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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Bird Banding at SpruceHaven and Plastics

08 September 2019

     Just Kevin and I met to do a little bird banding and as is my normal practice I am showing below pictures of birds we have not previously trapped this fall.
     Our very first bird in the nets was a Veery (Catharus fuscescens), perhaps the most beautiful of all the Catharus thrushes, although I confess that this assessment is entirely subjective. The photograph does not do the bird justice.


     It should be noted, with a good measure of consternation, despair and disgust that these birds, along with other species covered in this post, are winging their way southwards to spend the northern winter in Amazonia, which is burning, entirely due to political ignorance, indifference and human greed at its worst, and the willingness of the voters of many countries to elect right wing ideologues who dismiss climate change.
     What will happen to these migratory species when they arrive at their wintering grounds? Where will they go? What will they feed on?
     All of these questions remain to be answered, but it is clear that they are going to be in serious trouble and many will not return next year.
     Our warblers are now embarking on the hazardous business of migration, this Tennessee Warbler (Leiothlypis peregrina) being among them.



     The state of Tennessee seemed to feature prominently this morning with the capture of this Nashville Warbler ( Leithlypis ruficapilla) also.




     The third warbler captured was a female Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens).



     These tiny gems, these little jewels that brighten our lives every year, were already in substantial jeopardy due to habitat loss and numerous other factors. The widespread conflagration in Amazonia will only exacerbate already precarious conditions and at some point they will cease to survive.

All species banded 08 September: Grey Catbird (3), Veery (1), Song Sparrow (7), Tennessee Warbler (1), Nashville Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (1), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1). Total: 15 individuals of 7 species.

Plastics

     Please click on the link below.


     If this does not shock you then I think you have pretty much lost the capacity to be shocked. The scope of this problem is enormous and our environment, both on land and in the oceans is being affected by plastic pollution.
     Yet you can do something about it. Easily. Tomorrow. You can't solve the problem entirely, and you can't remove plastic from your life entirely, but there is a great deal that you can do; indeed you must do.
     You can refuse to use, ever, under any circumstances a plastic water bottle. It is very easy to fill your own bottle. You can refuse to eat at restaurants that use disposable plastic cups and lids, plastic straws, styrofoam plates and the like. Please tell the owner of the restaurant why you are doing this and you will see that changes will start to take place. When you go to a takeout coffee chain insist that they fill your reusable cup and decline their plastic lined paper cups and lids.
     Take your own cloth bag to the grocery store and use it instead of plastic bags. There is no need to put a tomato in one plastic nag, an avocado in another, an onion in another, and so on. Take your own bread bags to the bakery and refuse their bags.
     You can start on all of this right away and you can set an example for your friends and family. The time for excuses and rationalization is past.
     If you are unwilling to do this you have effectively signed a pledge that you do not care one iota for the health of the planet, the state of the environment, the future of your children and grandchildren. You have made the declaration that you are a willing contributor to the tide of pollution entering our oceans and clogging our landfills (and some of these materials leach toxic substances and will be around for 500 years). The decision is up to you.
     But this issue threatens the very future of life on the planet and the quality of our food. I hope that you will be on the right side of history.

51 comments:

  1. Sigh.
    I do hope that the birds which winter in the Amazon find both safety and sustenance. But I fear for them. As I do the long-term residents. I am so often ashamed of the bulk of our species. And yes, I am working on minimising our plastic use, and have never and will never, buy plastic water bottles. Our local government banned single use plastic bags a long time ago, which suits me just fine.

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  2. Lovely photos of sweet birds!
    The plastic thing is the easy one - most people already act according to the suggestions in your post. It is the pollution caused by engines and heavy industry that bother us and fill us with despair.

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    1. I am unfamiliar with the situation in Israel, Duta, but I can assure you that in many parts of the world people have not even begun to tackle the plastics issue and multinational corporations have plans to build new petrochemical plants in Asia to produce more plastic.

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  3. Hello David,

    As always very beautiful photos.
    I do what I can to not use plasticbags. In my groserystore I use bags in canvas. The plastic is a huge problem that we must solve now. Thank you for reminding us about it.

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  4. A beautiful and appreciated activity.

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  5. Hi David.

    Terrible when the birds arrive and the area is no longer there.

    The plastic is really a big problem.
    The people destroying nature.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  6. Hi David - wonderful work you and Kevin managed ... but definitely horrible to think of these creatures going south to the Amazon - where fire and poison exist. I'll look at the plastic link - it is just foul and so desperate for so much of our life on earth and in the oceans.

    You asked about silver birds ... and there was this exquisite one in the article that appeared to promote the HammerClub exhibition in Dundee:

    http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2019/05/28/first-uk-visit-for-hammerclub-will-reconnect-dundee-with-silver-heritage/

    I wanted to email the link to you ... but couldn't find that out ... so forgive this - and delete if you want to ...

