The Pervasive Myths That Prevent Climate Change Action

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One of the biggest threats to humanity and the planet is a manmade phenomenon called climate change. For the last several decades, greenhouse gases have become trapped in the earth’s atmosphere which have led to rising temperatures, rising sea levels, extreme weather, melting ice sheets and glaciers, and ocean acidification. And in many ways the effects of climate changes can be catastrophic not just for the environment but for people as well. The threat of climate change may seem like a new thing to many. However, as with a lot of scientific notions, scientists have been discussing the idea for decades. In fact, on Youtube there’s a documentary called The Unchained Goddess which was produced by Frank Capra who ironically was a Republican. Nevertheless, over the years climate scientists have come to a consensus on climate change as real, as happening, as manmade, and as a problem. However, there are still skeptics among the masses who not only believe climate change doesn’t exist, but use resources in order to stop climate change policy from becoming a reality. Unfortunately, these people are the Koch Brothers, industrialists, energy companies, and other major polluters who contribute millions of dollars to Republican party candidates who just happen to control the House and the Senate. Well, as far as the US goes. Still, if my US Congressman doesn’t see climate change as real, happening, and a problem, then I have a problem with that regardless of party affiliation. Here I present to you some of the most pervasive myths about climate change as well as the truths they mask.

 

While not all Republicans deny climate change, climate deniers make the majority of Republican congressmen who now control the House and the Senate. And a lot of them have received campaign contributions from dirty energy companies. So yes, climate change denial pays big time. And that's a problem.

While not all Republicans deny climate change, climate deniers make the majority of Republican congressmen who now control the House and the Senate. And a lot of them have received campaign contributions from dirty energy companies. So yes, climate change denial pays big time. And that’s a problem.

  1. Climate change isn’t real – Sure the science may not be perfect but 97% climate scientists agree that climate change is real, it’s happening, it’s manmade, and it’s a problem. Also, it’s caused by greenhouse gases getting into the atmosphere and disrupting the climate. Effects may vary according to geography though because scientific research tends to show conflicting reports. But the debate over the existence of climate change is practically sound as far as the scientific consensus is concerned.
Here is a graph of the global temperature averages from the 1880s to the 2000s. While many skeptics believe that the presence of cold weather disproves global warming, it doesn't. Because climate scientists tend to look at weather trends. And as far as this graph's concerned, it's getting warmer.

Here is a graph of the global temperature averages from the 1880s to the 2000s. While many skeptics believe that the presence of cold weather disproves global warming, it doesn’t. Because climate scientists tend to look at weather trends. And as far as this graph’s concerned, it’s getting warmer.

2. The earth can’t get hotter because it’s cold outside– Uh, sorry, but yes it can since there’s a difference between short-term weather variability and long-term climate change. Weather is day-to-day variations of precipitation, clouds, and temperature. Climate is the average weather pattern that takes place over many years. So if you want to find out whether climate change is real, you shouldn’t try to rely on a 5-10 weather forecast. Rather it be better to study a 30-year timeframe instead. And according to the National Climate Assessment: “While there is a clear long-term global warming trend, some years do not show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, and some years show greater changes than others. These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature are due to natural processes, such as the effects of El Niños, La Niñas, and volcanic eruptions.” So even as the climate warms, there will still be cold days and snowstorms. In fact, there are some scientists who think that the melting of Arctic sea ice might be causing bigger swings in the jet stream that can encourage frigid air to move south during the winter into the US and Europe.

While climate has changed before in the past due to natural causes, scientists have found that the global temperature increase has been consistent with the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. By the way, this chart is from NASA.

While climate has changed before in the past due to natural causes, scientists have found that the global temperature increase has been consistent with the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. This proves that climate change as we know it is manmade. By the way, this chart is from NASA.

3. The climate has changed before, so this change must be normal, too– Just because the earth’s climate has changed before in the past, doesn’t mean it’s normal or even caused by natural factors. As with climate change, the fact that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are now the highest they’ve ever been in all of human history shows us that it’s mostly manmade. Over the years, the global temperature has increased 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which may not seem like much. But even a small increase can cause significant changes. And the majority of warming at a global scale over the last 50 years can only be explained by the effects of human influences like fossil fuel burning emissions and deforestation. Natural factors have played a relatively minor role.

As the study of climate change has been conducted over the years, more and more climate scientists are now convinced that it exists, it's caused by man, and it's a problem. As far as the scientific community is concerned, the case is closed.

As the study of climate change has been conducted over the years, more and more climate scientists are now convinced that it exists, it’s caused by man, and it’s a problem. As far as the scientific community is concerned, the case is closed.

4. Most scientists don’t agree about climate change– 97% of all climate scientists believe that human activity is contributing to climate change. And as far as climate science goes, these are the only group of scientists who matter here.

A popular climate change myth is blaming global warming on the sun. However, while global temperatures continue to rise, solar activity has declined. So how could that be possible?

A popular climate change myth is blaming global warming on the sun. However, while global temperatures continue to rise, solar activity has declined. So how could that be possible?

5. The sun is responsible for climate change– Yes, solar activity can cause climate swings on the earth. But recent research have conducted studies of the sun’s interaction with the climate and concluded that none of its recent behavior accounts for today’s shift. Also, the sun’s been cooling in the last 35 years.

Here is a diagram on all the possible things that climate change can cause. The fact that climate change can cause famine, plague, and wars probably illustrates why Al Gore and the UN Climate Panel received a Nobel Peace Prize. Because climate change is real threat to peace as well as security.

Here is a diagram on all the possible things that climate change can cause. The fact that climate change can cause famine, plague, and wars probably illustrates why Al Gore and the IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize. Because climate change is real threat to peace as well as security.

6. Climate change is good for us– In some cases, perhaps. But overall, no, since climate change is known to cause flooding and drought, especially if emissions aren’t reduced and temperatures increase at a rapid pace. Besides, recent reports find that climate change could cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars within the next few decades. Not to mention, the rise of diseases, loss of habitats, desertification, wildfires, water shortages, and catastrophic weather. However, when it comes to climate change, the US will be more fortunate than a lot of nations. Third World countries and island nations will have it the worst. Third World countries will suffer since many of them have endangered wildlife as well as relative instability and poverty. Island nations especially since climate change might threaten their very existence if sea levels continue to rise.

While plants do need CO2, this doesn't mean they won't be immune to the effects of climate change. Because too much CO2 could hurt plants and make them prone to infestations and disease. Not to mention, there's desertification, ocean acidification, and chaotic weather patterns.

While plants do need CO2, this doesn’t mean they won’t be immune to the effects of climate change. Because too much CO2 could hurt plants and make them prone to infestations and disease. Not to mention, there’s desertification, ocean acidification, and chaotic weather patterns.

7. CO2 can’t be dangerous, because plants need it– Yes, plants need CO2 to grow. But just because every living thing needs water to live doesn’t mean you can’t drown in it. Research shows that plants might actually suffer with too much CO2 in the air which might lead to less nutritious crops. Because in some ways, if CO2 concentration is too high, there could be a reduction of photosynthesis. There’s also evidence from the past of sudden rises of CO2 incurring major damage on a wide variety of plant species. And plants raised with enhanced CO2 supplies and strictly isolated from insects are much more vulnerable to infestation and disease than in their natural settings. Then there’s desertification which we all know isn’t very good for plants either. More CO2 might have a positive impacts on agriculture but only in the short term. And in all likelihood, adding more CO2 will just shrink a range available to plants while expanding deserts. More CO2 will increase requirements for water and soil fertility as well as plant damage from insects. This might be good news for Monsanto but surely not for us. Also, CO2 is linked to the greenhouse effect as well as causes acidification in the oceans. Climate change has even led to a lot of unpredictable weather in a lot of places which might disrupt crop and plant cycles. Sometimes it might lead plants growing and blossoming earlier than usual. Sometimes it might lead to plants suffering an early death. Such events could happen within short time spans which isn’t good for farmers. So yes, CO2 essential but it can be seen as a pollutant if there’s too much of it in the atmosphere from manmade sources. Nevertheless, that being said, there are scientists who do say that forests do help buffer climate change effects which demonstrates why deforestation is so destructive.

Recent studies have found a correlation between the polar vortex and melting sea ice as well as temperature increases in the Arctic. Such links are being debated among scientists. However, the nature of the polar vortex in many ways shows how unpredictable the effects of global warming can be. And sometimes they're not always what we'd expect. So to say that global warming is a hoax because it's snowing outside in your neck of the woods doesn't hold up. Because climate change simply doesn't work that way.

Recent studies have found a correlation between the polar vortex and melting sea ice as well as temperature increases in the Arctic. Such links are being debated among scientists. However, the nature of the polar vortex in many ways shows how unpredictable the effects of global warming can be. And sometimes they’re not always what we’d expect. So to say that global warming is a hoax because it’s snowing outside in your neck of the woods doesn’t hold up. Because climate change simply doesn’t work that way.

8. Climate change has stopped and the earth has begun to cool– Listen, just because your neck of the woods has experienced abnormally chilly weather and big blizzards, doesn’t mean that global warming isn’t happening. Seriously, your local weather conditions have absolutely no bearing on global weather patterns. Nor does it indicate that climate change has stopped. Besides, the existence of climate change depends on long term trends measured over a decade or more, and according to those, the earth is warming. The last decade was said to be the hottest on record while temperature records continue shattering the previous ones each year. Then there’s the polar vortex in which very cold air which gets pushed into the temperate zones causing frigid winter temperatures as well as snowfall. This phenomenon has been known to scientists for decades. Recent studies have found a correlation between a weak polar vortex and outbreaks of severe cold in the Northern Hemisphere, which might be related to the melting ice caps. But there’s so much uncertainty since recent observations have been short term. Nevertheless, even though we live in a warming world, that doesn’t mean we can’t experience very cold weather. Because despite how climate change denialists tend to use severe winters in their neck of the woods to disprove it, climate change simply doesn’t work that way.

While there have been reports of Antarctica gaining ice, the general consensus states that it has been losing land ice since the 1990s. This isn't good news for penguins.

While there have been reports of Antarctica gaining ice, the general consensus states that it has been losing land ice since the 1990s. This isn’t good news for penguins.

9. Antarctica is gaining ice– There’s a difference between land and sea ice.  As for sea ice, well, that’s influenced by year-to-year changes in wind directions and ocean currents. So it’s difficult to identify a clear trend. However, satellite images show that Antarctica is losing land ice at an accelerating rate which has implications in rising sea levels. And in Antarctica, it’s land ice measurements that’ matter more and since Antarctica has lost around 135o giga-tons of land ice into the oceans between 1992-2011 at 70 giga-tons per year. Of course, loss of ice mass varies among the land ice sheets with the West and Penninsula ones losing at an increasing rate. Meanwhile the East Antarctic ice sheet is slightly gaining but not enough to offset the other losses. Yet, most of the research suggests that Antarctica is land ice as a whole and these losses are accelerating quickly. Seriously, as someone who’s seen nature documentaries, climate change has been brought up in almost every one I’ve seen about penguins, especially when it pertains to Antarctica. Even the Morgan Freeman narrated documentary March of the Penguins discusses this since the Emperor Penguins depend on that ice to live on and are risk because it’s melting at accelerating rates. And from how I see it, none of them gave me the impression that Antarctica was gaining ice. Quite the contrary.

