News Stories

The Birds & the Bees

(No, not that kind!) In 2003, a massive heat wave struck and killed some 30,000 people in Europe in an area where heat was not considered a major threat. Similar mass die-offs occur in wild birds and some mammals during heat waves, but unlike humans, birds may not be able to take shelter or find fresh water in order to survive devastating heat. Sometimes science is RIGHT, and if birds could talk, what would they tell us about the changing climate?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the average temperature of the planet will rise between 3.5 and 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next hundred years. This may not seem like much to the average person, but these changes could be disastrous for birds and some mammals because of the increased intensity and frequency of heat waves that will result.

It could be reassuring to know that some creatures might cope by gradually moving to new areas as their current ones become less hospitable. Alas, natural relocation of species is not something that can be taken for granted.

Meanwhile, there is some good news on the bee front. To prevent CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), plant flowers: Beautiful wildflowers might someday be planted in "bee pastures," floral havens created as an efficient, practical, environmentally friendly, and economically sound way to produce successive generations of healthy young bees.

Entomologist James H. Cane says that these kinds of pesticide-free pastures could be simple to establish, and--at perhaps only a half-acre each--easy to tend. Two bee businesses are already using the findings to propagate more bees.

We know that bees see markings on flower petals that act as "runways" that humans cannot see. Now it's been discovered that while (with a few exceptions) most bird eggs look alike to people, birds see them in all sorts of colors. In fact, birds see a much more colorful world than we do.In LiveScience.com, Wynne Parry reports that, unlike humans, birds can see ultraviolet (UV) light, and they have 4 color receptors in their eyes (unlike the 3 humans have), which allows them to distinguish subtle differences between hues. They are also unique in laying colorful eggs.

If you keep up with the birds and the bees (and everything else) by coming to this website every day, please be aware of the fact that we may have to fly away if we don't get more support soon. There's only one way to keep us on this nest: Subscribe today and encourage your friends to do the same! (To help us even more, click on the "donate" tab on our homepage).

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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