Friday, December 04, 2020

Loose Feathers #778

Evening Grosbeak / Photo by Keith Ramos/USFWS

Birds and birding news

  • The new European Breeding Bird Atlas shows that European breeding birds have moved north by an average 28km since the 1980s. Forest birds have generally expanded their ranges while the ranges of farmland birds contracted.
  • An ecologist argues that making cities more bird-friendly would also make them better for people, as long as there is equal access to nature.
  • Birds are able to adjust their egg-laying date to find optimal conditions to raise chicks.
  • USFWS finally listed Black Rails as a threatened species, but they are already gone from much of their range on the East Coast.
  • Wisdom, the 60-year-old Laysan Albatross, returned for another breeding season at Midway. The refuge is home to 70% of the world's Laysan Albatrosses and 40% of Black-footed Albatrosses.
  • Flightless birds are more vulnerable to extinction but also more common than expected.

Science and nature blogging

Biodiversity and conservation

Climate change and environmental politics

  • Climate change is already affecting human health through heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and flooding. The pandemic has made it harder to ameliorate climate change because of it makes warming and cooling shelters more hazardous.
  • Addressing climate change will require work from every federal agency.
  • The Trump administration is trying to push through sales of oil and gas leases in Arctic NWR in early January before the Biden administration takes over. You can write in opposition to the proposal; comments must be received by mail by December 17.
  • It is also rushing through other approvals, like one for a flood control project the EPA vetoed in 2008.
  • The incoming Biden administration will need to decide what to do with the parts of the border wall that are currently in progress. The contracts have a termination clause that allows the government to stop construction.
  • Here is a proposed environmental agenda for the Biden administration.
  • Drone imagery is showing how the Arctic is greening in response to climate change.
  • Northeastern forests like the New Jersey Pinelands may become more vulnerable to wildfire as temperatures rise.
  • Winters in the DC area have become warmer and shorter, with fewer days below freezing.