Here is the graph projecting the rise in sea levels. The red shows projections and predictions from 1970. The blue shows satellite observations. Not too shabby for climate model isn't it?

Here is the graph projecting the rise in sea levels. The red shows projections and predictions from 1970. The blue shows satellite observations. Not too shabby for climate model isn’t it?

10. Climate models and temperature records are unreliable– For one, scientists use models all the time in their research. Second, models have successfully reproduced global temperatures since 1900 by land, in the air, and in the oceans. Yes, there is some uncertainty when it comes to some aspects of climate science such as effects on clouds. However, certain predictions based on physics and chemistry are so fundamental like the greenhouse effect that the resulting predictions like rising temperatures, melting ice, and rising sea levels are robust no matter what the assumptions are. Also, the both rural and urban temperatures were measured by thermometers and satellites.

These are polar bears. Polar bears have evolved for a life on sea ice for reaching their seal prey. But because of climate change, sea ice is rapidly diminishing. To polar bears sea ice loss means reduced access to food. And it's because of global warming that they're in danger of going extinct. So how do you expect these creatures to adapt to climate change?

These are polar bears. Polar bears have evolved for a life on sea ice for reaching their seal prey. But because of climate change, sea ice is rapidly diminishing. To polar bears sea ice loss means reduced access to food. And it’s because of global warming that they’re in danger of going extinct. So how do you expect these creatures to adapt to climate change?

11. Animals and plants can adapt to climate change– It depends on the kinds of animals and plants and whether they can adapt to a changing climate on short time scales. Global warming will likely cause mass extinction of an estimated 18% and 35% of plant and animal species according to a team from the UK. Mass extinctions have been strongly linked to global climate change which can be so rapid that adaptation is simply not possible in most cases. Because it’s so pervasive and occurring too rapidly.

One of the most insidious effects of global warming is ocean acidification. As we speak the rise of CO2 emissions is changing the chemistry of the oceans as we speak, threatening the existence of entire marine ecosystems and food chains. Not to mention, the millions of people who rely on such an ecosystem for food and income. Even a small change in the pH can mean a catastrophe.

One of the most insidious effects of global warming is ocean acidification. As we speak the rise of CO2 emissions is changing the chemistry of the oceans as we speak, threatening the existence of entire marine ecosystems and food chains. Not to mention, the millions of people who rely on such an ecosystem for food and income. Even a small change in the pH can mean a catastrophe.

12. Ocean acidification isn’t serious– For the love of God, ocean acidification is linked to CO2 emissions since these waters absorb between 25-50% of them which does prevent atmospheric buildup from becoming much, much worse. However, CO2 emissions also cause ocean acidification. Ocean life can be sensitive to slight changes in pH levels even in an alkaline environment. Ocean acidity has increased by 30% in the last 200 years and the rate is projected to accelerate even further through the end of the century with potentially catastrophic impacts on marine ecosystems. As surface waters become more acidic, it becomes more difficult for marine life like corals and shellfish to form the hard shells necessary for their survival and coral reefs to provide a home to more than 25% of all oceanic species. Even the tiny pteropods are seriously impacted and they’re at the base of most oceanic food chains. Degradation of these species at the foundation of the marine ecosystem could lead to collapse of these environments with devastating implications to millions of people in the human populations that rely on them. Also, if atmospheric CO2 levels were to reach 550 parts per million along its current rapid ascent from its pre-industrial level of 250 ppm, coral reefs around the globe could be dissolving. So yes, ocean acidification is a very serious problem.

Between 1965-1979, 62% of all climate studies predicted a warming planet. Only 10% predicted an ice age.

Between 1965-1979, 62% of all climate studies predicted a warming planet. Only 10% predicted an ice age.

13. Reports from the 1970s predicted an Ice Age– Out of the 68 climate scientific studies literature between 1965-1979, only 10% did. However, 62% of these predicted a warming planet though, which is a vast majority. Besides, there’s more worry about global warming impacts within the next 100 years, not an ice age in over 10,000 years. Keep in mind that this is the same period in which Al Gore learned about global warming.

This is Sandy and no, she's not on her way for a friendly visit. She's a major hurricane that wreaked mass destruction on the East Coast. While the science isn't settled whether climate change makes hurricanes more frequent, it is established that it makes hurricanes stronger and more severe. So if you live on the coast or in Florida, expect more hurricanes like Sandy.

This is Sandy and no, she’s not on her way for a friendly visit. She’s a major hurricane that wreaked mass destruction on the East Coast. While the science isn’t settled whether climate change makes hurricanes more frequent, it is established that it makes hurricanes stronger and more severe. So if you live on the coast or in Florida, expect more hurricanes like Sandy.

14. Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming– There is increasing evidence that hurricanes have been getting stronger and more severe due to global warming. Recent research has shown that we’re experiencing more storms with higher wind speeds, and these storms are more destructive, last longer, and make landfall more often. Such phenomenon is linked to increasing sea surface temperatures which reasonably suggests that storm intensity and climate change are linked. While global warming might not mean more frequent hurricanes (since the science isn’t settled on that one), it might mean more with a Category 3 or higher.

This is a chart from NOAA explaining some of the extreme weather events in the US from 2011-2012. As you see, it's not a pretty picture. Well, you can thank climate change for some of that.

This is a chart from NOAA explaining some of the extreme weather events in the US from 2011-2012. As you see, it’s not a pretty picture. Well, you can thank climate change for some of that since it tends to amplify the risk factors that trigger such events.

15. Extreme weather isn’t caused by global warming– Global warming amplifies the risk factors for extreme weather events which don’t automatically generate them but change the odds. So yes, climate change does increase the odds of extreme weather. Rising temperatures can have several effects involved in weather like increased evapotranspiration, a warmer atmosphere holding more water vapor, and changes in sea surface temperature. Increased evapotranspiration can have a direct effect on the frequency and intensity of droughts. The fact our atmosphere holds 4% more water vapor than it did 40 years ago increases the risks of extreme rainfall. And changes in sea surface temperatures can bring about associated shifts in atmospheric circulation and precipitation. This has been implicated in some droughts, particularly in the tropics. Hell, look at the US. Heavy rainfall and precipitation has increased in frequency and intensity by 20% in the country with the Midwest and Northeast seeing the greatest increases. In the Midwest and Great Plains expect more severe tornadoes and flooding. The frequency of drought has increased in the Southeast and the West which led to a lot of wildfires in wooded areas. And if you live in the Southeast, remember that Atlantic hurricanes have increased in both power and severity.

While some alleged that the lack of Galactic Cosmic Rays leads to global warming, most scientific research has found that the number of GCRs has increased. Thus, there is no correlation.

While some alleged that the lack of Galactic Cosmic Rays leads to global warming, most scientific research has found that the number of GCRs has increased. Thus, there is no correlation.

16. Rising global temperatures have been caused by the presence of fewer galactic cosmic rays (GCR)s– This is pure bullshit at its finest. However, GCR counts have actually increased over the past 50 years so if they did influence global temperatures, they’d have a cooling effect. However, since the earth’s temperature continues to rise, their effect is minimal at best.

These are a pictures of Muir Glacier in Alaska. One is from 1941. The other from 2004. Guess what happened during these years.

These are a pictures of Muir Glacier in Alaska. One is from 1941. The other from 2004. Guess what happened during these years.

17. Glaciers are growing– No they aren’t. According to long term trends, 90% of glaciers have been shrinking worldwide. These changes have been influenced by air temperature changes as well as precipitation. And while some might be growing, glaciers tend to be dependent on localized conditions. Nevertheless, if the glaciers were growing at this time, then the polar bears wouldn’t be having such a hard time surviving in their natural habitat, would they?

Over the last 30 years, the Arctic ice has been melting at an accelerated rate. And it makes the ice less likely to survive the next year. This spells bad news for polar bears.

Over the last 30 years, the Arctic ice has been melting at an accelerated rate. And it makes the ice less likely to survive the next year. This spells bad news for polar bears.

18. Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle– Sure Arctic has a natural cycle of freeze and thaw. However, Arctic ice is known as the “canary in the global warming coal mine” for a reason. Because satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice extent reveal a rapid decline over the last 30 years, especially at the end of each melting season. This means that the ice is melting more than accumulating, making it less likely to survive the next year as well as exposing more open water. This isn’t good news for polar bears since their reliance on the Arctic ice puts them in danger of extinction.

While burning fossil fuels only contributes to a small amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the land and ocean can only absorb 40% of it. Thus, that remaining CO2 is trapped in the earth's atmosphere and warming the planet.

While burning fossil fuels only contributes to a small amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the land, vegetation, and ocean can only absorb 40% of it. Thus, that remaining CO2 is trapped in the earth’s atmosphere and warming the planet.

19. Human CO2 is a tiny percentage of CO2 emissions– Yes, the natural cycle adds and removes CO2 to keep a balance. However, humans add extra CO2 without removing any. Sure humans don’t contribute a huge percentage of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere but it adds up because the land and ocean can’t absorb all the extra CO2 which upsets the balance of the carbon cycle. And only 40% of this CO2 is actually absorbed with the rest remaining in the atmosphere. Human produced CO2 has increased by a third since pre-industrial times, creating an artificial forcing of global temperatures which is warming the planet. So even in trace amounts, CO2 can still be a dangerous pollutant.

Here's an NYU survey of economists with climate expertise when asked under the circumstances the USA has to reduce emissions. Despite that we have a Republican Congress with a lot of climate deniers, most of them think we should do something regardless of what other countries are doing.

Here’s an NYU survey of economists with climate expertise when asked under the circumstances the USA has to reduce emissions. Despite that we have a Republican Congress with a lot of climate deniers, most of them think we should do something regardless of what other countries are doing.

20. CO2 limits will harm the economy– If climate change proceeds without any efforts to reduce it, we can expect to incur serious economic costs. And it’s not unreasonable to expect that the effects of climate change will cause greater economic instability worldwide. The solution is to reduce fossil fuel use either through renewable energy resources or increased energy efficiency. There’s a consensus that believes putting a price on carbon through taxes and cap and trade policies are essential to limiting carbon pollution in order to prevent climate change from damaging the local economy. A number of such incentives are being tried to varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, if we want to reduce carbon emissions and avoid draconian government intervention, carbon pricing schemes seem like a viable way to reduce fossil fuel use (if not transition us away from fossil fuels altogether) as well as help transform an outdated system into one fitting for a sustainable century. Thus, the benefits outweigh the costs several times over.

While the poor contribute the least to climate change, this map reveals that they will be the most impacted by climate change. If there is a reason why Pope Francis is speaking about climate change now, this is it.

While the poor contribute the least to climate change, this map reveals that they will be the most impacted by climate change. If there is a reason why Pope Francis is speaking about climate change now, this is it.

21. CO2 limits will hurt the poor– The only people who will be hurt by CO2 limits are those who’ve gotten rich in the fossil fuel industry. Nevertheless, the idea that fossil fuel and other industries create good jobs is a myth. After all, while US miners and oil and gas workers might make good money, that’s mostly due to the fact that their ancestors took to the streets to fight for their God given rights through unionization, regulations, and reforms which wasn’t at all easy. Because in the 19th century, fossil fuel industry jobs didn’t lift people out of poverty. Not only that, but a lot coal miners started their jobs as children. And yes, I’m aware that polluting industries are said to give jobs to people who don’t have a college education. And even if fossil fuel workers do make good money, they’re still being screwed in the process. But if these companies had their way, industrial workers would be paid less than Wal Mart employees as well as have to deal with a shitload of workplace safety hazards. Nobody wants that. Still, when it comes to CO2 limits, the poor won’t have to worry that much since they contribute the least greenhouse gases. However, those in poverty will be most impacted by climate change as well as the least able to adapt. This is why I said that Third World countries will suffer the some of the worst effects of global warming, especially if they’re island nations.

