Friday, December 13, 2019

This week in birds - #382

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

Anhinga photographed at Brazos Bend State Park. These birds look prehistoric to me. It's very easy for me to see birds' relationship to the dinosaurs when I look at them. 

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The Arctic is melting and that is very bad news for all of us. It is the source of several serious problems to the atmosphere including an increase in carbon dioxide.

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Also, the heating is causing the melting of Greenland's ice sheet, which has accelerated so fast since the 1990s that it is now shedding more than seven times as much ice each year sending global sea levels higher and higher.

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Another problem for the atmosphere and worsening global warming is the immense amount of methane that is escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide. Meanwhile, the current administration is weakening restrictions on offenders. 

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It seems that orcas are like humans in that the lives of young orcas are enhanced by relationships with their grandmothers. A study found that grandmother orcas improve their grandcalves' chances for survival. 

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A group of international researchers has sequenced the genome of the Carolina Parakeet and has come to the conclusion that the only parrot native to the continental United States was driven to extinction by human activities.

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The 120th Christmas Bird Count begins today and runs through January 5, a chance for you to join in the world's longest-running wildlife census. Also, two other citizen science projects deserve your attention and participation: Project FeederWatch is a winter-long project that begins in November and runs through early April and the Great Backyard Bird Count takes place over a four day weekend in February, February 14 through 17 in 2020. You can sign up for both now. 

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To help combat climate change, it is important to not just plant trees but to restore habitats of forests

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Twenty-four individual states have pledged themselves to keep America's commitments to combating climate change even though the federal government has broken them. They have mixed results but they are having an impact. 

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The Guam Rail's status has been changed from extinct in the wild to critically endangered after nine captive-raised birds were released on an island that had been certified clear of the brown tree snake.

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You know about the very famous cave art found in France but now archaeologists have learned that there is even older cave art by early humans, dating from 44,000 years ago, to be found in the caves of the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

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Should we be feeding the birds? Does it actually benefit them? That is a debate that has gone on for many years. It does have ecological implications but there are some best practices to keep in mind.

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The argali sheep is an endangered animal endemic to Mongolia and is considered a national treasure there. And so Donald Trump Jr went and killed one last summer. Apparently, the Mongolian government issued him a permit for the kill after the fact and after a meeting with the country's president.

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Laughing Gull nesting pairs in Virginia dropped from 55,000 in 1993 to under 20,000 in 2018. These birds are very vulnerable to sea rise since they nest in the seaside salt marshes. 

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Bushfires in Australia have released massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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The European Commission has set forth plans for a Green New Deal which would change the European economy in ways to combat climate change.

8 comments:

  1. I think that the effects of climate change are starting to be felt in serious ways and as we continue to modify the chemistry of the biosphere, I fear they will accelerate. Perhaps we have already passed the point of no return,

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  2. That is a great picture of a Anhinga.

    Thanks for the link to the bird count. I will check it out. It looks fascinating.

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    1. All three of the counts I referred to are fun and easy to participate in and they provide valuable information for scientists.

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  3. Looking forward to hearing more about the bird counts. Last week my husband was in Florida and sent me a picture of a big black bird that also looked prehistoric.

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  4. A lot of bad news: with lots of methane & Co2 going into the air. Sigh. Another reason we can't handle this Administration for another 4 years.

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