Friday, December 27, 2019

This week in birds - #383

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


I haven't actually seen a Cedar Waxwing in my neighborhood yet this season. This picture is from a previous year. No doubt they are in the area even though I haven't seen them. They normally arrive around Christmastime or a little earlier some years. I expect to encounter them any day now.  

*~*~*~*

The New York City Council has implemented a landmark decision requiring high rise buildings in the city to employ bird-friendly construction using glass that will deter the birds from flying into it. The city joins cities like San Francisco and Oakland that already have such regulations in effect. It is hoped that others will follow suit.

*~*~*~*

There were at least 540 oil spills in Louisiana related to damage from Hurricane Katrina and so far the oil companies responsible have largely evaded accountability for the damage and cleanup.

*~*~*~*

A new poll by the Environmental Voter Project found that the climate and environment are the top priorities of 14% of registered voters. This represents a more than doubling of rating these concerns as number one. In the 2016 presidential election, these were the top priorities of 2% to 6% of voters. 

*~*~*~*

The endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow population has received a big boost with the release of 100 captive-reared sparrows into their natural environment.

*~*~*~*

A search in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit has found that at least some of the endangered Bahama Parrots survived. The searchers also so found Bahama Mockingbirds, Smooth-billed Anis, Bahama Woodstars, and shorebirds, including Piping Plovers, among other expected species.

*~*~*~*

As coyotes continue to expand their range, they are expected to move into South America.

*~*~*~*

Can Island Scrub-Jays in California help to replant forests after recent fires? A research project there is studying the feasibility of such an undertaking.

*~*~*~*


Microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers. The health impacts of breathing or consuming the tiny plastic particles are unknown, and experts say urgent study is needed to assess the risks. Research has revealed that London has the highest levels yet recorded. 
*~*~*~*
Despite all efforts to protect them, a record number of manatees, a total of 129, were killed by boaters in Florida in 2019. This was four more than the previous record set in 2018.
*~*~*~*
Efforts to restore wetland habitats in Uganda are succeeding and that is good news for the country's national bird, the Gray-crowned Crane (also known as the Crested Crane). Moreover, local communities are being involved in efforts to protect and encourage the crane population with the result that the numbers which had fallen sharply now seem to have stabilized.
*~*~*~*
The brutal heat wave that has Australia in its grip is having a devastating effect on the wildlife there and also on domestic livestock.
*~*~*~*
The Chinese Crested Tern was long thought to be extinct, but in fact, it does still exist in the wild. However, it is critically endangered and little is known about its migratory habits. Researchers are tracking the birds by satellite in order to try to learn more about them and be able to better protect them. 
*~*~*~*
The delta smelt is a tiny fish that hovers on the brink of extinction. Now the loosening of regulations that protect it, as proposed by the current administration in Washington, may finally push it over that brink.
*~*~*~*
Western Ground Parrot
A wildfire in Western Australia threatened the last refuge of the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot but the prevailing weather has helped to spare it so far.
*~*~*~*
Finally, it is easy to become depressed by all the bad news about the state of the environment, but let us never forget the dedicated scientists, conservationists, and ordinary citizens who work tirelessly to stem the tide of destruction and extinction. And they have their successes! Here are ten success stories that are worth celebrating as we bid this year farewell.
One of those success stories is the beautiful little Kirtland's Warbler that was one of the first species to be added to the Endangered Species List. This year scientists deemed its population sufficiently recovered to be removed from the list. It is no longer endangered!


8 comments:

  1. That Cedar Waxwing is a very impressive looking bird. They are apparently native to my home on Long Island so I will be on the lookout for them.

    It is always welcome news when a species is removed from the endangered species list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are lucky enough to have waxwings year-round where you live. We only get to see them in winter, but they do stay with us for a good long time, often lingering into April.

      Delete
  2. The Kirtland's Warbler is known to spend its time in The Bahamas after leaving its breeding grounds in Michigan, yet there is little information (at least that I have seen) as to how it is faring there after the recent devastation on the islands. It may be necessary to restore it to the Endangered Species List.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know there is a survey planned of birds in The Bahamas to assess the status of various species, but I don't think it has been completed yet. At least, the Kirtland's likely had not made it to the islands when the storm came. That would have been devastating.

      Delete
  3. The Kirtland's Warbler is not only a true surviver but it's so freaking cute! I want one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gorgeous birds! It's sad what we are doing to the earth but I'm glad that there are still critters to see :)


    My Corner of the World

    ReplyDelete