Due to climate change and ocean acidification, coral reefs are becoming increasingly under threat by coral bleaching. Bleached coral has no algae and becomes vulnerable to disease and has no major source of food. Coral bleaching is very serious threat to reefs as well as marine ecosystems everywhere.

Due to climate change and ocean acidification, coral reefs are becoming increasingly under threat by coral bleaching. Bleached coral has no algae and becomes vulnerable to disease and has no major source of food. Coral bleaching is very serious threat to reefs as well as marine ecosystems everywhere.

22. Corals are resilient to bleaching– Because of global warming and ocean acidification, coral reefs are in decline on a world scale. Over the last 30-40 years, 80% of coral in the Caribbean have been destroyed as well as 50% in Indonesia and the Pacific. Bleaching associated with the 1982-1983 El Nino killed over 95% of coral in the Galapagos Islands and the 1997-1998 El Nino wiped out 16% of all coral on the planet. Globally about 1% of coral dies out each year. This is terrible because over half billion people depend on coral reefs for a living and sustenance. And ecologically, coral reefs are integral to the oceans’ well-being since they’re like the tropical rain forests of a sea that’s virtually a marine desert. Not to mention, they provide a home for over 25% of fish in the ocean as well as up to 2 million marine species. So if the coral goes, all that disappears. And that’s really bad.

While fossil fuels may have a cheap market price, they also carry high external costs like health problems, pollution, loss of biodiversity, climate change, decreased property values, infrastructure damage, and potential for disasters. Seriously, when an offshore platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the region was devastated. Let's just say while renewable energy might be expensive in the short run, at least you don't get disasters like the Gulf Oil Spill.

While fossil fuels may have a cheap market price, they also carry high external costs like health problems, pollution, loss of biodiversity, climate change, decreased property values, infrastructure damage, and potential for disasters. Seriously, when an offshore platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the region was devastated. Let’s just say while renewable energy might be expensive in the short run, at least you don’t get disasters like the Gulf Oil Spill.

23. Renewable Energy is too expensive– I hear this a lot, too. But while the market price on fossil fuels is cheap compared to renewable energy, there are effects that aren’t reflected. These consist of air pollution and health impact as well as possibly workers’ health and safety and potential for disaster. If you take pride in West Virginia industry, then perhaps you shouldn’t get attached to your Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River because of mountaintop removal and excessive water pollution. If you live in some places in rural Pennsylvania, then don’t expect a lot of royalties from leasing your land to the Marcellus Shale gas companies which will cost you your well water quality and property values. Oh, and if that nearby well or pipeline explodes, then consider relocating to rebuild your life because your home is now engulfed in flames. And if you’re fine with an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, well, if it experiences a major accident, then Bubba Gump Shrimp is out of business. And I’m sure the tourists won’t be coming back to the beach due to not wanting to take a dip in oil sludge. Still, why buy oil from the station when you can get it all for free? Just go down to the shore line where the water used to be. And I didn’t even get to the effects of climate change. Now do people experience such problems with renewable energy? No, because you don’t need to remove mountain tops for solar power or frack for wind energy. That being said, the true cost of fossil fuels is much higher than the cost of most renewable energy technologies with the possible exception of nuclear power.

24. CO2 limits will make little difference– Well, if it’s only confined to a single country, then its CO2 emissions reduction will make little difference. However, if every nation agrees to limit CO2 emissions, we can achieve significant cuts on a global scale, especially if it pertains to nations like the US and China. Basically as far as the science goes, we all either take measures to reduce CO2 emissions together or we’re doomed. However, if you want the US to get on board with fighting climate change, then you must find a way to bankrupt the Koch Brothers and their allies because they’re the reason why so many Republicans deny climate change in the first place.

This chart shows many ways we can combat climate change. And as of 2016, we have much of the technology available.

This chart shows many ways we can combat climate change. And as of 2016, we have much of the technology available.

25. We don’t have the technology necessary to fix global warming– Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change. Among these are renewed fuel economy, reduced reliance on cars, more efficient buildings, improved power plant efficiency, storage of carbon captured in power plants, storage of carbon captured in hydrogen plants, storage of carbon captured in synthetic fuels plants, wind power, solar photovoltaic power, renewable hydrogen, biofuels, forest management, and agricultural soils management. Nuclear power and substituting coal for natural gas are also listed but I didn’t include them because nuclear power isn’t safe, especially in a disaster and natural gas involves hydrofracking and is pretty much a Diet Coke option as a fossil fuel to begin with (meaning while it’s not as bad as coal or oil, it’s still a fossil fuel that pollutes and gives of CO2 emissions. And then there’s fracking and explosions to worry about. Seriously, I wouldn’t recommend this). Sure reducing greenhouse gas emissions may be difficult but it’s possible. However, if the US wants to go forward with reducing CO2 emissions, then I think Republicans must stop denying climate change as well as stop relying on the Koch Brothers as well as the energy and industrial companies for campaign cash when they’re up for election.

26. Climate is chaotic and can’t be predicted– As we all know, weather can be rather chaotic as you see on the news with the weather report. Seriously, you probably know your local weatherman has gotten the forecast wrong at least once. However, climate doesn’t work this way since it’s driven by the earth’s energy imbalance, which is more predictable. Also, long term trends. Thus, the chaotic nature of turbulence is no real obstacle for climate modeling.

This is a diagram on how a solar cell can store baseload power. So apparently, the climate skeptics were wrong. Don't you think?

This is a diagram on how a solar cell can store baseload power. So apparently, the climate skeptics were wrong. Don’t you think?

27. Renewable energy can’t provide baseload power– A popular myth is that some types of renewable energy don’t provide baseload power and require an equivalent of backup power provided by fossil fuels. However, this is bullshit. Still, while renewable energy doesn’t necessarily need to provide baseload power in the short-term, there are several ways in which it can do so if need be. Geothermal energy is available at all times. Concentrated solar thermal energy has storage capability. Wind energy can be stored in compressed air. Then there’s hydroelectric power is cheap, clean, as well as good for baseload and meeting peak demand despite being limited by available natural sources.

28. CO2 limits won’t cool the planet– Maybe not. However, continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century. If we decrease CO2 emissions, temperatures will still be warm but then stabilize. So while CO2 limits won’t cool the planet, they won’t make things worse.

Those who keep tropical fish know that they have to keep their aquariums set to particular conditions. Any slight changes in temperature could be detrimental to fish and put the water chemistry out of whack. It kind of operates on the same principles when it comes to how global warming causes ocean acidification. And yes, as tropical fish owners know, a change of a few degrees does make a big difference.

Those who keep tropical fish know that they have to keep their aquariums set to particular conditions. Any slight changes in temperature could be detrimental to fish and put the water chemistry out of whack. It kind of operates on the same principles when it comes to how global warming causes ocean acidification. And yes, as tropical fish owners know, a change of a few degrees does make a big difference.

29. Well, temperatures are increasing only a few degrees– Yes, but an increase of a few degrees has a huge impact on ice sheets, sea levels, and other aspects of climate. While nature can be quite resilient at times, in other ways, it’s a very fragile thing. Think of how tropical fish owners have to keep their aquariums at a certain temperature range at all times since water temperature in the natural world determines which organisms will thrive or die. A small increase in a tank’s temperature could change the water in so many significant ways as well as put added stress on the fish or possibly kill them. In fact, you stuff like this going on in the oceans as I speak as average global temperatures in these bodies of water have increased by about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century.

No, I don't think building an ark is a great way for adapting to climate change. Economists say that while preventing global warming is relatively cheap, they can't even estimate the accelerating costs of climate change if we do nothing.

No, I don’t think building an ark is a great way for adapting to climate change. Economists say that while preventing global warming is relatively cheap, they can’t even estimate the accelerating costs of climate change if we do nothing.

30. Adapting to global warming is cheaper than preventing it– Just say that when many of your major cities are under water. Or if you live in an island nation, your whole country. But as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And nothing emphasizes this more than the struggle against climate change. According to scientists, while preventing global warming is relatively cheap, economists can’t even accurately estimate the accelerating costs of climate change if we continue with business as usual.

While many contrarians tend to argue that global warming doesn't exist due to record snow on the ground, these people have no idea how climate change works. In fact, many scientists point out that climate change increases evaporation which means more precipitation. And this is consistent with record snowfall in cold weather.

While many contrarians tend to argue that global warming doesn’t exist due to record snow on the ground, these people have no idea how climate change works. In fact, many scientists point out that climate change increases evaporation which means more precipitation. And this is consistent with record snowfall in cold weather.

31. Record snowfall disproves global warming– Sorry, but global warming doesn’t work that way. Claiming that record snowfall is inconsistent with global warming betrays a lack of understanding of the link between climate change and extreme precipitation. Warming causes more moisture in the air which leads to more extreme precipitation events. This includes more heavy snowstorms in regions where snowfall conditions are favorable, particularly in areas with average winter temperatures as near the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention, in northern and colder regions, temperatures are often too cold for very heavy snow so warming could bring more favorable snowstorm conditions. Thus, record snowfalls are consistent with more extreme precipitation events pertaining to global warming and far from contradicting it. Not to mention, while snowstorms have declined the American lower Midwest, South, and West Coast, they’ve increased in the upper Midwest, East, and Northeast with an overall upward national trend. Besides, global temperatures within the last few months of record snowfall have been the hottest on record and it’s said that snowstorms were more common during warmer and wetter years during the 20th century.

Here is a chart of all the health effects that stem from climate change. And yes, it's not pretty as you see.

Here is a chart of all the health effects that stem from climate change. And yes, it’s not pretty as you see.

32. Climate change isn’t urgent– Newsflash: it is and it is increasingly so. It’s not obvious because a large amount of warming is delayed. But some of the research suggests that if we want to keep the earth’s climate within the range humans have experienced, then we must leave nearly all the remaining fossil fuels in the ground. If we don’t act now, we could push the climate beyond tipping points where the situation spirals out of control.

The effects of soot on global warming are unknown. However, the reduction of black carbon has more to do with it being a key contributor to air pollution and detrimental to human health.

The effects of soot on global warming are unknown. However, the reduction of black carbon has more to do with it being a key contributor to air pollution and detrimental to human health.

33. Soot is mostly to blame for global warming– Sure black carbon is a pollutant and does contribute somewhat to global warming. But soot only remains in the atmosphere for days and weeks and doesn’t accumulate like CO2. Still, black carbon’s effects as a pollutant are more apparent and pertain to air pollution that leads to serious and well documented health effects. They’re also accompanied by CO and volatile organic compounds (VOCS) which are also terrible. And yes, such compounds should be eliminated because they kill people. CO2 emissions, on the other hand cause global warming for centuries and can remain in the atmosphere for over 100 years which is why reducing CO2 emissions should be a top priority. Not to mention, CFCs have also been blamed for global warming but the reality is that they contribute only to a small amount. And their main damage had more to do with creating a hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica.

34. Ozone has been causing global warming– Multiple satellite and ground based observations have determined that the ozone layer has stopped declining since 1995 while temperature trends have continued upwards.

