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Flameproof Falcons and Hawks Soar Over Areas of B.C.


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It could be compared, cynically, to the legend of the phoenix. But while legend has it that the mythological bird was continually reborn from the ashes of its predecessor, researchers studying the amount of flame-retardant chemicals consumed by hawks and falcons in British Columbia found these birds may not be so easy to burn. In fact, researchers testing Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) and peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) for chemicals in three areas of British Columbia stumbled upon the most polluted wild bird ever recorded. “These falcons are the fastest birds on earth, and now they’re flameproof,” said Kyle Elliott, an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill and a coauthor of the study on chemical pollution in urban birds of prey, recently published in Science of the Total Environment. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are supposedly flame-retardant chemicals that have coated everything from children’s toys to car upholstery for decades in an effort to protect them from fires. The chemicals have been phased out in recent years, but many products containing these chemicals remain in homes or are discarded in dumps. It eventually gets into the soil where it’s eaten by worms, which in turn are swallowed [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/flameproof-falcons-and-hawks-soar-over-areas-of-b-c/

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