Friday, May 22, 2020

This week in birds - #401

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


A Common Nighthawk perches on a barbed wire fence in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast. This picture was taken during spring migration a few years ago, but this year's flight of nighthawks has now reached my area. I've heard them in the skies over my yard on several occasions in the late afternoon this week. Flying insects, beware!

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Dam failures in Michigan this week caused a deluge that flooded a Dow Chemical plant and made the release of toxic chemicals into the environment a possibility, although the company put out a statement saying that the flooding had been kept under control and mixed with water in their containment ponds. They stated there was no danger to the public.

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Climate change is making another Dust Bowl such as occurred in the 1930s more likely to occur again. They could become a regular feature every twenty years or so.


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In Maine, there was a recorded instance of a Common Loon killing a Bald Eagle by stabbing it in the heart with its beak. The eagle was threatening the loon's chicks. Hell hath no fury like a nesting bird protecting its chicks.


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Whale watching has long been a thing among conservationists but there is at least one place where whales turn the tables and become people watchers. The belugas of Manitoba seem to enjoy observing those crazy humans!


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Noted bird field guide author David Sibley has seven tips for watching birds during the lockdown.


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The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change.


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There is a shortage of horseshoe crab eggs for migrating shorebirds on New Jersey's Delaware Bayshore. This is problematic most especially for the endangered Red Knot.


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Praying mantises are active hunters that can calibrate their attacks to more efficiently capture prey that flies by at different speeds.


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joint relocation effort by wildlife biologists in Colorado and Kansas has been successful in establishing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken in a grassland area along the border of the two states.


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The extremely rare blue calamintha bee has been found in Florida this spring for the first time in many years. It had been presumed extinct.


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A new study identifies the ten most worthy areas in the ocean that need protection in order to ensure biodiversity.

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Need something to read this summer? Here's a list of 18 new environmental books covering everything from fungi and butterflies to elephants.

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New research confirms what climate models have shown, namely that climate change is making hurricanes stronger

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Sea turtles can get sneaky in an attempt to protect their nests from predators. They make decoy nests to distract the predators away from the real nest.

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While the human population of Earth deals with the coronavirus pandemic, another virus is decimating rabbit populations. It is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 and it does not affect humans or other animals, but is deadly for rabbits, hares, and perhaps for pikas, another rabbit-like animal.

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With automobile traffic down, thanks to the pandemic, the roads have become safer for migrating salamanders

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A new study shows that monitor lizards, which have been thought to be invasive species on some Pacific islands, have actually been there much longer than humans.

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Worldwide lockdowns have triggered a dramatic fall in greenhouse gas emissions, down 17% by early April compared to 2019 records, but once things start opening up, much of that progress will be negated. 

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A plan by the administration to open up Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging has received strong pushback from the public. Ninety-six percent of comments favor maintaining protections.








13 comments:

  1. Hooray! Yippee! Bravo! The Saturday round up is back. The account of the loon killing the Bald Eagles is amazing! As for those Dow Chemical containment ponds, I have a good deal of skepticism as to how much truth we are getting from the company, and you wonder how many more such calamities are waiting to happen. The environmental woes in Michigan never seem to end.

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    1. I think our skepticism about Dow's statement is well-earned.

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  2. Now I have a stored mental picture for the Night Hawk. I often read about them in books. I don't trust Dow Chemical one inch!

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    1. Nighthawks and their relatives are very cryptically-colored. When they are on the ground, where they nest, they practically disappear.

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  3. How funny that the whales began watching the humans. What a funny story.

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    1. Yes, who would have thought we were that interesting?

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    2. Certainly not me, compared to our fellow mammals we are downright boring!

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  4. Those bird watching tips look to be useful. Thanks for the link.

    The link to the environmental books was also interesting. I love book lists of all types. I would like to read most of those books.

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    1. I was interested in several of those books myself. I haven't read any nonfiction in a while; maybe it's time to add some to my TBR list.

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  5. I have a relative in Midland, Michigan so the dam failures there were scary. It's quite an epic disaster. Luckily no one was killed from what I understand.

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    1. Yes, thank goodness there have been no fatalities, although many people had to be evacuated. Certainly not what Michigan needed on top of the pandemic concerns.

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  6. Dorothy, I have to tell you this picture freaked me out a bit as the night before last had a dream of a baby bird that looked like this one dying on my doorstep. It was very strange.

    WOW, that a surprising tidbit about the loon and the eagle. Interesting post with so much good info.

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    1. In view of your dream, I can see why the picture would have freaked you out.

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