While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 it only contributes to 28% of the warming CO2 does. However, this doesn't mean that having methane in the atmosphere isn't a problem. Because it is.

While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 it only contributes to 28% of the warming CO2 does. However, this doesn’t mean that having methane in the atmosphere isn’t a problem. Because it is.

35. Methane contributes to global warming– Yes, it does and there’s no arguing with that which is why I’m no fan of Marcellus Shale drilling. And yes, methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. However, there is over 200 times more CO2 in the atmosphere. Thus, the amount of warming methane contributes only consists of 28% of what CO2 does. Nevertheless, that’s not to say that methane can be ignored because we should reduce methane levels and the trend in increasing methane has slowed down and leveled off since the 1990s. But with the natural gas drilling boom, that might change. Thus, while methane only plays a minor role, it could get much worse if the permafrost starts to melt.

36. The Infrared Iris will reduce global warming– Introduced in 2001, according to Skeptical Science: “The infrared iris hypothesis suggests that increased sea surface temperature in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus clouds and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth’s atmosphere.  This radiation leakage in turn would have a cooling effect, dampening global warming as a negative feedback.” Since that time, subsequent studies have found little supporting evidence for it. And as far as the science goes now, that if the Infared Iris Effect exists it either has a much smaller impact at reducing global warming than originally hypothesized or possibly amplify it.

This is a political cartoon pertaining the the Climategate Scandal which involved some hacked e-mails taken way out of context. Investigations have cleared the scientists involved of wrongdoing, however. But don't tell that to global warming deniers.

This is a political cartoon pertaining the the Climategate Scandal which involved some hacked e-mails taken way out of context. Investigations have cleared the scientists involved of wrongdoing, however. But don’t tell that to global warming deniers.

37. The Climategate CRU hacked e-mails suggest a conspiracy– In 2009 the servers at the University of East Anglia in Britain were hacked and e-mails were stolen. When a selection of these e-mails between climate scientists were published on the internet, a few suggestive quotes were seized upon by many who believed that global warming is all just a conspiracy. However, in reality, they have taken the e-mails out of context thinking that they confirmed what they’ve probably believed for years and ran with it. Several independent investigations from different countries investigated the stolen e-mails and found no evidence of wrongdoing. So in the end, those few suggestive e-mails only served as a distraction from the wealth of empirical evidence of manmade global warming.

Al Gore's 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth is about as informative on climate change as it is controversial. Does Gore get stuff wrong this? Probably. However, experts have called this film broadly accurate as well as what Gore said, an inconvenient truth.

Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth is about as informative on climate change as it is controversial. Does Gore get stuff wrong this? Probably. However, experts have called this film broadly accurate as well as what Gore said, an inconvenient truth.

38. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth got it wrong– Al Gore may be no scientist but you have to admire his advocacy on fighting climate change since he’s done a lot to publicize the issue in ways no one else has, especially when it came to his film An Inconvenient Truth. While the film may not be 100% accurate, it accurately represents the science as it stood, a fact that’s been confirmed by expert witnesses and subsequent scientific research. And it’s far more accurate than anything climate change deniers come up with.

Greenland may never have been green since its icesheet was found to be over 400,000 years old. However, today because of climate change, Greenland is now extensively losing ice.

Greenland may never have been green since its icesheet was found to be over 400,000 years old. However, today because of climate change, Greenland is now extensively losing ice.

39. Greenland used to be green– Well, according to Icelandic Vikings who discovered it 1,000 years ago, maybe. But it’s sort of established that Erik the Red named it Greenland to encourage Viking settlers to go there. So the only “green” in “Greenland” was probably in Erik the Red’s pocket. And besides, the Vikings only established 2 or 3 settlements on there anyway. Nevertheless, 80% of Greenland is covered in an ice sheet that’s about 400,000-800,000 years old. While there was a Medieval Warming Anomaly during the medieval period, the effect wasn’t global and the average temperatures were lower than today. And if there was any warming in Greenland in the Middle Ages it was caused by natural factors which are probably not responsible for today’s global warming. Today, satellite images and ground observations show that Greenland is extensively losing ice as a whole. And we should remember when Greenland was 3-5 degrees warmer a large portion of its icesheet melted.

While it's somehow believed that negative cloud feedback could reduce climate change, most studies have ruled it out since clouds don't provide much negative feedback at all. And it's believed that clouds might cause the planet to warm even further.

While it’s somehow believed that negative cloud feedback could reduce climate change, most studies have ruled it out since clouds don’t provide much negative feedback at all. And it’s believed that clouds might cause the planet to warm even further.

40. Clouds can provide negative feedback that will cancel out human caused global warming– The effect of clouds in a warming world is complicated. According to one notion it’s said that low level clouds tend to cool by reflecting sunlight while high level clouds warm by trapping heat. However, a couple studies have found that cloud feedback in the tropics and subtropics have a positive feedback which could cause the planet to warm even further. So it’s unlikely that clouds could cause enough cooling to offset much of the human caused global warming.

Here I present a diagram that states that CO2 doesn't have a big presence in the atmosphere and is therefore insignificant to climate change. However, while CO2 is a trace gas, it's about as insignificant in the atmosphere as alcohol is your bloodstream on a Friday night when you're driving home after having a few beers. Small amounts of very active substances can have large effects whether it pertains to climate change or your breathylzer test.

Here I present a diagram that states that CO2 doesn’t have a big presence in the atmosphere and is therefore insignificant to climate change. However, while CO2 is a trace gas, it’s about as insignificant in the atmosphere as alcohol is your bloodstream on a Friday night when you’re driving home after having a few beers. Small amounts of very active substances can have large effects whether it pertains to climate change or your breathylzer test.

41. CO2 is only a trace gas– Yes, it may be. But small amounts of very active substances can cause large effects. For instance if your blood/alcohol level appears as 800 ppm on a breathylzer test or 0.08%, you shouldn’t go into a car with your hands on the wheel. Because that’s drunk driving which will give you a 5 year manslaughter sentence if you end up killing somebody. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere might be small compared to other gases. However the total CO2 molecules around our heads is more important than their percentage in the atmosphere. And we know the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased along with global temperatures because scientists have measured it. Nevertheless, while an increase can still be a trace, it could make a large difference and not for the better.

When studying climate change, ice core samples have been proven quite instrumental in measuring climate conditions in the past. Plant stomata data, not so much.

When studying climate change, ice core samples have been proven quite instrumental in measuring climate conditions in the past. Plant stomata data, not so much.

42. Plant stomata show higher and more variable CO2 levels– Plant stomatal data isn’t as direct or reliable as ice core measurements and hence not as precise. Several ice core data sets are essentially consistent and are direct measurements of air that have been enclosed in bubbles. This is certainly the case in the Greenland Plant stomatal data doesn’t show this or as much as proponents would like.

As sea levels rise, the existence of entire island nations are increasingly in jeopardy. This Pacific Islander is holding as sign asking the rest of the world to prepare a place where her country can stay. To some, climate change might mean losing a way of life or a home. To this girl, it means losing a country and everything with it.

As sea levels rise, the existence of entire island nations are increasingly in jeopardy. This Pacific Islander is holding as sign asking the rest of the world to prepare a place where her country can stay. To some, climate change might mean losing a way of life or a home. To this girl, it means losing a country and everything with it. And to her, climate change is a bigger threat to her nation’s security than terrorism.

43. Sea levels aren’t rising– Sorry, but they are and it’s a serious problem. Because if we don’t act against climate change now, then it’s likely that a lot of our major cities would be entirely underwater. And between 1950-2009, the sea level of the island nation of Tuvalu rose 5.1 mm per year which is 3 times average global level sea level rise. The fact sea levels of rising has created quite a concern for many island nations like Fiji, Kiribati, Maldives, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Palau, and Vanuatu. Though sea level rise isn’t always level since the heat content isn’t spread evenly over the oceans, the general trend has been a concern for many island nations whose existence might put them in jeopardy.

44. An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature– Despite the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and surface temperatures, atmospheric CO2 levels are rising so fast that unless we dramatically decrease our emissions, global warming will accelerate over the 21st century. And as business as usual continues, we are currently at a pace to double the current CO2 concentration within the next 60 to 80 years. Thus an exponential increase will outpace its logarithmic relationship with surface temperatures causing global warming to accelerate unless we take serious steps.

Another pervasive myth that seems to live on is that investing in renewable resources will take away more jobs that it will create. Time and time again, studies have proven this false. In fact, green energy creates more without having to cause a single oil spill.

Another pervasive myth that seems to live on is that investing in renewable resources will take away more jobs that it will create. Time and time again, studies have proven this false. In fact, green energy creates more without having to cause a single oil spill.

45. Renewable energy investment kills jobs– Now this is a pervasive myth about climate change that I’ve heard several hundred times during my lifetime. There’s a Spanish economist from a libertarian think tank that receives funding from Exxon Mobil (of Exxon-Valdez) who claims that every new job created for investing in renewable energy destroys 2.2 conventional jobs. However, this claim is based on a study that relies on incorrect numbers, cherrypicked dates, faulty theory, flawed methodology, and has been disproven by real world examples. In reality, renewable energy investment and development creates more jobs than fossil fuel energy. Not to mention, it results in fewer workplace health and safety risks as well as less environmental damage in disasters. Besides, while fossil fuel may be seen as cheap at first, its market price doesn’t account for various external costs. While renewable energy may be more expensive at first, extra money invested in renewable energy could be spent elsewhere to create new jobs in different sectors of the economy.

While humans have survived climate changes before, they were usually ice ages that took place before the dawn of civilization. It's not like the climate change we're going through now, which is mostly caused by CO2 emissions.

While humans have survived climate changes before, they were usually ice ages that took place before the dawn of civilization. It’s not like the climate change we’re going through now, which is mostly caused by CO2 emissions.

46. Humans have survived past climate changes– Yes, but they were mostly cold ones and mostly in our distant past like ice ages which took place before civilization. And at that time, most of those climate changes were caused by natural factors like orbital wobbles, solar fluctuations, and continental drifts. But since civilization, climate hasn’t changed much until recent years. The climate change we’re experiencing now is clearly manmade. But since our human ancestors have been on earth, average global temperatures have never been 3 degrees Celsius warmer than now. In the next 100 years, our children will be the first people to experience that kind of climate.

Here's a map of the US during a heat wave it experienced in 2011. Seems like Texas is a real red state in this like hotter than hell. And that state's politicians aren't known for their climate advocacy. Quite the opposite.

Here’s a map of the US during a heat wave it experienced in 2011. Seems like Texas is a real red state in this like hotter than hell. And that state’s politicians aren’t known for their climate advocacy. Quite the opposite.

47. Heatwaves have happened before– Yes, heatwaves have happened before but that doesn’t mean the extreme heatwaves we have now is natural because it’s not. Global warming is causing more frequent heatwaves as record-breaking temperatures are happening 5 times more often than they would without any human caused global warming .This means that there’s an 80% chance that any monthly heat record today is due to human caused global warming. If we continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels, extreme heatwaves will become the norm across most of the world by the late 21st century. However, if we take major steps to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions, the number of extreme heatwaves will stabilize in 2040.

