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Old 11-10-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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Default Tweaked Beaks: How Bird Deformities Help Flag Undetected Toxins

Tweaked Beaks: How Bird Deformities Help Flag Undetected Toxins
Posted by Krista Mahr Monday, November 8, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Tweaked Beaks: How Bird Deformities Help Flag Undetected Toxins - Ecocentric - TIME.com
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Call it the deformed canary in the coalmine. Scientists have found that several species of wild birds in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are growing deformed beaks at rates never before recorded. The birds, whose beaks are severely elongated, curved or even crossed, have developed what's called avian keratin disorder, and though the USGS biologists who released their findings this month have not pinpointed its cause, they believe it could signal a graver environmental problem...
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #2
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The most recent post in Ohio Birds and Biodiversity features a nuthatch with a seriously elongated beak. A "Long-billed" Nuthatch - Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:07 AM   #3
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I took our geese to Michigan with us.
And yes we looked like the Clampets coming to Hollywood.

We settled in the Bay area. We hatched out a bunch goslings while up there, and to our surprise we got quite a few deformed cross bills. Turns out that dioxins from the flooding of the river was in the soil. If the sunlight hits dioxins they break up and not a problem, but since a goose is digging down in the soil where the sun don't shine well - ---and speaking of wells -- that is where everyone got their water from wells.

All of us had these huge water plants down in our basements. I think that is why everyone in Michigan wanted and needed basements. What was really funny -- when we first moved up there -- all the gas stations sold salt. We sillies thought they were selling them to help melt the ice --even in the summer, that is until we started looking at houses to buy.

We sold the house and property just before there was a ban on the area by local real estates offices. If that had happened I would still be up in Michigan, and then who would be taking care of my parents? Whew - that was close.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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Sad to say but.... it seems like the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center is looking more and more like most of our NASA "research" these days.... $$$ is blown on salaries and endless surveys and little is left to actually get to the root of these bill abnormalities which.... if I had to bet $$$ on.... are the result of environmental contaminants and nutritional disorders.
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Probably more of a question based on emotion but.... with deformities like that.... they're freaks of a world that's increasingly anything but natural so.... what would be the harm in baiting a few of these birds with something they can eat then clipping a few beaks down? I'm sure I'm thinking with my heart and not my brain.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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These birds with crossbills never grow up. According to my daughter's bird professor. There are probably plenty of unknown nest of dead baby birds out there.

As far as our geese goes; as soon as they peeped the shell, and we saw, and got over the shock -- shock -- shock --- we put the egg and babe out in the cold. Cruel -- I don't know, but it would have been crueler to let them hatch the rest of the way out.

I also noticed (not a lot) but some dead birds out in our large yard - more than I ever discovered in Kentucky- A healthy looking killdeer that a few weeks earlier had a bunch of cute chicks running after it. A couple of robins. The news reported that a dead crow was found and someone actually took it in and they found it had the West Nile Virus.

As much as they sprayed the area at night with trucks -- a big yellow plane in the spring for mosquitos. It has to be more complicated than just a virus carried by mosquitoes. How damaged were these birds' immune system from the dioxins

I shouldn't just pick on the Bay area of Michigan.

The year before that I moved from Kentucky -- a whole nest of half grown mocking birds were all out of the nest a bit too soon and were covered with tumors. Poor things - they were vigorous looking things but looked miserable. A virus I guess -- but what made the immune system so that they could not fight it off. What had they gotten into?? I worried that I did spray for bud cutters (they kill young hemlocks -- I had brought some hemlocks from southern Kentucky 75 miles north. Hemlocks use to grow in the area, but bud cutters had reduced their numbers. I wanted the hemlocks to live, but not at that price.

I went back a couple of years ago, and the hemlocks have made it, and are growing huge in the yard. It takes spraying when they are young to get them pass the bud cutters killing them. Still I think of those pitiful mocking birds, I do hate that I might have been the cause of that.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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I know that we have been seeing a higher incidence of crooked, curved, too long and other weird things on bird beaks down here in SC as well. It's sad to think we have all this money in the world to keep churning out products that harm our environment but we don't seem to have the money to do anything about it when something goes wrong.

Is something wrong? I myself firmly believe this. Innocent until proven guilty may be very good for our human court system, but in nature it is killing our earth. I think too often we are fighting against a mentality that views everything in human terms. We forget that we are just one part of a puzzle. Nature in and of itself has amazing healing properties but we continually subvert it. We know how it works, yet we don't. We have so many answers but refuse to follow them mainly due to inconvenience.

How is it that we still dump water from our roads and driveways into big, cement drains? Then we pump a bunch of man-made chemicals into it and call it purefied? I wonder if we get anywhere close to the 97% filtration rate of impurities that a natural filtration system can remove? We send oil rigs into pristine environments without adequate containment for a spill. We continually build 'new and improved' water plants that fail from their first driveway and first road.

Are we ready for change? Drastic change? How do we purify our land? We need to go back to the drawing board. We need to throw out everything we've done and look at things from a totally new standpoint. Our methods are not working and when you don't know where the fail is or fails are, you go back to the beginning and rewrite it one word at a time, one keystroke at a time. We need to debug ourselves..lol.

When we build our homes, businesses and roads they should be surrounded by a containment system and a natural filtration system. Do we allow the small percentage of nature's eaters to be exposed to the areas, or do we contain and contain again. Hard to picture us doing this? A home, a driveway and and the road it meets. Do we build the home on top of a containment system, followed by a filtration of native vegetation? Would that first row of native vegetation still harbor too many harmful releases? Would that mean closing it off too somehow, a barrier below and above so nature's eaters aren't harmed. After the barrier another natural filtration system which I would imagine would now be pretty damn safe....and then the driveway...would have to curve especially before it meets the road so that native vegetation could filter what's on the drive. Roads would have to have containment systems and natural filtration as well. Same goes for businesses. Or do we just contain under everything that we build? Send to a central location and from there contain, natural filtration, contain and then natural filtration again?

What steps do we take on products and goods that we will be introducing into our environment? How, where do we test them so that our impact on our environment is minimal? Do we forge ahead because something appears to be safe, or do we pass until all ramifications are understood. Science and mathematics has to have formulas? If we forge ahead what would the model or projections be for harmful releases into our environment. Take those numbers and then test the product in a real environment? Watch what happens before we deem it safe?

I believe we have the science to make a good start. The question remains, are we ready for change? Drastic change?

In the meantime I'll go out back and look at the female Red-Bellied Woodpecker in the aviary and pray that between nature and my daughter that her crooked bill heals enough for her to forage on her own....and keep my fingers crossed that we don't see more and more of this as time marches forward....
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:23 PM   #7
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You rock MaggyNo!!!!
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"Innocent until proven guilty may be very good for our human court system, but in nature it is killing our earth." I totally agree.
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I've long been a proponent of cleaning up our peer review process... BigAg, BigPharma, BigBio, and BigChem have a "global" chokehold on it right now. Full disclosure of funding sources would go far too. Oh... no more using us as their experimental guinea pigs or our lands as their laboratories.
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alaska, avian, avian keratin disorder, beak, beaks, biologists, bird, birds, deformed, deformed birds, deformities, disorder, evironmental, flag, increase, issue, keratin, pacific northwest, problems, study, toxins, tweaked, undetected, wild birds

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