Snowy Owl Spotted in New York’s Central Park for First Time in 130 Years
A snowy owl was spotted in New York City's Central Park Wednesday morning for the first time in 130 years, The New York Times reported.
Sending crowds of birders and onlookers out to the park's North Meadow fields, the tweet drew criticism from commenters for attracting unwanted attention to the owl.
Once in a lifetime appearance of the Snowy Owl in NYC Central Park, North Meadow yesterday (1/27/21). A video clip of the owl being harassed by the very loud crows and not moving an inch. #birdcp #SnowyOwl pic.twitter.com/OPaVGMQva9— Vee Nabong (@VenusNabs) January 29, 2021
Snowy owls, found in the high Arctic tundra, are known to venture south during the winter, often looking for prey, according to the Audubon Society. Although the owls are abundant in North America, generally avoiding the threat of human disturbance, they are at risk for climate change. If the planet continues to warm, their range will decrease, eventually shifting out of the lower 48, the Audubon Society notes.
"The snowy owl, it's obviously in Central Park for a reason," Brooke Bateman, the director of climate science at the Audubon Society, told Earther. "They have been finding places in New York City outside of Manhattan for a while, so I think that that's an indicator that they are finding what they need in these areas. We just have to make sure that we don't stress them out too much."
"Owls are especially prone to disturbance in urban areas, from dogs, joggers, and fans. Please exercise caution, keep your distance, and model best birding behavior in their presence," it tweeted, linking the American Birding Association guidelines on birding and social distancing.
Central Park's snowy owl adds to the long list of rare wildlife sightings in cities during the COVID-19 pandemic, joining dolphins in Istanbul's Bosphorus, a once-busy marine route, wild boars in Haifa's streets and cougars roaming in Santiago, BBC reported.
While rare wildlife sightings in cities have brought joy to people looking for a break from the turmoil of the past year, National Geographic warns against the "If there's a silver lining of the pandemic… animals were bouncing back, running free in a humanless world," trope.
"I think people really want to believe in the power of nature to recover," Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster, in Ohio, told National Geographic. "People hope that, no matter what we've done, nature is powerful enough to rise above it."
But commenters on Central Park's newest celebrity seemed more concerned about whether the owl predicted a longer winter. "This means NYC is in for a cold snap – birds are uncanny weather predictors," one commenter wrote on NYC Audobon's tweet.
"It's a sign of the weather to come! What a beautiful creature!" another commented.
By Thursday morning, the snowy owl had disappeared, The New York Times reported -- its departure as mystifying as its arrival.
For David Barrett, the person behind the Manhattan's Bird Alert tweet, the snowy owl's appearance meant more than a debatable weather forecast. It was a moment of appreciation to share with his fellow New Yorkers.
"If you want people to care about nature," he told The New York Times, "you should show them that it's there and let them appreciate it for themselves."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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