48. Removing all CO2 would make little difference– According to Skeptical Science, “75% of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor and clouds, which rain out of the atmosphere if it cools. This makes water vapor a strong positive feedback to any change in non-condensing greenhouse gases. CO2 constitutes 80% of the non-condensing greenhouse gas forcing. Removing CO2 would remove most of the water, cancelling most of the greenhouse effect and cooling the Earth by 30 C.”

Here's a diagram of energy inputs into the earth's climate system. Notice that energy from the earth's interior only makes a small segment compared to solar and human produced energy.

Here’s a diagram of energy inputs into the earth’s climate system. Notice that energy from the earth’s interior only makes a small segment compared to solar and human produced energy.

49. Underground temperatures control climate– Good grief. Well, according to Skeptical Science, “The flow of energy outwards from the interior of the Earth is 1/10,000th of the size of the energy flow from the Sun. Furthermore, over the past few million years, the heatflow from deep in the Earth has also remained very steady compared to other climatic factors. Heat from the bowels of the Earth does not influence climate in any significant way.” Besides, we can use geothermal energy as a renewable resource that will keep us off from fossil fuel dependency. And many of us have bathed in natural hot springs.

Things have been heating up in the frozen Arctic due to the ice melting at an alarming rate. And declining sea ice has been a critical factor in that.

Things have been heating up in the frozen Arctic due to the ice melting at an alarming rate. And declining sea ice has been a critical factor in that.

50. Melting ice isn’t warming the Arctic– Uh, yes it is. It certainly is. Empirical evidence from the past two decades reveals that declining sea ice cover and thickness have been great enough to enhance Arctic warming during most of the year. Not to mention, more sunlight being absorbed through the water. And according to Skeptical Science, “Decline in sea ice is the major driver of Arctic amplification. This is evidence by the pattern of atmospheric warming over the Arctic. Maximum warming occurs over the surface during winter while less surface warming is found in summer when heat is being used to melt sea ice. This pattern is consistent with sea ice amplification.”

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State Birds That Should Be

John Oliver has once said that there are two things that American states are bad at: civil rights and state birds. Of course, anyone who’s studied African American history would understand the former, especially since the states’ lousiness to utter lack of interest in protecting civil rights was the driving reason in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, I’ve written a few posts explaining why that is (such as one on the Charleston shooting and the Confederate Flag). However, I haven’t brushed on the other subject like state birds. Now I know it’s not nearly important but we have to understand that while the Founding Fathers were absolutely right to name the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, our states have been absolutely horrible in selecting a bird that best represents them. I mean there are several states with the same one like the Northern Mockingbird, the Northern Cardinal, the Eastern Bluebird, the Eastern Goldfinch, the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Western Meadowlark, the Mountain Bluebird, and the American Robin as well as others with birds that don’t seem to really represent them. Some aren’t even very unique. For instance, as a native and lifelong resident in Pennsylvania, I have never seen a Ruffed Grouse. I have seen a Great Blue Heron, a seagull, a Norther Harrier, a Bufflehead, and even a Pilated Woodpecker in my area. But I have never seen a freaking Ruffed Grouse in Pennsylvania in all of my freaking life. Not a single one. Maybe the wild turkey might not be a great national symbol but it would’ve been a way better state bird for Pennsylvania than the Ruffed Grouse. At least I’ve seen wild turkeys from my neck of the woods. Nevertheless, we have 50 states in the US as well as hundreds of native birds in our country to choose from. It’s not like several states have to pick the same one. Here I list my opinion for what I think should be the state bird for each of the 50 states of the United States of America.

  1. Alabama
While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama's association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama’s association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

Official State Bird: Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer)

Why It Sucks: For one, this bird was chosen with its association to Confederate soldiers, which may be something Alabama may take pride in. However, I’m sure this bird’s association with Confederacy won’t sit well with the state’s minority populations. Also, there’s not a lot of flickers in Alabama anyway.

Best Candidate: Northern Mockingbird

Why: Sure I know it’s a common and boring bird. But Alabama was a major center of the American Civil Rights Movement as well as home to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, a book closely identified with it. Besides, the Civil Rights Movement was a major event that put Alabama on the map and what most people identify this state with. Still, if the Northern Mockingbird has to be a state bird, then it should be in Alabama.

Other Options: Blue Jay, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Brown Pelican, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Cockated Woodpecker

  1. Alaska
Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it's even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it’s even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Official State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan

Why It Sucks: It’s a very common bird in Alaska, which is home to 69 species of birds that only breed there. It’s also not a bird most people imagine when they think about Alaska. Also, the name is dumb.

Best Candidate: Snowy Owl

Why: Well, I might be biased since Harry Potter owned one named Hedwig. However, this is possibly one of the birds someone imagines when they think about Alaska. This is a majestic, arctic bird of prey, which has all the makings of a truly great state bird that Alaska can be proud of.

Other Options: Horned Puffin, Gyrfalcon, Arctic Tern, Arctic Loon, Pacific Loon, Aleutian Tern, Little Auk, Great Gray Owl, Glaucous Gull, America Tree Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Emperor Goose, Wood Duck, American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Horned Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Boreal Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin, Greater Scaup, Sandhill Crane, Semipalmated Plover, American Golden Plover, Solitary Sandpiper

  1. Arizona
While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

Official State Bird: Cactus Wren

Why It Sucks: Not bad, Arizona. After all this is a desert state and the Cactus Wren is a desert bird. However, I’m not sure if it’s unique enough since Arizona isn’t the only desert state.

Best Candidate: Gila Woodpecker

Why: Well, they’re very adaptable birds in the Sonoran Desert and are associated with Saguaro cactus and Mesquite. Besides, while the Cactus Wren looks boring, the Gila Woodpecker has neat zebra wings. Not to mention, it has a bigger range than the Cactus Wren.

Other Options: Anna’s Hummingbird, California Condor, Yellow Junco, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Magnificent Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Steller’s Jay, Gilded Flicker, Phainopepla, Painted Whitestart, Bullock’s Oriole, Ferruginous Hawk, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mexican Jay, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Gray Hawk, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Red-Faced Warbler, Gambel’s Quail

  1. Arkansas
The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: Because it’s the state bird of 5 states and Arkansas has one of the worst reasons to claim it.

Best Candidate: Pileated Woodpecker

Why: Now this is possibly the largest woodpecker in North America (if the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is extinct by this point). Not to mention, its large size gives it a strong unmistakable presence. It’s also very adaptable in forest and other environments unlike the Ivory-Billed. Still, this is a very awesome and unique American bird.

Other Options: Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, Easter Towhee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, American Crow, Eastern Whippoorwill, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Painted Bunting

  1. California
Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it's been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It's also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it’s been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It’s also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Official State Bird: California Quail

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique bird for California. But it’s been misplaced in a lot of movies that some people think it lives almost anywhere (thanks to Disney, no doubt). Also, it’s a game bird and not one that embodies the spirit of the state.

Best Candidate: California Condor

Why: Because this scavenging vulture is the largest land birds of North America as well as one of the longest living. Not to mention, the state managed to have a successful breeding program and helped reintroduce them in the wild. It’s also a significant bird to California Native American tribes as well as plays an important role in several of their myths. It’s not an attractive bird but it’s a remarkable bird nevertheless.

Other Options: Western Gull, California Gull, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Pacific Loon, Laysan Albatross, Red-Billed Tropicbird, California Thrasher, Yellow-Billed Magpie, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Violet-Green Swallow, Cassin’s Kingbird, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting, Tufted Duck, Clark’s Grebe, Black Storm Petrel, Brandt’s Cormorant, California Towhee, White-Tailed Kite, Flammulated Owl, Spotted Owl, Black Phoebe, American Dipper, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Acorn Woodpecker, California Least Tern, Mountain Quail

  1. Colorado
The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek

The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek “strutting display” as groups of females observe and select the most attractive to mate with. And only a few males do most of the breeding.

Official State Bird: Lark Bunting

Why It Sucks: Yes, it’s a unique bird and the male is quite nice looking but it’s quite rare even in its own state.

Best Candidate: Gunnison Sage Grouse

Why: It is one of the rarest birds in North America and its population is only in a small area of Colorado. It’s also a truly unique bird in its own right with a great feather display and are notable in their unique courtship rituals. Also, most experts recommend this.

Other Options: Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Calliope Hummingbird, Brown Capped Rosy Finch, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Greater Sage Grouse, American Three-Toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Brown-Capped Rosy Finch, Boreal Owl

  1. Connecticut
Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they're also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they're known to chase hawks and owls.

Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they’re also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they’re known to chase hawks and owls.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird in 3 states which means that Connecticut should find a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Blue Jay

Why: For one, it’s a common North American bird and a rather iconic one. It’s also a rather feisty bird known to chase predatory birds like hawks and owls as well as make a variety of sounds. Besides, it’s been cited in a couple of works by Mark Twain, one of Connecticut’s most famous residents (and let’s just say the state is home to a lot of celebrities). Why the Blue Jay isn’t already a state bird in this country, I have no idea. But it’s a better choice than the American Robin.

Other Options: Killdeer, Great Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Connecticut Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Delaware
Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a

Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a “broken wing display” in order to direct a predator’s attention away from its chicks. Of course, human activity at beaches has led to a population decline that conservationists have reserved beaches for them during breeding season.

Official State Bird: Delaware Blue Hen

Why It Sucks: Face it, it’s a domesticated chicken that makes for a very lame mascot at one of its universities. Not to mention, it’s not even recognized as a chicken breed for God’s sake. It’s just a state bird due its significance in a Revolutionary War regiment in the state. And its main use was in cockfighting. Real nice. Yeah, it’s a stupid state bird in a state that’s only known for Joe Biden, corporate friendly tax rates, Dr. Oz, and not much else.

Best Candidate: Piping Plover

Why: For one, the Delaware Audubon Society has a whole article on it as an Endangered Species. Second, it’s a shorebird and is quite small and Delaware is home to a lot of coastal birds. Third, Delaware even has a program to restore this bird’s population, which has led to the state closing a beach section during its breeding season. And like Delaware, it doesn’t look anything special.

Other Options: Red Knot, Seaside Sparrow, Purple Martin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Florida
Now the American Flamingo isn't as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it's only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it's still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn't Florida's state bird already is beyond me.

Now the American Flamingo isn’t as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it’s only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it’s still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn’t Florida’s state bird already is beyond me.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states with one of them being Texas. Florida has one of the worst excuses since it has a rather diverse bird population, particularly in the Everglades which was designated as a National Park to preserve some of them. And all the birds they could’ve had to represent their state, they had to pick a small one that’s found everywhere. Really? That’s stupid.

Best Candidate: American Flamingo

Why: Basically, it’s such an iconic bird in Florida that it’s their unofficial state bird already. Of course, they’re not as common as they used to be in the state but as 2015, it’s been said that they’ve returned to the Everglades since about 147 have been seen there during the latest breeding season. Still, when you think of Florida, the American Flamingo is the first bird you think about. This is mostly because its likeness has been used in many tacky lawn decorations by Florida residents and others.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, American White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Sora, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Calliope Hummingbird, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Florida Scrub-Jay, Purple Martin, Painted Bunting, Hooded Merganser, Tricolored Heron, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Smooth-Billed Ani, Reddish Egret

  1. Georgia
The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It's said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you'd expect for their size.

The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It’s said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you’d expect for their size.

Official State Bird: Brown Thrasher

Why It Sucks: Well, for one, it’s not a compelling bird. Also, it had a hockey team named the Atlanta Thrashers which relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames. It’s also a rather common bird in the Southeastern US. Other than that, it’s not a terrible choice, just not one I think is good for Georgia.

