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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

New England Avian Experts Monitor Impact of Wildfire Smoke

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Thursday, August 3, 2023   

Avian experts in New England say billions of birds have been affected by recent wildfires in Canada's boreal forest and the resulting plumes of smoke, but just how bird populations have changed remains to be seen.

Tens of millions of birds will migrate through the Northeast this fall and scientists will be monitoring their numbers.

Jeff Wells, vice president of boreal conservation for the National Audubon Society, said birds are especially sensitive to wildfire smoke and scientists predict a wide range of effects on their health.

"We don't really know how much of that is a lethal impact or how much of it is just a temporary effect," Wells acknowledged. "That may have slowed reproduction; caused issues in how many young they can produce."

Wells pointed out the Audubon Society is working with Indigenous communities on the front lines of the fires, using various mapping tools and bird density data sets to begin to understand any population changes, which ultimately affects our own environmental health.

The majority of birds New Englanders see during the fall migration come from the boreal forest, including dark-eyed juncos, white-throated sparrows and Cape May warblers.

Wells noted scientists will be paying close attention to the data collected at bird observatories and banding stations throughout the region.

"And we'll be watching that carefully to see if they notice a change in the numbers of any particular species, or timing, or less young birds," Wells outlined.

Wells added scientists will combine the data with information collected next summer when surveys are taken on bird breeding populations. Until then, he encouraged New Englanders to not only ensure their own backyards are bird friendly but to support communities just to the north, working to manage and protect the bird's vital boreal ecosystem.


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