Hummingbirds, black bears, warmer lakes: This week in environmental news

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

MNA is starting a new weekly blog series! Each Friday, we are going to highlight news stories from the week to help you stay up-to-date on environmental news around the state and country.

Here are six articles you might’ve missed this week:

A female ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo by Cindy Mead.

A female ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo by Cindy Mead.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds arriving earlier (Michigan Radio): Ruby-throated hummingbirds are migrating north from Mexico earlier than ever. Last winter was one of the warmest in Michigan history, and hummingbirds arrived to the state as early as March 17—before a major cold stretch in April. Hummingbirds can survive in the cold for a day, but die quickly if the weather stays cold. The ruby-throated hummingbird population is stable for now, but Pamela Rasmussen, an associate zoology professor at Michigan State University, is concerned about what will happen if hummingbirds continue to migrate early.

From the Mouths of Babes (Conservation Magazine): Parents normally pass on knowledge to their children, but when it comes to the environment, it might be the other way around. Environmental education programs tend to be aimed at children because environmental attitudes are often formed at a young age, and a new study suggests that children can teach their parents about environmental issues and even influence their families to behave in “greener ways.”

Warming Lake Superior stresses wildlife, observers say (CBC News): Lake Superior broke its previous high-temperature records last year. This means bad news for the lake’s native trout, which thrives in cold water, as well as some of the lake’s other species. As water temperatures rise, sea lamprey are getting bigger, living longer, and having a negative impact on native fish. Increases in temperature don’t only harm fish—some land-based wildlife, like moose, are poorly suited to warmer climates. Wildlife Federation spokesperson Melinda Koslow said reducing greenhouse gases and protecting habitats will help prevent future harm to species.

Northern Michigan Outdoors: DNR Discusses the Latest on Black Bears (MyNorth): In February, Northern Michigan’s black bears are hibernating in their dens—except for new moms of the Ursus americanus variety. These bears are busy giving birth, nursing their young, and keeping the cubs and den clean. DNR wildlife biologist Mark Boersen has been checking up on bear families for more than 10 years and shared what he’s learned about the species.

West Michigan women come together to educate and inspire women to take action to protect our environment and natural resources (mlive): On February 15, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council met in Grand Rapids to honor women environmentalists at the second Women and the Environment Symposium. The symposium honored women who are inspiring others, protecting the environment and leading change.

Scientists seeks solutions to Lake Erie algae (mlive): Toxic algae blooms may form more often in Lake Erie unless farms and cities do a better job of controlling phosphorous runoff, scientists say. A team of 40 scientists met in Windsor, Ontario, this week to compare research findings about Lake Erie’s algae blooms and work on a report for government policymakers. The team is putting together a series of papers that study where the phosphorous comes from, which management practices best cut down on runoff, and how climate change affects algae blooms. A draft will be released for public comment in May.


2 thoughts on “Hummingbirds, black bears, warmer lakes: This week in environmental news

  1. I’m happy to see your environmental blogs Each Friday! They are interesting; however, I wish the print was larger – this print is very small (7), making reading an unnecessary challenge!

    • Hi Larry, thank you for reading! I’m not sure why the font is showing up so small for you. On our end, it is a size 12. Your browser should have an option to zoom in webpages for easier reading. If you’re using Internet Explorer, there is a zoom option under the Tools menu at the top of your browser window. I hope this helps, we certainly don’t want reading our blog to be difficult! Let me know if you have any questions – Allison (

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