Best Candidate: Eastern Towhee

Why: It is a large and striking species of sparrow that stands out better than the Brown Thrasher. Sure it’s a common eastern bird but it’s a permanent resident of Georgia as well as carries a nice sound, too. It’s also more common than a Brown Thrasher.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Audubon’s Shearwater, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, American White Ibis, Black Vulture, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike

  1. Hawaii
The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

Official State Bird: Nene (Hawaiian Goose)

Why It Sucks: Now the Nene might seem like a great tropical state bird for Hawaii since it’s rather unique to the islands. However, the fact that it’s a goose is kind of disappointing to say the least. Besides, Hawaii must have other more interesting species than this one. Not the kind of bird I’d want to see on a postcard from there.

Best Candidate: Pueo (Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl)

Why: Well, because this owl is a rather significant bird in Hawaiian folklore as one of the physical forms of the ancestor spirits. It is deemed as a sacred family protector and bringer of good luck, despite being endangered. Besides, an owl is a better state bird than a goose any day of the week.

Other Options: Brant Goose, Laysan Albatross, Black-Footed Albatross, Hawaiian Petrel, Bonin Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Black Noddy, Kauaʻi ʻelepaio, Oʻahu ʻelepaio, Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio, ʻŌmaʻo, Nihoa Finch, Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, Liwi, ʻAnianiau, ʻApapane, Red Crested Cardinal, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Stilt

  1. Idaho
Now the Pinyon Jay isn't a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Now the Pinyon Jay isn’t a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Because it shares its state bird with Nevada. Not to mention, there aren’t many in that state.

Best Candidate: Pinyon Jay

Why: Well, for one, Idaho State University has a press venture named after it. Second, despite it appearing in a few southern Idaho counties, it seems to have a rather special place in that state. However, unlike the Mountain Bluebird, the Pinyon Jay is said to be seen in Idaho every month of the year, especially during the summer.

Other Options: Franklin’s Gull, Western Gull, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Band-Tailed Pidgeon, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Great Gray Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Gray Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Bullock’s Oriole, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Rufous Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcon, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, White-Throated Swift, Boreal Owl

  1. Illinois
The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It's the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It's said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It’s the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It’s said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: Because the Northern Cardinal is the state bird for 7 states. That’s more than how many states have been home to Abraham Lincoln who spent most of his life there.

Best Candidate: Greater Prairie Chicken

Why: While it’s not as common in Illinois as the Northern Cardinal and only found in Southern Illinois, it’s nevertheless a rather unique bird to the state. They also kind of have a great combination of Springfield folksiness you’d associate with Lincoln as well as the badassery and rowdiness you’d associate with Chicago.

Other Options: Common Loon, White Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Goldfinch, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, Dickcissel, Eastern Kingbird, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Indiana
The Bobolink is said to be one of the world's most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it's said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

The Bobolink is said to be one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it’s said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: As with Illinois, it’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than states claiming to be the home of Abraham Lincoln, who spent his later childhood and teenage years there.

Best Candidate: Bobolink

Why: Besides its awesome name and unique appearance, this is a much more unique bird to Indiana than the Northern Cardinal which is everywhere. Bobolinks are only prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Besides, it has an awesome color scheme.

Other Options: White-Breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-Eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Purple Martin, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Iowa
The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Well, despite having a good reason for the Eastern Goldfinch, it’s also the state bird of New Jersey and Washington.

Best Candidate: Dickcissel

Why: Let’s face it, this is a unique bird in the Midwest and Iowa is a state best known for its agriculture. It also has a great unique name as well as polygynous mating habits, which is rare for a songbird. But it kind of fits well how Iowa was one of the first states to legalize gay marriage, a measure nobody expected.

Other Options: Red-Winged Blackbird, Greater Prairie Chicken, American Kestrel, Rough-Legged Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Barn Owl, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Mississippi Kite, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Kansas
The American Crow is a true survivor since it's highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They're also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

The American Crow is a true survivor since it’s highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They’re also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

Official State Bird:  Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states, including a couple of its neighbors.

Best Candidate: American Crow

Why: Because the American Crow is among one of the smartest and most underrated North American Birds. Not to mention, Kansas has dealt with a lot of crap during its history such as tornadoes, violent disputes over slavery, the Dust Bowl, terrible school boards, and Sam Brownback. The American Crow has been seen as a pest and there have been efforts to eliminate it. But still, it’s a very resilient and adaptable bird that also fulfills a key purpose like Kansas. So I think it’s one that represents Kansas the best. Besides, it’s about time the American Crow should be a state bird.

Other Options: Ruffed Grouse, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Mississippi Kite, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Barn Owl, Prairie Falcon, Dickcissel, Whooping Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Kentucky
The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a

The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a “blue cardinal” because that’s what it pretty much is.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than those who claim to be the Land of Lincoln. Of course, this was where Lincoln was born.

Best Candidate: Blue Grosbeak

Why: For one, it’s in the same family as the Northern Cardinal. Second, since Kentucky is known as “the Bluegrass State” it’s only fair that it should be represented by a bird with blue feathers. I think it’s a good compromise.

Other Options: Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, American Kestrel, Kentucky Warbler, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak, Red-Winged Blackbird. American Crow, Purple Martin, Blue Grosbeak, American Kestrel, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Louisiana
Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn't spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana's state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn’t spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana’s state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Official State Bird: Brown Pelican

Why It Sucks: Well, this isn’t a bad state bird since Louisiana is known as “the Pelican State.” But it’s not an attractive bird. Also, it’s not even the pelican that appears on its state flag. Besides, it’s not a common bird in Louisiana.

Best Candidate: American White Pelican

Why: Because the pelican on the Louisiana State Flag is always white, not brown. To have the American White Pelican as its state bird would make much better sense. And unlike the Brown Pelican, it does spend time in Louisiana (though it doesn’t necessarily breed there).

Other Options: Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Wood Duck, Wood Stork, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Belted Kingfisher, Crested Caracara, Louisiana Waterthrush, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Maine
The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine's most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Massachusetts. It’s also a rather common American bird as well. It’s cute but Maine can do better.

Best Candidate: Atlantic Puffin

Why: It’s not a common bird in Maine (residing on 5 islands off the coast) but it has at least 2 things going for it, especially since attempts to restore it to its historical range have been successful in the state. For one, it’s one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers. There are even boating tours to see these birds during the summer. Second, it’s basically the only state in the US where these adorable Subarctic birds reside. Thus, while it’s adorable, it’s also one of the most unique birds in Maine.

Other Options: Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Spruce Grouse, Blue Jay, American Kestrel, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Philadelphia Vireo, Common Raven, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Seaside Sparrow, Red Wing Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Maryland
Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he's most famous for

Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he’s most famous for “The Raven” so would the Common Raven. Not to mention, Maryland is home to the Baltimore Ravens but we’ll discuss Ray Lewis’s murder allegations nevermore.

Official State Bird: Baltimore Oriole

Why It Sucks: While it does make sense for Maryland to have this as their state bird as well as a name of Baltimore’s Major League Baseball team, there aren’t many in the state.

Best Candidate: Common Raven

Why: Aside from the Baltimore Oriole, this is the other bird identified with Maryland. Edgar Allan Poe is associated with the city of Baltimore despite the fact he only lived there for 2 years and dying there in 1849 under interesting circumstances. Nevertheless, he’s buried there though. He’s best known for his poem, “The Raven” from where the Baltimore Ravens get their name (though they were previously the Cleveland Browns before moving there). Sure it might not be a common bird in the state, but it’s a rather significant one due to its connection to Poe and American Literature. Besides, more people are familiar with Poe’s “The Raven” than Lord Baltimore.

Other Options: Osprey, Barnacle Goose, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Wood Stork, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Killdeer, Royal Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, American Oystercatcher, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Massachusetts
Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they're actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can't fly higher than a quarter mile.

Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they’re actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can’t fly higher than a quarter mile.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Maine. Cute but Massachusetts can do better.

Best Candidate: Wild Turkey

Why: For one, it’s the Massachusetts state game bird so it probably has reasonable appeal as a state symbol. Second, like Massachusetts, it’s associated with Thanksgiving, an American national holiday. Third, it was even recommended as a national symbol by Benjamin Franklin who was a native of Boston. Let’s just say between this bird and the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Wild Turkey is a more appropriate choice for Massachusetts’ state bird.

Other Options: Kirtland’s Warbler, Piping Plover, Blue Jay, Chimney Swift, Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Dark-Eyed Junco, Great Blue Heron, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Norther Goshawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Common Tern, Red Wing Blackbird, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Michigan
Kirtland's Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan's jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear's guts.

Kirtland’s Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan’s jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear’s guts.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird in 3 states in the country. Time for Michigan to find a new state bird. Besides, it’s a very common bird anyway when the state can do better.

Best Candidate: Kirtland’s Warbler

Why: For one it’s a bird that pretty much resides in this state which was almost extinct nearly 50 years ago, but they’ve made a recovery. It’s now classified as Near Threatened. Also, it has a community college named after it. Still, it would be a better bird than the American Robin.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Great Blue Heron, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cave Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Shrike, Eastern Kingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Owl, Killdeer, Red-Tailed Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Dark-Eyed Junco, Cooper’s Hawk, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black Tern, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Minnesota
Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it's home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it’s home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Official State Bird: Common Loon

Why It Sucks: Well, the Common Loon is a nice bird. But it usually resides more often in Michigan than Minnesota (even if the latter has a lot of lakes) as well as winters on the American Coast. Minnesota may be in the Great Lakes region but it’s more of an inland state.

Best Candidate: Golden-Winged Warbler

Why: For one, it’s more common in Minnesota than the Common Loon. Second, it’s known to breed in this state as well as in Wisconsin. Still, it may not be a Common Loon but it’s a rather magnificent and more appropriate bird for the state.

Other Options: Sedge Wren, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Parasitic Jaeger, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Piping Plover, Common Tern, Common Redpoll, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Capped Chickadee, Wood Duck, Scarlet Tanager, Great Blue Heron, Blackburnian Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ruffed Grouse, Trumpeter Swan, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Tern, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Mississippi
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states in the country. I’m sure Mississippi has a more diverse bird population that it could do better.

Best Candidate: Great Blue Heron

Why: Let’s just say it’s a prevalent bird in the Mississippi and the Great Egret is already a symbol for The Audubon Society. Mississippi is also known to have wetlands and waterways which the Great Blue Heron is well suited for. Besides, it’s a better state bird choice than the Northern Mockingbird.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Egret, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Herring Gull, American Crow, American Coot, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Belted Kingfisher, Mississippi Kite, Killdeer, Anhinga, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Missouri
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator's intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator’s intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird as New York. And it’s not as common as you might think due to having to compete with invasive species like sparrows and starlings.

Best Candidate: American Kestrel

Why: Missouri has often been in the middle of a lot of stuff during its history. It was a border state during the antebellum years as well as the starting point in the Oregon Trail. It had residents fight on both sides during the American Civil War and was the home of Quantrill’s Raiders (that included the James brothers). Besides, it has a reputation as a bellwether state and is home to a lot of wildlife diversity. And since the American Kestrel is a common bird of prey that lives in a variety of habitats as well as resides in the state year round, I can’t think of better bird to represent the state. Not to mention, it’s known to be quite feisty like Missouri native Harry Truman.

