Saturday, May 27, 2017

This week in birds - #258

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


American Robins are introducing their chicks to new neighborhood. This one was keeping an eye on a couple of fledglings that were trying out their wings.

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Energy Transfer Partners, the oil company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, is facing intense scrutiny from regulators and activists over a number of pipeline leaks around the country, including a spill in Ohio that is now believed to be significantly bigger than originally reported.

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The Endangered Species Act continues to be under threat of being repealed or revised beyond all recognition, but here is more proof that such laws do work: a list of ten birds from around the world that have been saved due to conservation efforts. One of them is our very own Kirtland's Warbler.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an active hurricane season in the Atlantic with 11 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine are expected to become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes.

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Millions of birds die every year after collisions with glass in buildings, especially high-rise buildings. Now, in the New Jersey state legislature, a bill has been introduced to require large scale building projects to use bird-safe glass, which is a thing that actually exists! Let us hope that this starts a trend. 

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Meanwhile, in the United States House of Representatives, the "people's representatives" have voted to to eliminate the provision of the Clean Water Act that requires that a permit be obtained before pesticides can be sprayed directly into streams, lakes, rivers, and drinking water supplies. 

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Satellites that allow scientists to monitor ice formations in the Arctic are reaching the end of their effective lives, and, under the budget proposals of the current administration, they will not be replaced, leaving those scientists essentially blind.

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The Hermit Thrush has a famously melodic song, but its song can vary quite a bit from one geographical region to another. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances provides the first thorough overview of geographic variation in the bird's song structure and hints at how isolation and adaptation shape differences in the tunes of a learned song within a species.

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The bluefin tuna is one of the world's most popular fishes for human consumption, but the National Marine Fisheries Service has recently found that there is sufficient evidence to conduct a full review to see if the Pacific bluefin tuna should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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The brightness and richness of the color on an individual bird's unfeathered parts - mostly beaks and legs - are a good, if under-appreciated, indicator of that bird's fitness and potential for reproductive success.

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A soon-to-be published legal analysis from the University of California, Los Angeles, concludes that presidents have no authority to mess with monuments established by a predecessor. Changing such a designation would require an Act of Congress. This comes as the current administration is reviewing several such designations by the Obama Administration with an eye to repealing or revising them.

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Studying lichens is one way that scientists track air pollution in forests. Now, a new database from the U.S. Forest Service will gather existing lichen information into a centralized tool that scientists will be able to use to study lichen biodiversity, air quality, pollution, and forest health. 

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Many birds that hatch in Europe spend their winters in Africa and where individual birds land in Africa for the winters depends a lot on the winds that are blowing at the time of their first migration. The wind can blow young migrant birds to all corners of the continent.

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"Awkward Botany" tells the tale of purple loosestrife; how the plant was introduced to North America and how it has spread and become invasive and a major nuisance plant in many areas.

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Lead is toxic to the neurological systems of animals that ingest it. Twenty million birds and other animals die annually from ingesting lead from bullets left behind by hunters. In March, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke overturned an Obama Administration ban on using lead ammunition or fishing tackle on federal lands.

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new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

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I wish all my readers a happy Memorial Day weekend. Never forget the meaning of the day.





7 comments:

  1. There are alarming news such as the high rate at which the oceans are rising.

    Happy Memorial Day, Dorothy!

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    1. We live a couple of hours away from the Gulf. At this rate, we'll have beachfront property in a few years.

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    2. The good news is that you won't have to pay extra for having a beachfront property. :-D

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  2. Thanks again for the news. It is good to learn about scientists working away to track data and work for the good of the natural world. Scientists last longer than presidents!

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  3. The thing that jumped out at me from your post today was the piece about the bird-safe glass. I certainly hope it will catch on and eventually all buildings will have it!

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