This week in birds - #515

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

House Finches are regular visitors to my bird feeders.

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Here's a plea by songwriter Carole King to protect our forests from logging. Simply letting them be costs nothing and has many benefits.

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The extreme fire season in Australia in 2019 and 2020 sent smoke twenty miles into the air and damaged the ozone layer, causing major warming.

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As severe drought has all but dried up some rivers in Texas ancient dinosaur footprints have been revealed, footprints dating to more than 100 million years ago. Here are more pictures including a video of the prints.

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Bird flu has killed at least 700 Black Vultures at the Noah's Ark sanctuary in Georgia.

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Record-breaking drought has caused some rivers in China, including parts of the Yangtze, to dry up. An unprecedented heat wave in the country has wilted crops, sparked forest fires, and caused major cities to have to dim their lights.

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The world's smallest sea turtle, the Kemp's ridley, has been found on Louisiana islands for the first time in 75 years.

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Alaska is burning. As drought has dried out parts of the Alaskan wilderness, it has become more vulnerable to wildfires.

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Many people harbor an unreasonable fear of spiders but they are an important element in the natural world. And it seems that while some people may have nightmares about spiders, spiders may be having nightmares about us.

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This is a lanternfly, an invasive insect from China that has become established in several states, mostly along the Eastern Seaboard. A campaign is underway to have people smush every one of the insects that they encounter as a way of trying to eradicate them. But there are some who sympathize with the insect that, after all, didn't ask to be brought here.

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This sprightly little critter is the Araripe Manakin, a critically endangered bird of northeastern Brazil. It is the American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week.

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Macaques are clever monkeys that are skilled in the use of stones as tools. It seems that some of them have found a unique use for stones, wielding them for the purpose of masturbation

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Central Mississippi experienced flash floods this week when up to a foot of rain fell in a relatively short period of time. Meanwhile, the Dallas area was being hit by a 1-in-1,000-year flood. But in Houston, we are still dry.

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How can we protect some of the oldest and largest trees in a world that is quickly heating up? In their hundreds of years of life, California's giant sequoias have faced and overcome many challenges; can they overcome this one?

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Think you know a lot about Yellowstone National Park? You may not know as much as you think!

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Here's something else for you to worry about: What if underwater methane deposits break free from the sea floor and release their gas into the atmosphere? Scientists say it could happen.

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The sea mammal called the dugong has been declared "functionally extinct" in China.

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As many as one in six of U.S. tree species are threatened with extinction due to an onslaught of invasive insects, a surge in deadly diseases, and the perils of climate change.

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In the past five weeks, there have been five instances of 1,000-year rain events in the lower 48 states.

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Climate change is stressing and imperiling North America's bumblebee population.

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Alaska's snow crabs are disappearing from that environment and their disappearance is likely connected to - you guessed it - climate change.

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And hundreds of miles south, there is an extreme effort taking place to save the endangered Mexican wolf.

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Epaulette sharks may be evolving to better survive the climate crisis. They are able to walk on land for up to two hours.

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Here are five drought-tolerant and highly nutritious plants that could help to feed the world in a hotter climate.

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The U.S. has set aside 63 national parks. It is one of the best things our nation has ever done.


Comments

  1. Good morning, Dorothy. Thank you for putting together another weekly roundup, to highlight for many who don't follow the environmental news closely, the dire state of the planet. You own home state is turning out to be a bit of a microcosm, isn't it, with Dallas being washed away in floods and Houston burning to a crisp? As for those macaques, there will be a whole new connotation to calling someone "a clever little monkey"!

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    1. As has been noted, Texas is quite a large state and there is room for plenty of variety in climates all the way from the arid west to the humid southeast.

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  2. I am glad to see lots more bees and insects this year, and happy to have goldfinch come to the garden for flower seeds. Hope that the decline in birds and insects worldwild will gradually reverse. Happy reading week.

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    1. We must hope for the best for birds and insects and all of Nature and also do whatever is in our power to do to protect them.

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  3. My Saturday wouldn't seem like Saturday without the opportunity to read this weekly post of yours, Dorothy. I lived through a 500-year flood here in Phoenix that basically cut the city off from the rest of the world back in the late 1970s. I have plenty of amusing stories about it as a result, but it was a scary time. There's no way I would want to experience a 1,000-year flood!

    When you mentioned people's fear of spiders, it reminded me of two things. (1) Everything on this planet is here for a reason, whether we know that reason or not. This was brought home to me when I learned that those little pillbugs I used to play with as a child take care of the heavy metals in the soil. Wow! (2) Denis and I used to spend a week in the Mule Mountains outside of Bisbee, Arizona twice a year. I could sit out on the porch of the cabin and have deer come to within ten feet of me-- and all the species of birds in those scrub oaks! Anyway, on summer mornings, small lizards would climb up the sides of the cabin to warm up in the sun and to eat the insects that always seemed to congregate around the eaves. They never came inside. Imagine my horror when the cabin owner told us that he'd found out that one of the renters' wives didn't like the lizards and had her husband kill as many of them as he could find!

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    1. Some people's ignorance of and unreasoning fear of all things in Nature will never cease to astound and appall me.

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  4. I'm happy the national park system was established. I wish we would establish even more parks. Wildlife refuges are nice, too.

    I wonder what a 1,000-year-flood would look like here where we live, Dorothy. I have been through Tropical Storm Claudette dumping 40+ inches of rain in 24-hours as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Alicia, and Carla, so the thought of a 1,000-year-flood gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    The Araripe Manakin is stunning. How sad to think that it is endangered.

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    1. Indeed. We are not right on the coast but close enough that we have to beware of tropical storms and hurricanes passing through the Gulf. Forty inches of rain in 24 hours would cause significant flooding throughout this area.

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  5. The dinosaur footprints were so cool to see! I mean, I hate that the water dried up, that is not good at all. Scary even, so much water just vanishing. But the footprints were cool to see.

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    1. When something like this is revealed, it always makes me wonder what else lies hidden in the landscape.

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  6. The article about the Myths of Yellowstone is interesting .... as well as I like the list of the 63 national parks. I've been to some!

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    1. I've visited several of them but I would like to visit a whole lot more.

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