Other Options: Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Blue Jay, Easter Whippoorwill, Henslow’s Sparrow, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Coot, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red Wing Blackbird, Barn Owl, Purple Martin, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Montana
McCown's Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

McCown’s Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s a state bird of 6 states. Besides, Montana is the home to a lot of birds as well, which doesn’t give it much of an excuse.

Best Candidate: McCown’s Longspur

Why: Because it mostly breeds in this state during the summer (along with Wyoming). They also are known for characteristic aerial and song displays. It’s a more unique bird to the state than the Western Meadowlark.

Other Options: Vesper Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Dusky Grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Great Gray Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-Billed Magpie, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, American Crow, Bullock’s Oriole, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pinyon Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Sprauge’s Pipit, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Trumpeter Swan, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Boreal Owl

  1. Nebraska
The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska's Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there's even a Crane festival in March.

The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska’s Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there’s even a Crane festival in March.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird of 6 states. Time for Nebraska to find something else to represent their state.

Best Candidate: Sandhill Crane

Why: Because 500,000 of these birds return to Nebraska’s Platte River every year around February to April. However, it’s one of the largest bird congregation spectacle in North America which brings between 12,000 and 15,000 people to the area each year. There’s even a crane festival in March.

Other Options: Greater Prairie Chicken, Red-Tailed Hawk, Whooping Crane, Killdeer, Blue Jay, Piping Plover, Bobolink, Least Tern, Harris’s Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-Fronted Goose, Mallard Duck, Northern Pintail, Lesser Snow Goose, Black-Billed Magpie, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Nevada
The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I'm sure the male of this species looks like he's straight from Las Vegas.

The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I’m sure the male of this species looks like he’s straight from Las Vegas.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird with Idaho. Besides, Nevada could at least have more showy bird than that. I mean Nevada is famous for tackiness, sin, vice, gambling, quickie divorces, marrying under the influence, materialism, prostitution, atomic testing, and other crazy things. The state bird should reflect that. And the Mountain Bluebird doesn’t really hold a candle to that since it’s too nice.

Best Candidate: Greater Sage Grouse

Why: Despite being more abundant in Wyoming, this is the perfect state bird for Nevada. For one, it inhabits the northern part of state year round. Secondly, the male of the species looks as if you’d expect it to come out of Las Vegas. Not to mention, it has a rather elaborate mating ritual.

Other Options: White-Faced Ibis, Dusky Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Turkey Vulture, Common Black-Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Mountain Plover, Greater Roadrunner, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, Great Gray Owl, Gila Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Tanager, Red Wing Blackbird, Great-Tailed Grackle, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Juniper Titmouse, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper

  1. New Hampshire
The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

Official State Bird: Purple Finch

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s not really purple. Second, the male’s plumage of Neapolitan ice cream getting all mixed up. Third, it’s kind of ugly to say the least.

Best Candidate: Red-Tailed Hawk

Why: Face it, there was a group of 4th graders who wanted it to be their state raptor. Their proposal was turned down in the New Hampshire State Legislature in front of their faces. I think it would be best if the legislature reconvened and named this their state bird instead of the Purple Finch. Besides, its feathers were seen as sacred by many Native American tribes Not only that, but they’re really cool to say the least. Has all kinds of subspecies and morphs, too. Yeah, the Red-Tailed Hawk is awesome and it should be a state bird.

Other Options: Black-Capped Chickadee, American Redstart, Purple Martin, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Goldfinch, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Jersey
The Black Skimmer's remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

The Black Skimmer’s remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird with Iowa and Washington. Also, doesn’t really live up to New Jersey’s reputation if you know what I mean. Besides, it has a better birding acclaim and can do better.

Best Candidate: Black Skimmer

Why: For one, despite New Jersey’s reputation, at least the state is doing something to conserve this bird’s population in its breeding range on the Jersey Shore. Second, you can joke by how this bird’s name describes a lot of New Jersey’s politicians since it has a horrible reputation for corruption.

Other Options: Seaside Sparrow, Wood Duck, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Pie-Billed Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, Royal Tern, Long-Eared Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Mexico
The Steller's Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

The Steller’s Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

Official State Bird: Roadrunner

Why It Sucks: Now this is an appropriate state bird. However, I’m sure there are people in this state who aren’t pleased because they’re fans of Wiley Coyote. Perhaps New Mexico should be represented by a less controversial bird.

Best Candidate: Steller’s Jay

Why: First, it appears in most of New Mexico all year round. Second, its colorful feathers help reflect the state’s vibrant art culture that’s replete with Mexican and Southwest Native American influences. Nevertheless, it’s a very beautiful bird for a state like New Mexico.

Other Options: Chihuahuan Raven, Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Hen Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, White-Eared Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Evening Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon

  1. New York
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It's also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It’s also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird as Missouri. Not to mention, it’s not an appropriate bird to represent the state.

Best Candidate: Peregrine Falcon

Why: For one, New York was a leading state that helped restore its population after it was nearly depleted by DDT and other pesticide. Second, it’s practically the fastest animal on earth with a speed of over 200 mph. Third, it’s a very adaptable bird that has resided almost everywhere. Besides, as a city bird, they are highly beneficial to the ecosystem, especially when it comes to controlling the feral pigeon population, which are outright pests.

Other Options: Cerulean Warbler, Ring-Billed Gull, Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, Red-Tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Prothonotary Warbler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Cape May Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. North Carolina
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it's said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it’s said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Yes, it’s common and it’s pretty. But still, it’s used to represent 7 states, which means it’s time for a more appropriate state bird.

Best Candidate: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Why: Because it’s one of the most loved birds of the state that many people put up hummingbird feeders to watch them. Besides, it’s a beautiful bird in its own right that fits well on a postcard and it’s about time that it should be a state bird. Not to mention, it’s a way better choice than the Northern Cardinal.

Other Options: Carolina Wren, Prothonotary Warbler, Royal Tern, Carolina Chickadee, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Audubon’s Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Brown Pelican, American White Pelican, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Snowy Egret, American White Ibis, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Eastern Whippoorwill, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Red Wing Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cerulean Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. North Dakota
The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America's duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America’s duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. North Dakota needs something more original since it’s said to be quite famous for its birds, particularly its ducks.

Best Candidate: Blue-Winged Teal

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common ducks in North Dakota and not in the nation (which is obviously the Mallard). Second, the state is famous among birders and hunters as America’s duck nursery. So it only makes sense that North Dakota should have a duck as its state bird.

Other Options: Nelson’s Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Scaup, Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, American Avocet, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Baird’s Sparrow, Ruddy Duck, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Ohio
Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it's only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it'll be known as the

Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it’s only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it’ll be known as the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states so yeah, which is as many as Ohio has presidents born there. Ohio needs a new and more original state bird.

Best Candidate: Baltimore Oriole

Why: For one, it has a similar color scheme as the Cincinnati Bengals to some extent. Second, it’s more common in Ohio than Maryland as well as well-loved there. And third, since Baltimore already took Cleveland’s football team and won 2 Super Bowls, I kind of thought it was only fair for Ohio to take Maryland’s current state bird as fair compensation. So in Ohio, this bird will now be called the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Other Options: Willow Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Indigo Bunting, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Whippoorwill, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Easter Kingbird, Blue-Headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Dickissel, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Oklahoma
The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

Official State Bird: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique and interesting bird. But I’m not sure about its feathers which are kind of drab. Besides, Oklahoma can do better.

Best Candidate: Painted Bunting

Why: It is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America and it breeds in this state. Though difficult to find due to a declining population because of people in Central America, Mexico, and Cuba selling them as pets during their migration, Oklahoma is one of 4 states to have a significant population. Still, it’s a truly beautiful bird that should be on a postage stamp.

Other Options: Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, Mississippi Kite, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Scaled Quail, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Common Gallinule, Barn Owl, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird

  1. Oregon
Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America's only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It's also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America’s only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It’s also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. This means that Oregon needs a new state bird. Surely the state has more original avian wildlife than that.

Best Candidate: American Dipper

Why: It’s a mountain bird known to inhabit streams as well as the only aquatic songbird of North America. Its presence indicates good water quality as well as possesses a sweet song. Not to mention, their nests are some of the most extraordinary pieces of bird architecture ever. And like Oregon, it may not look very noteworthy but there are some things about it that make it quite interesting.

Other Options: Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Tufted Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Mountain Quail, Western Grebe, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Northern Fulmar, Green Heron, Green-Tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, White-Tailed Kite, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Heerman’s Gull, Mew Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Western Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Tufted Puffin, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Allen’s Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Steller’s Jay, Pinyon Jay, Black-Billed Magpie, Violet-Green Swallow

  1. Pennsylvania
The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It's also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It’s also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

Official State Bird: Ruffed Grouse

Why It Sucks: As a native and lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I have never seen this bird in my life. And I’m a rural resident as well as lived in this state for 25 years. Nor do I know anyone who has seen them in this state. Besides, it’s said that only 86% of these birds live in Canada. Guess they were all killed by hunters.

Best Candidate: Indigo Bunting

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common nester in Pennsylvania and has been seen in recent years almost everywhere in the state. Second, it has a distinctive sound as well as a bright blue feather display for the males (well, their feathers reflect as blue like the sky in good lighting. In poor lighting, they look black). Third, it’s a bird that’s more or less confined to the Eastern United States during its breeding season. Besides, it’s a more beautiful bird than the Ruffed Grouse.

Other Options: Scarlet Tanager, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Red Wing Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Harrier, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Gray Catbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Killdeer, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Screech-Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Great Crested Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-Headed Vireo, Barred Owl, Eastern Towhee, Purple Martin, Snow Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler

  1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be a small state, but it's part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Rhode Island may be a small state, but it’s part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Official State Bird: Rhode Island Red

Why It Sucks: To put a short story short, it’s a freaking breed of chicken for God’s sake. Seriously, it’s unconscionable like Delaware’s.

Best Candidate: Great Black-Backed Gull

Why: It’s the largest gull in Rhode Island as well as a year-long resident in the state. And since Rhode Island is known for its beaches, it should only be fitting it be represented by a sea gull. Besides, it’s better than having a chicken as state bird.

Other Options: Herring Gull, Snow Bunting, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Common Redpoll, White-Throated Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Ivory Gull, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Laughing Gull, Gull-Billed Tern, Brown Noddy, Band-Rumped Storm Petrel, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, American Black Duck

  1. South Carolina
A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

Official State Bird: Carolina Wren

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s better than having a Northern Mockingbird which they used to have. Besides, it has “Carolina” in it. However, it’s kind of drab and found almost everywhere in the east.

Best Candidate: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Why: South Carolina is the best place to look for this rare species since it lives in cavities in mature pine forests. It’s listed as vulnerable. Besides, it’s prettier than the Carolina Wren.

Other Options: Audubon’s Shearwater, Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, American Black Vulture, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Purple Gallinule, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-Necked Stilt, Carolina Chickadee, Brown Noddy, Royal Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pine Warbler, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Boat-Tailed Grackle

  1. South Dakota
The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

Official State Bird: Ring-Necked Pheasant

Why It Sucks: In short, it’s an introduced Eurasian Plains bird. It was brought over to the US by English settlers who wanted to bring some old country bird to shoot at.

Best Candidate: Upland Sandpiper

Why: While most sandpipers usually favor the coast and mudflats, this bird prefers open country with tall grasses. South Dakota is in the Great Plains which is known for its grassland and prairies. Clearly these two are meant for each other. May not be as flashy as the Ring-Necked Pheasant but at least it’s a native.

