Nature news roundup July 30 2013

Mono Cliffs maples

  • A new study published in Nature indicates forests use water more efficiently in response to rising carbon dioxide levels. As Bryan Walsh points out in Time, nature has ways of adapting to climate change. However, the implications are difficult to discern.
  • Pollution is causing a critical decline of the iconic common loon, according to three decades of data published by Bird Studies Canada.
  • Remember that cute video of a man tickling a slow loris? Did it make you want one? Jeremy Hance on Mongabay reports that single Youtube post may be fueling an illegal, cruel trade placing all eight species of this little-known primate at risk of extinction.
  • Think twice about cashmere. Damian Carrington on Mongabay says booming trade in this luxury fibre from goats threatens habitat in the Central Asian steppes critical to wildlife such as wild yaks and snow leopards. However, a solution to this problem must address the economic needs of indigenous communities.
  • Smartphone apps that help identify bird songs pose a threat to songsters by disrupting their breeding behaviour. According to a report on Mother Nature Network, conservations ask birders and photographers to avoid using these devices to attract birds, and are considering a ban in parks.
  • A paper in Precambrian Research offers a glimpse of what some of the earliest life on land looked like 2 billion years ago.


Nature news roundup July 30 2013 — 4 Comments

  1. I remember playing bird calls and startling my mother, but yeah, common sense tells me not to mess with bird-brains by playing songs out of season. Maybe there’s something faintly analogous here to certain indigenous customs that only certain songs are sung at certain times of the year.

    In other news, I discovered that dragonflies have cold feet. A brownish one landed on my arm as I was inspecting my patch of native flowers and grasses, where insect life congregates (makes me happy they like it!). It was just a small dragonfly, possibly immature. Luckily I didn’t step on it by accident!

    • I love watching the bees and dragonflies in our vegetable garden. I’m not so keen on whatever keeps eating green tomatoes off the vines, presumably a groundhog!

      • Got any gray squirrels in your area? The local ones wait til the fruits are ripe, take one bite, and discard the tomato. Hate those things most fervently! I keep a rain barrel half full at all times, and sometimes they perch on the edge, try to drink, fall in and drown. I’ve pulled about 6 carcasses out of the rain barrel over the last few years.

        • We have grey (and black) as well as red squirrels, which are smaller but tyrannical. I don’t know whether they are responsible. That’s an inventive way of addressing the problem. As much as I dislike the rodents, I probably won’t try it. We plan to move this fall. Wherever we live next, I hope to have a garden with a fence around it.

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