Saturday, December 3, 2016

This week in birds - #234

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



Brown Pelican resting beside Galveston Bay.

*~*~*~*

The firestorm that hit Gatlinburg, Tennessee this week was the largest fire in more than 100 years in that state. Once a spark was lit, the bone-dry hillsides filled with ready fuel combined with hurricane force gusts of wind did the rest. The Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountain fires were aided by freakish fall warmth and drought.

*~*~*~*

The consequences of climate change are being felt all over the world but the effects are greater in some areas than in others. A 2015 study identified these "hotspots" around the planet. Climate and development policy should pay particular attention to these areas. 

*~*~*~*

The annual Christmas Bird Count will be beginning soon. You can find a count circle in your area by visiting the Audubon website. Participation is free and any level of expertise (or even lack thereof) is welcomed. 

*~*~*~*

The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand caused considerable destruction to human structures, but it is feared that it also devastated a breeding colony of Hutton's Shearwaters. It is the nesting season of the birds in New Zealand and these seabirds nest in burrows. It is unknown how many of them may have been trapped in their burrows by the quake and killed.

*~*~*~*

Officials of the Environmental Protection Agency made critical changes at the 11th hour in a five year study of the effect of hydraulic fracturing on the nation's drinking water. The changes, which have been criticized by scientists as lacking evidence, played down the risks that fracking poses to sources of drinking water.

*~*~*~*

Did you know there is a spider that lives its life underwater? It is aptly called the diving bell spider and it is a truly weird creature.

*~*~*~*

Traffic noise in urban areas can drown out the warning calls of songbirds, potentially making them more vulnerable to predators.

*~*~*~*

The Ivory Gull is an already threatened seabird that depends on thick sea ice for breeding. As the Arctic sea ice continues to thin out, the bird's chance for long-term survival is decreased.

*~*~*~*

A Western Tanager, usually not seen east of Colorado, has been visiting Manhattan this fall. It is the first of its species seen in the area since 2008 and it fits the pattern of western birds straying into the East during migration. 

*~*~*~*

Global climate change is not an isolated problem. It affects many areas of concern including national security. Already some places in the world have experienced conflicts and wars because of the effects of climate change. This could well be a glimpse of our future, as our nation continues to refuse to take effective action to address the problem. 

*~*~*~*

Secret pools lined with concrete established in the Oregon desert half a century ago are magnets for all kinds of thirsty wildlife and they are helping to keep birds and other wildlife alive.

*~*~*~*

Scientists have discovered fossils of the first known ground beetle to have inhabited Antarctica. It is believed that the insect once inhabited the tundra area which existed on the continent. The insect fauna on Antarctica today consists of only three flightless midges.

*~*~*~*

The Connecticut Audubon Society's State of the Birds report warns that Saltmarsh Sparrows are threatened by extinction due to sea level rises caused by global warming. Other birds that live in the same habitat are threatened also. 

*~*~*~*

The woodpeckers called sapsuckers seem to have an innate ability to determine which plants will yield the most sap

*~*~*~*

The Gulf Coast mostly lucked out once again during this hurricane season, but the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season featured the largest number of hurricanes observed since 2012 and the first category 5 hurricane since 2007.

4 comments:

  1. So many bad news due to climate change...! :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is depressing. Even more so because it's only likely to get worse in the foreseeable future.

      Delete
  2. Thank you once again for summarizing this news for us.

    ReplyDelete