Friday, January 08, 2021

Loose Feathers #783

Ferruginous Hawk / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS

Birds and birding news

  • The Trump administration finalized its rule to allow fossil fuel companies and others to kill migratory birds without fines or prosecution. If this rule had been in place in 2010, there would have been no penalty for the birds killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The regulatory change was made despite widespread opposition, including from within the Interior Department.
  • A Painted Bunting has been attracting attention in Maryland along the C&O Canal. Among the birders was the Swiss ambassador.
  • A Little Stint that was banded in Sweden was discovered during a Christmas Bird Count in North Carolina.
  • A study of Eurasian Eagle-Owl diets found a hidden population of bush-crickets in Bulgaria.
  • Last year there were 220 Bald Eagle nests in New Jersey that produced 307 eaglets. Thirty-six of the nests were new, and there were another 28 pairs that did not lay eggs.
  • Birders are asking Chicago to include the Piping Plover nesting site in the adjacent natural dunes area.
  • There are a number of foods better than bread for feeding ducks (and other wild birds).
  • Avian influenza is killing thousands of birds in India this winter.

Science and nature blogging

Biodiversity and conservation

Climate change and environmental politics

  • The Trump administration issued a rule banning public health studies that use anonymized data for regulating pollution. This rule change has been promoted by businesses to avoid enforcement of pollution restrictions.
  • The administration auctioned drilling leases in the Arctic NWR this week, and the main bidder was the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority because major energy corporations are having trouble financing drilling there.
  • Here are some other things the administration has been up to in its waning days.
  • The riot at the US Capitol this week reminded some of the Malheur NWR occupation, and how its participants faced few consequences. The police response was noticeably lax compared to the frequent mass arrests at social justice or environmental protests.
  • National flood insurance rules will need to be revised to address the threats of sea-level rise and flooding from climate-driven storms.
  • Climate disasters caused $95 billion in damage last year, which is the third-highest total from the past decade. 
  • There is already enough carbon in the atmosphere to raise temperatures by 2.3°C, but immediate reduction in carbon emissions could slow down the warming trend.
  • The beef industry in Brazil is not only harmful to the environment but also a human-rights problem.
  • Satellite data show the decline of Arctic sea ice.
  • Reducing plastic pollution requires holding producers accountable for the waste they create.