Friday, August 23, 2019

Loose Feathers #711

Barred Owl (my photo)
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiviersity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • The big environmental story this week has been the burning of the Amazon, where fires have increased by 85% since the beginning of the year. Brazil's president blames NGOs, but most likely the fires are part of a deliberate strategy of deforestation. The extent of the fires can be seen in satellite imagery
  • The Democratic National Committee voted down a proposal for a debate focused on climate change despite pressure from activists. 
  • Parts of the border wall extension will cross floodplains and put people in danger from flooding on both sides of the Rio Grande.
  • The regulatory changes regarding enforcement of the Endangered Species Act could affect conservation in Canada as well, especially as some provincial governments are making similar changes.
  • Washington, DC, is about 5% more humid than in 1970 and 10% more humid than in 1950. The reason seems to be climate change, since warmer air can hold more moisture.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Loose Feathers #710

Canada Goose / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • The Interior Department changed the regulations governing how it implements the Endangered Species Act, by raising the bar for listing, adding economic criteria, and weakening protections for threatened species. Here is an evaluation of how the rule changes could affect the Northern Spotted Owl, the Wolverine, and the American Burying Beetle. Another species that could be affected is the Monarch, since the department will no longer consider climate change in whether to list a species. The changes were written by opponents of the Endangered Species Act and appear to cater to business interests.
  • After making those regulatory changes, the administration denied endangered listing for several species, including Joshua Trees, which are threatened by climate change,
  • The Northeast is among the fastest-warming parts of the U.S., with Rhode Island already past the 2°C mark and New Jersey not far behind. Parts of New Jersey have already warmed as much as 2.7°C, which contributes to the closure of Lake Hopatcong and a longer mosquito season.
  • The Adani mine in Australia (which directly threatens an endangered bird) is an example of how capitalists keep the world stuck on coal despite the threat it poses to the climate and public health.
  • The Anthropocene may be better seen as an event than an epoch considering how brief it will likely be on a geological timescale. 
  • Mitigating climate change will require changes in land use, with more protection for natural habitats and sustainable agriculture.
  • A study found microplastics in the snow in isolated places like the Alps and Svalbard, which is a sign of how much plastic is present in the air we breathe. The most common sources of microplastic in that study were varnish and rubber.
  • The Bolsonaro administration approved 290 pesticides for use in Brazil. This mirrors the Trump administration's willingness to reinstate pesticides that been banned under previous administrations.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Loose Feathers #709

Killdeer / Photo by Grayson Smith/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, August 02, 2019

Loose Feathers #708

Wild Turkey / Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, July 26, 2019

Loose Feathers #707

Greater Sage-Grouse / Photo by Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
  • Some of the actions people take to help Monarchs are actually counterproductive. The best things one can do are to plant locally-adapted milkweeds and reduce the use of pesticides.
  • A military base in Pennsylvania is home to a remnant population of Regal Fritillaries.
  • Some tree stumps keep living after a tree falls with help from neighboring trees.
  • Tick saliva has properties that benefit both the tick and the diseases it carries. It makes tick bites hard to detect and neutralizes the body's immune response.
  • The reproductive cycle of certain poison frogs requires more complex mental mapping of their environment than expected.
  • Environmental DNA provides a way to detect species that might be otherwise missed in freshwater wetlands. 
  • A rare primate may have gone extinct in Côte d’Ivoire since it has not been seen in four decades. It belongs to the red colobus group, most of which are highly endangered.
  • Since the closing of Fresh Kills Landfill, its grounds have been reclaimed by nature.
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, July 19, 2019

Loose Feathers #706

Yellow-headed Blackbird / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, July 12, 2019

Loose Feathers #705

Tree Swallow / my photo
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • While the DNC still has not approved an official climate debate for the 2020 election cycle, a group of journalists and environmental groups will host a climate summit in September.
  • One way that climate change is changing hurricanes, like the one due to hit Louisiana this weekend, is by making them wetter.
  • Restoring forests could absorb a significant amount of carbon, but scientists disagree on how large the benefit would be. 
  • A company that planned to do aerial surveys of Arctic NWR now says it will not do them. The Interior Department is still determined to sell drilling leases in the refuge.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Loose Feathers #704

Canada Geese / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, June 28, 2019

Loose Feathers #703

Western Tanager / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, June 21, 2019

Loose Feathers #702

Wilson's Phalarope / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Conservation and biodiversity
Climate change and environmental politics