Residents of suburban Seattle have found themselves in a unique, unpleasant and occasionally biohazardous situation.
Hundreds of bald eagles have descended upon the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Renton, Washington. The eagles have been seen diving between working bulldozers to grab bits of the 2,500 tons of trash deposited daily. But the eagles’ adventure doesn’t stop there.
Nearby residents are reporting that the same bald eagles spending their time landfill diving are now dropping trash from the landfill in their yards. Are the eagles returning what local humans have seemingly lost? Perhaps the eagles are attempting to teach area residents a lesson?
While those living in suburban Seattle are understandably annoyed at the recent development, one has to admit the situation is rather ironic. Residents don’t want their trash—or anyone else’s for that matter—in their backyards. Suffice it to say, the eagles probably don’t want that trash in their backyards either.
“At a recent meeting, one resident held up a biohazard container filled with human blood—one example of the kind of waste carried by eagles into residential neighborhoods,” according to Popular Mechanics.
David Vogel, not-so-proud new owner of the biohazard container full of blood, was one of almost 80 people to speak up about the issue at a public meeting in March.
“Anybody that lives within close flying distance of the landfill knows that the eagles deposit this stuff everywhere,” Vogel said. “The eagle population has exploded in the last five years, and why? Because they have a free lunch at the dump.”
The Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, located in King County, is a massive open-air landfill that was actually supposed to close two years ago. As such, it is nearing capacity, as it has been for decades. A new Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan would see the estimated closing date pushed all the way back to 2040, after a whopping $270 million expansion.
All that trash has attracted hundreds, if not thousands, of birds. The 200 or so trash dropping eagles have actually made the landfill their home, leading many King County residents to oppose the landfill expansion. Some are even pushing the county to implement a “bird management plan.” That plan would include an inventory of all large birds that live at the landfill.
According to Pat McLaughlin, King County’s solid-waste director, the county has already invested time and money in combating the eagle problem. Most recently, drones were deployed to shoo the birds away. The creative idea was quickly met with opposition. “The eagles were so aggressive to the drones, they tore it up out of the sky,” McLaughlin said.
Despite the inconvenience of it, trash falling from the sky isn’t the only concern of area residents. Many also oppose the landfill expansion due to the foul oder, increased greenhouse-gas emissions, and the potential for toxic liquids to leech from the landfill into the aquifer below.
Thanks to King County’s eagles, the issue of human trash has been brought into the light once again. Out of sight out of mind proves true when it comes to waste and most Americans. Seemingly by magic, our trash is removed from our doorsteps, never to be seen again. Perhaps these eagles are engaged in their own campaign to remind humans that this just isn’t the case. What we toss never truly disappears and there are real potential consequences to each and every item we discard.
The only real way to solve the problem of eagles dropping trash in our yards or hundreds of tons of plastic washing up on once pristine beaches is by creating less waste in the first place more than simply getting smarter about how we dispose of it.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.