    All the best - and yes I do and will be eliminating plastic and all things related as best I can ... It's not an easy time to be on our wonderful planet. Hilary

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  7. Thanks for the link, Hilary. My email address is theospreynest@sympatico.ca if ever you need to contact me directly.

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  8. Estoy de acuerdo con todo lo que has dicho amigo David, debemos ser conscientes del grave problema que tiene este planeta y pensar en nuestros hijos y nietos. Como dice esa bella frase “LA TIERRA NO ES UNA HERENCIA DE NUESTROS PADRES, SINO UN PRÉSTAMO DE NUESTROS HIJOS” ¿Que será de esos bellos pajarillos con destino a la Amazonia? Es muy triste pensar como estamos actuando con la casa de todos. Hace mucha falta Cultura, Cultura y más Cultura…
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo, compadre y buen profesor David.

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  9. Hello, I feel sorry for the birds and wildlife in the Amazon. Where will they go, I hope they are safe? Your Veery and Warblers are beautiful. Great series of photos. Yes, we can all do our part to remove plastics from our lives. Enjoy your day and week ahead!

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  10. I fear for the future of our planet with the rampant disregard so many people seem to have.

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  11. Hello David, I do hope the birds will still find a place in the Amazone that is not on fire and are able to come back next year. That is the only thing we can do, have hope. Then the plastic botles, it is indeed a shame and I do all the possible to use less and less plastic. Last week we set at a restaurant and I orderd a drink and they gave it with a paper straw not a plastic one. I gave them a compliment that they do not serve it with plastic. Luckely in Europe restaurants do serve on porcelain plates. The only ones that do serve in plastic is "Mac Donalds, and restaurant like that. And drinks from Starbuck. I never go there!! I do not like their 'food' nor their drinks.
    Take care,
    Roos

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  12. Hi David,
    Plastics belong to the most serious problems of our times. Fortunately people are getting slowly but surely aware of this problem, unfortunately still many of us don't realize the size of this kind of pollution. Fires and drought are two more problems, threatening people, but also flora and fauna. It is hard to be optimistic about the future of our planet. Let's hope that awareness comes in time in order to save as much as possible.
    Greetings, Kees

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  13. Lovely pictures but truly one cringes when one thinks about what these creatures may be flying into this fall.

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    1. For some species it is almost certainly no habitat and starvation. For those that are able to find remnant habitat they will be competing with resident species that have been displaced for scarce resources. And all of this is anthropogenic. It is so sad.

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  14. I feel the same way David...it is so scary to think that the birds have no home to go home to when they go to their winter grounds...I take all my plastics the ones I end up with to recycle, the ones that quality for recycling that is. We have tried all these yrs to go at it from the rear end..now we need to go at it from the front end..and tell these corporations we will NO longer accept their products being in this type packaging!

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  15. It doesn’t seem possible that these delicate little migrants could possibly make the long trip ahead of them, and then to think what will greet them when they get there.

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  16. So sad to reflect on what those warblers will be faced with when they arrive at their winter quarters, David.

    Lindsay and I are trying to do our best to cut plastics out of our lives. However, looking at all the junk that gets discarded by the roadside (for example) there is clearly a huge number of people out there that just don't give a damn. Add to the the vested interests of big business and politicians and I find myself in serious despair for the future. In UK it seems that the only thing of any concern to anyone in government is the total fiasco of Brexit. They should be concentrating their efforts on saving the planet through development of ecological solutions and legal requirements.

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    1. I agree, Richard, it is an uphill struggle and can be discouraging. But I think we have to keep trying.

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  17. What a treat for me to see these sweet birds up close!
    Appalling to think of the burning habitat and can only hope nature will somehow in some way compensate.
    I wonder will all this concern affect our election results this time round.

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    1. I certainly hope that concern for the environment is high on every candidate's agenda.

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  18. David - thank you, thank you, thank you for the link to this article. I plan to send it on - we all must do our part; even a little will help if we all do it! And I enjoyed the pictures of the birds, despite swallowing hard when thinking about where they are headed.

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    1. A little is better than nothing, Angie, but a bit of a shift in lifestyle would be much better. And I can tell you from personal experience that it is not difficult to effect some fairly significant changes. We have had success locally for example in convincing restaurants to abandon disposable items. Successes as small as having them put salad dressing in a small ceramic bowl rather than in a plastic one, discontinuing the use of plastic straws and routinely asking their customers whether they need a straw at all.. It can be done if you have the will to do it. Otherwise you are complicit in dumping more junk into the oceans and into the landfills. That is the simple truth of the matter.

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  19. Hi David,
    I enjoyed your photos of these cute birds and appreciate the work you do with your buddies. But on the other hand your post made me very sad - because burning rain forests in Brazil and the plastic issue. I don't have now the link at hand, but online you can find also videos on this absurd matter - created by man.

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  20. Hoping against hope that the cute little birds find an alternative habitat to survive the winter!

