The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health


By Alanna Mitchell


Birds are the planet’s superheroes, built for survival.

The ice of Antarctica doesn’t faze them. Nor does the heat of the tropics. They thrive in the desert, in swamps, on the open ocean, on sheer rock faces, on treeless tundra, atop airless mountaintops, and burrowed into barren soil.

Some fly nonstop for days on end. With just the feathers on their backs, they crisscross the hemisphere, dodging hurricanes and predators along the way, arriving unerringly at a precise spot, year after year.

They have penetrated nearly every ecosystem on Earth and then tailored their own size, habits, and colors to each one, pollinating, dispersing seeds, controlling bugs, cleaning up carrion, and fertilizing plants.

But for all their superhero powers, birds are in trouble.


  1. @OP link – The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health

    Climate change and chemicals like pesticides are driving the crisis.

    . . .. . .and it looks as if it isn’t going to get any better!

    Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984

    A surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013, according to new figures.

    Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984.

    The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that it highlights the need for a global climate treaty.

    But the UK’s energy secretary Ed Davey said that any such agreement might not contain legally binding emissions cuts, as has been previously envisaged.

    The WMO’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin doesn’t measure emissions from power station smokestacks but instead records how much of the warming gases remain in the atmosphere after the complex interactions that take place between the air, the land and the oceans.

    About half of all emissions are taken up by the seas, trees and living things.

    According to the bulletin, the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year.

    “The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO.

    “We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board,” he said.

    “We are running out of time.”

    Atmospheric CO2 is now at 142% of the levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution.

  2. @OP link – Kestrels exposed in laboratories to PFCs have fewer chicks, smaller eggs, and some behavior issues, such as bad parenting skills and more aggression in males. It all adds up to a load of dozens of chemicals, many with consequences still unknown.

    In Sweden, for example, ornithologists are racing to figure out why white-tailed sea eagles on the coast of the Baltic Sea, devastated by DDT and PCBs in the 1970s, are again experiencing thin shells and deformed embryos, said Cynthia de Wit, a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University who specializes in human and wildlife exposure to synthetic chemicals. “It’s very alarming; we really don’t know why,” she said.

    Scientists also are closely examining the effects of heavy metals such as mercury and lead.

    We are still suffering the consequences of earlier industrial pollution and unregulated agricultural experimentation with pesticides”!

    Many of the lessons from the reckless rush to increase production, have still not been learned!

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