grand or a great or two) loved hopping in their flivver and exploring out in the Mojave Desert, which wasn't all that far away from their Grass Valley, California, home. One day, they were out in the desert, and Aunt Mae found a patch of shade in which to sit while Uncle Orville was out doing his thing. She happened to look down and spied ants working little beads up out of the ground. She called to Uncle Orville (the archaeologist), who came right over. Aunt Mae had been standing on top of an Indian burial mound, and they never would have known if not for the ants.

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  4. At least Nebraska is good for something once in a while!

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    1. I'm sure Nebraska is good for quite a lot of things, only one of them being as a depository of ancient artifacts.

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  5. I think a lot of the world is suffering from this horrible heat wave. Besides Italy, I read that Japan and parts of Europe are suffering too. Yet, some people think global warming is fake....

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    1. One would think that living in Texas would convince even the most hardheaded person that global warming exists. At the moment, we are at 100 degrees, "feels like" 111. Today's high is predicted to be 102. Still many will stubbornly deny that anything unusual is happening.

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