This week in birds - #519

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

At certain times of the year, Common Grackles are prominent in my yard, but just now I seldom see them here. This one is a rarity who appears to be in the middle of his molt. His beak is open in response to the heat which still lingers in the upper 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day.

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Pakistan has been suffering from floods that have killed more than 1500 people in that country. A study of the floods has linked them to climate change.

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Poor nations are asking the United Nations to consider a global tax to pay for human-caused climate-led loss and damage. 

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In this country, California is still suffering a punishing drought and has instituted rules regarding water usage, but it seems that some ranchers are ignoring those rules

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Smoke from wildfires in the West has the potential to reverse much of the progress that has been made in recent years toward cleaner air.

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How many ants would you say there are on this planet? Researchers are estimating 2.5 million for every human on Earth.

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Lithium is an indispensable ingredient in electric car batteries and it is in short supply, but there is a mine in Quebec that might be able to help.

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This is the Bar-tailed Godwit, the bird that holds the long-distance flying record. The bird makes the 7,000-mile non-stop flight between Alaska and New Zealand twice a year.

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Incredibly, regulators are allowing states to spread toxic sewage sludge containing "forever chemicals" even though they have in some instances poisoned water and ruined livelihoods.

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Researchers found a unique and clever way to study ancient mariners: They built a replica of the ship that had been sailed by those seafarers and sailed it themselves.

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And speaking of clever, I give you raccoons!

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The January eruption of the Tonga volcano that sent water vapor into the stratosphere is expected to have a slight, though likely temporary, warming effect on the planet's climate.

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In yet another negative effect of the warming climate, it may be responsible for helping to spread a brain-eating amoeba that lives in warm fresh water.

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Miami Beach is suffering from an invasion of non-native iguanas and some want to fight the problem by putting a bounty on the critters to have the public bring them in, dead or alive.

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Those who have read and enjoyed Shelby Van Pelt's novel Remarkably Bright Creatures will likely appreciate this story about how octopuses hunt.

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Despite the Colorado River bordering more than 100 miles of land belonging to the Hualapai tribe, the tribe is unable to take water from it.

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The mayfly is the world's oldest winged insect and it is in trouble. They are among Nature's best environmental sentinels so maybe we should pay attention to what they are telling us.

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Honeybees have been in trouble for a few years now, but there may be a better and healthier way for beekeepers to house them that could help.

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Island nations that are in danger of being swamped by rising seas caused by climate change are proposing an initiative that they hope will help.

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A mystery ancient "alien goldfish" that swam some 330 million years ago was similar to modern sea slugs, according to paleontologists. 

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I love spiders. They are endlessly fascinating critters and here's one that is especially interesting.

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The Senate finally this week ratified a global climate treaty that would phase down the use of hydroflourocarbons that help to trap heat in the atmosphere.

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The changing quality of light beginning in September is our clue that autumn is almost here even if the thermometer hasn't yet got the message. Margaret Renkl has an appreciation of this time of year.  





Comments

  1. Good morning, Dorothy: Blogger seems to have resolved its issues (at least for now) and the roundup was nestled in my blog feed waiting to deliver its trove of environmental information. Saturday will now proceed on its normal trajectory! The disappearance of mayflies is a real barometer of environmental problems, but there are many others. If only we could summon the collective will to recognize them and start to do what we can't afford to postpone much longer. Enjoy the weekend - David

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, we seem to turn a blind eye and ear to all the warnings Nature keeps trying to give us.

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  2. So many links that struck a chord with me this week!

    Before it had to be cut down, the huge Aleppo pine tree in our front yard housed a large group of great-tailed grackles. They made superb guard birds.

    Ranchers in California may be ignoring water restrictions, but most of the golf courses here in Phoenix have been ignoring their set quotas for years.

    I think you knew how much I'd enjoy the links on raccoons and octopuses.

    Most people would be horrified if they knew what the tribes up in northern Arizona like the Hualapai have to do to get the water they need-- something the rest of us here in the US take for granted.

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    1. So the richest country in the world is unable - or unwilling - to make water easily available to all its citizens. What a travesty!

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  3. Smoke in the West every summer is indeed very troubling for asthmatics like me and others. It gets so dense you can't even see far in front of you and is very hard to breathe. I'm glad when fall is here. And the bird that flies 7,000 miles is just incredible. It's hard to fathom this feat!

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    1. Birds in general are incredible creatures but the godwit's flight is certainly one of the most incredible accomplishments of the species.

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  4. River use is surprisingly complex, at least here in Texas. It disturbs me. I know that Dow Chemical is the number one user of the Brazos River in our county, and that's even ahead of farmers and ranchers.

    I find the Bar-tailed Godwit fascinating. I would love to know more about the journey it takes.

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    1. The Bar-tailed Godwit is fascinating. One wonders how such a flight evolved. Were there once stops along the way that have now vanished, or has it always been this incredible journey?

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