This week in birds - #579

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

The male Northern Cardinals are singing their hearts out. It must be almost spring.

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Climatologist Michael Mann is a hero of mine and I was happy to see him fight back in court against those who had defamed him. And I was even happier to see that he won!

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And speaking of Mann and his warnings about climate, scientists have announced that Earth has breached a critical temperature barrier over the last twelve months.

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El Niño has helped to exacerbate the higher temperatures. It may be almost over now but La Niña is waiting in the wings.

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In more hot news, the Icelandic volcanic system erupted again this week.

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The storms on the West Coast this week have filled up the Los Angeles River. Those storms were intensified by an atmospheric river.

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We need to save the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, America's Amazon.

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Vermillion Flycatcher by Jeff Bray, Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The beautiful Vermilion Flycatcher is the American Bird Conservancy's Bird of the Week.

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Here's why we need to save the sardine.

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Maui has been experiencing some of the deadliest wildfires in its history.

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An image of a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg won the Wildlife Photo of the Year award.

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Some troubling news regarding Monarch butterflies: Their numbers are down sharply in the wintering areas of Mexico. 

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But there is hopeful news regarding a possible return to the American Southwest of the jaguar. A potential barrier to that return is the stupid border wall.

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Flaco, the escaped Eurasian Eagle-owl, is still free and still flying in New York.

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Lions in Kenya are facing a challenge from an unexpected quarter - ants!

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A fossilized tree is answering some questions about life in the Paleozoic Era.

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It turns out that anenomefish, like the famous Nemo, are particular about who they share their space with.

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Altruism may not be common in the wild, but here is one unexpected example provided by an elephant seal. 

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A new species of mussel has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Meteorologists are considering adding another category - category 6 - to their intensity scale for hurricanes which now runs 1 - 5. 

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Pollinators are less likely to be drawn to polluted plants.

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Sponges living in the Caribbean Sea are warning us that global warming may be even worse than we thought.

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Radical ideas are being considered to fight global warming including the use of a giant parasol!

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The Arctic Sea ecosystem is an amazing place.

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The pliosaur, a creature of the Jurassic Period, was the T. rex of the sea.

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Orcas that had been trapped in sea ice off the coast of Japan have now managed to free themselves.

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Here are some amazing images of European Starling murmurations.

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Fans of a pair of Bald Eagles nesting in California have been following them closely as they have shielded their three eggs from the storms raging there. 

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And in Sydney, the White Ibis is known as the "bin chicken" because of its habit of searching for food in trash containers.




Comments

  1. Good morning, Dorothy: Thank you once again for the roundup and the effort you put into delivering it to our inboxes every Saturday morning. It is an occasion for great rejoicing when a scientist wins in court against climate deniers and those who would scurrilously smear his good name, and disparage the very science which he knows and understands, and about which they wallow in ignorance. It is both ironic and tragic that the very next point you make is that the Earth has breached a critical temperature barrier. Yet there is a madman running for the presidency, and who may well win the election, who is committed to the evisceration of environmental sanity and will doom the environmental movement possibly forever, because we are really at the point where it is too late to tolerate any further messing with the Earth’s vital systems. Yet his mantra is “Drill, drill drill.” Sheer madness. The inmates really do seek to take over the asylum. All the best - David

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    1. I do find it alarming that we have breached that temperature barrier and that we may possibly get a madman for president. Actually, I think his mantra is "Me, me, me!"

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  2. I spoke a bit to a fellow who is working at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge to encourage butterfly habitat there. I hope to do more at my house to do the same. It is worrisome that Monarch numbers are declining.

    I especially love to see the stories you share about species I know little about. This week I'm fascinated with the info you shared about the Bald Eagles and the Orcas.

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    1. I've always tried to make my yard butterfly-friendly, but it seems to me that I'm seeing fewer Gulf Fritillaries as well as Monarchs and Clouded Yellows this year. In past years they were all plentiful during winter.

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  3. That photo of the vermilion flycatcher reminds me of all the time I spent one afternoon at the Hassayampa River outside of Wickenburg trying to photograph one, and all I got were butt shots!

    I've also been paying attention to the jaguar sightings down in SE Arizona. First there was El Jefe, and now there's another one. It would be fabulous to catch sight of one in the wild.

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    1. I agree - seeing a jaguar in the wild would be an absolutely amazing thing. And I feel your frustration trying to photograph the flycatcher. Trying to photograph birds of any kind can make one remember all the swear words our mothers told us never to use. They are not cooperative subjects.

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  4. I'm hoping La Nina will bring us a cooler summer up here this year ... which the article seems to suggest.

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  5. Monarchs are so beautiful. It worries me so much that they're in such a decline.

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    1. I agree that it is worrisome. All we can do is plant more milkweed and hope for the best, I suppose.

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