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  21. Nu är det allvar, jag klarar inte av att tänka långa stunder på vad som händer i Amazonas, jag landar alltid i förfärliga bilder av brinnande djur. Här är debatten om brinnande regnskog inte särskilt intensiv. Klimatförnekarna känner morgonluft och tar snabbt kommandot med sina hånfulla och nedvärderande inlägg. Kunskapen hos allmänheten om vad brinnande Amazonas egentligen innebär är dessvärre inte särskilt hög, jag kan garantera att inte många har ens tänkt tanken om var flyttfåglarna skall hitta vinterbostad. Kunskap om natur, om alla komplicerade samband är numera en bristvara hos gemene man.

    Ett bra inlägg om plast, där kan vi alla göra en meningsfull insats.

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  22. Ringing birds is a job, but, at least the amount there is.

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  23. My only hope is that these birds find a beautiful resting spot somewhere else this year. I don't know how that works; the homing instinct is strong. But oh, it breaks my heart.

    And your words and advice on plastics are excellent. Some things are just easy enough.

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  24. The birds are beautiful and need to be protected. Plastic is such an enormous problem, and still nearly everything here is packed in it. I unpack my stuff at the supermarket and leave the rubbish in the plastic and paper containers there. Where do we go when the world has been poisoned, choked and ruined? Valerie

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    1. Good for you, Valerie. The packaging has already been used unfortunately, but at least you are letting them know of your displeasure. And yes, we have nowhere else to go. This earth is so beautiful yet we despoil it more every day.

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  25. Love the close up photos.
    All plastic is being recycled in France now though of course there are some people to lazy to put it in a yellow bag for collection! We buy almost nothing in plastic anymore but sometimes it is impossible!! No plastic bags at the supermarkets here, paper which can be recycled is used, Sorry not visiting much. Just a very, very busy time for us.
    Cheers Diane

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    1. I know that France has a forward-looking and aggressive plan for recycling plastic, but this only (at best) deals with that which is submitted for recycling. Some types of plastic are not recyclable and an awful lot never makes it to the recycling stream.

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  26. Those wee birds face a harsh future and I truly hope humans can help them out, after all they created the problems.

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  27. So concerning and depressing to reflect on the environmental messes we've created. I appreciate your call to action. Sometimes it's scary to reflect on the world that my granddaughter Lilly is going to inherit.

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  28. Siento mucha tristeza por todos los pájaros que tienen que volar hacia el fuego. Yo uso menos plasticos e intento no usar más. Un abrazo David.

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  29. Hi David,
    Some wonderful images of the banded birds, we are ringing our young Barn Owls tomorrow so we will find out as to how many we have got in total, they are all over the place when I have the cameras on.
    What a mess we are making of this beautiful world we were given to look after, why are we where ever you go dumping plastic, today I visited Eyebrook reservoir and someone had dumped in excess of twenty oil drums in the ditch, something else the council will have to clean up.
    All the best,
    John

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  30. Lovely images of the tiny birds. I too agree on plastics and do my best to avoid them. Luckily plastic shopping bags have been banned in supermarkets and we have to use cloth bags, which I had been doing for years before the ban. I still have a lot of plastic tupperware containers in my pantry but have been swapping for glass jars.

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    1. It's not the Tupperware containers that are the huge issue, Sami it is all the throwaway stuff, especially plastic water bottles. Sounds like you are doing your bit.

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  31. We cannot even make drinkable water out of the sea, as it is full of micro particles of plastic.

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  32. ohh I love those birds!!Her in norway they all have emigrated south..Now we only have those winther birds like we always have..Really nice to read and look at your photoes from Australia!!I have always wanted to go there..Read soo much nice about your country!!
    Ok here winther storms are coming and the rest of Dorian is here right now,,See you later and have a wonderful weekend:))))Pss love your header!!

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  33. Hi David.
    Hello David.
    Every time you ring birds, I discover new species.

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  34. We are with my husband beekeepers and I am curious to know what the black plastic rounds under each frame are for?

    Rhodesie says that in France all plastics are recycled, that's not true! Maybe she lives near a big city but in the country, near my house, they still make huge holes in the forest to bury all the plastic waste! All of southwestern France is emptying its waste into the forest behind my home. Recycling is private in France, where it costs money, we fill holes and build mountains.
    Your outings are always very interesting.
    See you soon.

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    1. Oh, sorry. My comment on beekeeping was for the last article on your blog!

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    2. Here is the response of Fraser Gibson, the fellow in the picture.
      I assume the black plastic rounds they speak of are the circles at the bottom of each plastic frame. When the frames are full of honey, the circular plugs are removed. A short pipe is instead into each one and the honey can then flow into a pail so no mechanical extraction is needed. The hives are called Flow Hives and can likely be searched on the web.
      Hope this helps.

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  35. Hi David, I have found the small changes are easy, reusable bags and straws, I bring mesh bags for produce to the store now. Also Beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap and cloth snack bags for my sons lunch. I wish more people made an effort.

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  36. Muy muy interesante David, es curioso ver las aves con esa tranquilidad, vuestras manos son mágicas. Un fuerte abrazo.

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