This week in birds - #545

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

The Northern Cardinal's cousin, the Pyrrhuloxia. I photographed this one on a trip to New Mexico. It is a resident of West Texas and southern parts of New Mexico and Arizona.

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There has been a dramatic surge in sea levels along southeastern coastlines and the Gulf of Mexico since 2010.

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A study reveals that nearly three billion birds have been lost on this continent since about 1970. That is a 30% decline in the total bird population.

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Here's a commentary on E.O. Wilson's grand idea of how to save the planet.

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This spring seems to be promising a spectacular bloom of wildflowers in the West.

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With the help of conservationists, the seriously endangered Gray-breasted Parakeet is making a comeback in Brazil's Atlantic Forest. 

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The Great Salt Lake had seemed to be in danger of drying up but this past winter's record snowpack has given it at least a temporary reprieve.

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This is Bicknell's Thrush, a bird that keeps to the shadows and is not well-known to many people. Its numbers are decreasing and it needs our help to avoid extinction. It is the American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week.

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The climate and biodiversity crises are so overwhelming that one often feels helpless to fight them, but, in fact, there are actions that individuals can take to help. You can start in your own backyard. Perhaps we just need the courage to act.

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There's an exciting new find in the world of archaeology, a Mayan ball game "scoreboard."

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Meet a man who walked around the world.

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Environmental defenders are being murdered in rural communities across Mexico and Central America.

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In the last twenty years, bumblebee populations in the United States have dropped by ninety percent.

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Here's some rare good news regarding the world's tigers: India's conservation efforts have helped the big cats to bounce back from the road to extinction.

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Thousands of iconic saguaro cacti plants have been wiped out by climate change. Can human intervention save the species?

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A sauropod skull found in Queensland was from an animal that lived almost a hundred million years ago. It's only the fourth such specimen ever found.

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A boom in the population of zooplankton in Lake Tahoe has given the lake unprecedented clarity.

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The temperature of the world's ocean surface has hit an all-time high since records have been kept.

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There is a hole in the ocean's floor that could be a harbinger of trouble ahead for the planet. 

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It's been a grueling winter in the Yosemite valley and it has left its mark on the landscape.

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Here's news from the front of the great goat war that is taking place in southern France.

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Watch this clever Asian elephant peel bananas with her trunk






Comments

  1. Good morning, Dorothy. Thank you for the weekly roundup - so much to digest here. From everything I have read of late people in coastal communities around the Gulf of Mexico have every reason to be concerned. Flooding now seems inevitable, and soon, and greater storm surges caused by more powerful hurricanes are virtually a certainty. I have E. O. Wilson's (one of the greatest biologists of all time in my opinion) "Half Earth" on my shelf, and I will take it down and read it again. Why is it that politicians are incapable of acting on the science of giants like him and continue to push our communities ever deeper into unsustainability? But then again we keep re-electing them, don't we?

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    1. Wilson is a hero of mine and how great it is that his wisdom lives on to guide us. We live well inland from the Gulf - now. In the future, it seems that we may be seaside.

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  2. David brings up something I've wondered about-- why do we keep re-electing these idiot politicians?!? And another careworn gripe of mine is the fact that a good portion of the decline of bird populations can be laid at the doorsteps of all the cat owners who turn their pets loose outdoors to roam (and kill) at will. I'll leave to grumble in private now...

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    1. I strongly suspect that "we" don't elect them! But certainly somebody does and we all suffer the consequences.

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  3. Pyrrhuloxia looks so much like Northern Cardinals. I'd have to have someone tell me what it was, I think. Maybe it's obvious when you see the bird in person.

    It is worrisome that the Gulf is rising!

    I thank you especially for the article about what we can each do to make things better. I went to a native plant sale yesterday, and I'm glad that it's one very small thing I can do.

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    1. If you saw the Pyrrhuloxia in person I feel sure you would be able to recognize it as a separate species. If we all just did the very small things we can do it would add up to a very big thing indeed.

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