Other Options: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Loon, Red-Tailed Hawk, Pied-Bill Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Lazuli Bunting, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker

  1. Tennessee
The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states including Florida and Texas. Seriously, Tennessee needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Wood Duck

Why: Well, I think it provides a perfect combination for what Tennessee represents. It’s rustic enough for the Appalachian and down home country music. But the male is rather strikingly flashy enough for the music culture of Nashville and Memphis. Besides, Tennessee has a conservation program for these with people building boxes for them.

Other Options: Yellow-Throated Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Tennessee Warbler, Killdeer, Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Kestrel, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Purple Martin, Nashville Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Bobwhite Quail

  1. Texas
Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states which includes Florida. Seriously, Texas, you’re the state with an obnoxious ego bigger than your love for oil, firearms, and capital punishment. Your people take special pride in their cowboy culture, state flag, and history that kids all over the country have to learn it in their history class (which is important for the US to be fair but still). Not to mention, you have plenty of species of birds from which to choose from. Own it.

Best Candidate: Aplomado Falcon

Why: Let’s face it, I can go with a lot unique birds here. But I know that Northern Crested Caracara is too much identified with Mexico while the Roseate Spoonbill is a bird the people of Texas would never really be comfortable with. Now I know that this bird doesn’t have much of a range in Texas. But it’s a bird with a Spanish name and it’s said that small birds fear it more than most predators. So I think this is a bird Texans can really take pride in.

Other Options: Black-Crested Titmouse, Olive Sparrow, Cave Swallow, Roseate Spoonbill, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Swainson’s Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Lesser Goldfinch, Audubon’s Shearwater, Painted Bunting, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron, White-Tailed Hawk, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Inca Dove, Grooved-Billed Ani, Elf Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Jay, Mexican Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Black-Crested Titmouse, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Black-Chinned Sparrow, Varied Bunting

  1. Utah
The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it's kind of neglectful, but it's sometimes how nature works, man.

The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of neglectful, but it’s sometimes how nature works, man.

Official State Bird: California Gull

Why It Sucks: Yes, I get it helped save Mormons from a locust swarm or so I’m told. Utahns even have a gold statue of it commemorating the occasion. But it’s a bird with “California” in its name for God’s sake. The state is not near a coastline. Besides, the bird only uses Utah as a migration stop anyway. Not to mention, I’m sure there were plenty of other birds that helped save Mormons from a locust swarm as well.

Best Candidate: Snowy Plover

Why: Well, unlike the California Gull, it actually lives in Utah to breed even if it’s just the Great Salt Lake area.  Still, this is seen as a threatened bird but the state does have a substantial population of them. Besides, it’s quite adorable as well as eats insects.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Gambel’s Quail, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, Swainson’s Hawk, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-Necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Long-Billed Dowitcher, American White Pelican, White-Faced Ibis, Eared Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Violet-Green Swallow, Juniper Titmouse, American Dipper, Lazuli Bunting

  1. Vermont
The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it's said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it’s said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

Official State Bird: Hermit Thrush

Why It Sucks: It’s nice but it doesn’t incite the kind of enthusiasm I’d have for Ben & Jerry, cheese, or Bernie Sanders.

Best Candidate: Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Why: Well, it’s adorable and colorful like some people from Vermont. Besides, it prefers upland forests with tons of old growth. And I’m sure the Green Mountain State has plenty of them. Not to mention, it’s bird that only breeds in the US northeast.

Other Options: Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Black-Capped Chickadee, Snow Bunting, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Red-Tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Horned Lark, Common Redpoll, Eastern Kingbird, Black-Billed Cuckoo, American Woodcock, Veery, Blue-Headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, White-Throated Sparrow, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Osprey, Killdeer

  1. Virginia
The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It's also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you've seen in most bird species, this isn't the case.

The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It’s also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you’ve seen in most bird species, this isn’t the case.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states in the country. Surely a state like Virginia should have a more original state bird than that.

Best Candidate: Belted Kingfisher

Why: Since Virginia is a state with a lot of wetlands and waterways, then this would be a perfect state to be represented by a fishing bird. Not to mention, it’s a permanent resident in Virginia as well as a much better bird for the state than the Cardinal. And unlike the Cardinal, it has no red coat.

Other Options: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Barred Owl, Virginia Rail, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Wood Duck, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Laughing Gull, Great Horned Owl, Whippoorwill, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Eastern Kingbird, Red-Eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Gray Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Green Heron, Tree Swallow, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler, Cooper’s Hawk

  1. Washington
The Spotted Owl's status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it's one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

The Spotted Owl’s status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it’s one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Though known as the “Willow” Goldfinch, it’s basically the same state bird as Iowa and New Jersey but by a different name. Nice try, Washington.

Best Candidate: Spotted Owl

Why: Let’s just say since it’s experienced a significant decline in Washington that it’s near threatened. However, conserving this bird has brought a lot of contention between conservationists, loggers, cattle grazers, and developers. A decision to reinforce a critical habitat for the owl was challenged by The Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association. Thus, because of the controversy the term, Spotted Owl has come to mean, “trivial environmental issues that do nothing but waste land for economic development as well as taxpayer money.” Still, I think saving the Spotted Owl’s habitat is worth it since “old growth” forests are almost impossible to replace. Besides, preserving these “old growth” forests doesn’t just save the owls either.

Other Options: Glaucous-Winged Gull, Evening Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Loon, Violet-Green Swallow, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Ferruginous Hawk, Black Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl

  1. West Virginia
The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Now I’m sure West Virginia might have some good excuse on this since the state is an environmental disaster area. But still, I don’t imagine a Northern Cardinal when I think about West Virginia. Besides, it’s the state bird of Virginia as well which West Virginia split from during the American Civil War because it wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy.

Best Candidate: Cerulean Warbler

Why: It’s a common breeding bird in West Virginia despite the fact it’s the fastest declining songbird in North America as well as prefers mature forests with closed canopies as its habitat. But despite West Virginia’s environmental problems, these birds seem to love it there that they return there to breed every year.

Other Options: Swainson’s Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Northern Bobwhite, Black Scoter, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Chimney Swift, Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Golden-Winged Warbler, Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Bicknell’s Thrush

  1. Wisconsin
The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they've been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they’ve been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 3 states. This means that Wisconsin needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Trumpeter Swan

Why: Well, it’s one of the most notable native birds of North America. Besides, Wisconsin had a successful recovery for them since the 1980s which has been quite successful. Besides, it doesn’t look half bad on postcards.

Other Options: Golden-Winged Warbler, Sandhill Crane, Cooper’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Killdeer, Purple Martin, Common Loon, Common Merganser, Bobolink, Greater Prairie Chicken, Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Indigo Bunting, Whippoorwill, Dickcissel, Blue-Winged Teal, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Whooping Crane

  1. Wyoming
The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It's also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It’s also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. Obviously, Wyoming probably has a bird diversity that gives it no excuse.

Best Candidate: Ferruginous Hawk

Why: Well, Wyoming is home to all kinds of cool wildlife that I can’t think of a better bird to represent it than the largest hawk in North America. Besides, hawks are cool.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Loon, Swainson’s Hawk, Pinyon Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s Jay, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Spotted Owl, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Violet-Green Swallow, Snow Bunting, Lazuli Bunting, Prairie Falcon, Great Gray Owl, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Tanager

Rules for Dealing with Wild Animals

1. Wild animals are not your friends. Do not treat them like pets or your buddies. The guy from Grizzly Man learned that lesson the hard way.

I'm sure any other situation involving a grizzly at the dinner table is bound to end horribly. Yes, old Bearikins may soon have the best Thanksgiving of his life. Everyone else will probably have their last.

I’m sure any other situation involving a grizzly at the dinner table is bound to end horribly. Yes, old Bearikins may soon have the best Thanksgiving of his life. Everyone else will probably have their last.

2. Unless handling wild animals is part of your job, keep a reasonable distance from them and interfere with their lives as little as possible. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.

3. Avoid close contact with wild animals whenever possible. Never approach them under any circumstances. Do not touch or try to hold them. But if you must and it’s safe enough, always wear gloves, particularly a pair you’d find at the hardware store (garden gloves come to mind). Get too close to a wild animal and it will attack you.

4. Do not make a wild animal feel threatened or stressed. A threatened or stressed animal is a dangerous animal and will attack you.

5. Do not disturb, chase, startle, anger, tease, or harass a wild animal. All you’ll do is provoke the wild animal into feeling threatened and it will attack you. If you do this, you are a moron and deserve no sympathy for what happened to you. Such actions are especially stupid if the wild animal isn’t alone, particularly if accompanied by offspring. Whatever you do, do not be a dick to wild animals under any circumstances. Unlike humans in society where assholes are tolerated, wild animal will absolutely not tolerate your dickishness toward them and won’t give a shit about sending you to the emergency room.

6. Though baby wild animals may be cute and cuddly, do not go anywhere near them, touch them, or try to hold them. Trying to pick up a baby wild animal is an easy way to get its parents to attack you and they’re usually not far behind. If you do this, you are an idiot. If there’s a chance that a baby wild animal is an orphan, observe it for 24 hours to make sure the animal is truly alone. If their parents don’t show up within that time period, call animal control. Don’t ever try to raise it yourself unless you really know what you’re doing (by that I mean if dealing with animals is part of your job). For particular animals follow these steps:

Awww, look at the cute cougar babies. Don't their faces just make you want to take one of them home with you? But remember that trying to pet or hold one of these adorable cubs is a quick way for its mother to send you to the ER and/or ICU. Yeah, you'd be an idiot to try to get one of these adorable kitties.

Awww, look at the cute cougar babies. Don’t their faces just make you want to take one of them home with you? But remember that trying to pet or hold one of these adorable cubs is a quick way for its mother to send you to the ER and/or ICU. Yeah, you’d be an idiot to try to get one of these adorable kitties.

a. Birds: Pick up the bird with gloved hands and try to return it back in its nest. If you can’t, make one by putting leaves, grass, or soft cloth into a small box and place it where you found the bird. Observed for 24 hours to see if it’s cared for. If not, then call animal control. However, if a baby bird has all its feathers and resembles a miniature adult, leave it alone. It’s a fledgling who has permanently left the nest. The parents are watching them from trees and bringing it food.

b. Ducklings/Goslings: With gloved hands, place the bird as close to the flock as you can. If the flock accepts the duckling/gosling, everything should be fine. If not, call animal control.

c. Deer Fawns: Fawns are often left alone while their parents forage. But if the fawn looks cold, hungry, diseased, confused, or threatened, call animal control.

d. Rabbits: If the baby rabbit is at least 4-5 inches long, has fur, open eyes, and hopping around, leave it alone. It’s old enough to be out of the nest. If not, then take it to the nest but hold it with gloved hands. If the nest has been dug up and there are surviving rabbits, place it back into the hole with gloved hands, cover them with the nesting materials (which should consist of grass and fur). Observe for 24-48 hours. If a parent doesn’t return and you’re sure it’s abandoned, call animal control.

7. Do not feed wild animals or leave any food out for them (except bird feeders). All this does is encourage close contact that gets them too used to people as well as increases the potential for predators, accidents, and attacks. A wild animal that’s lost its natural fear for humans is more aggressive and dangerous, especially when hungry. Also makes them fat and sometimes dependent on such food that some may never learn to find native food on their own. Use proper garbage disposal and food storage as well as treat garbage as you’d treat food. Keep a clean camp and wash all cooking and eating equipment after use (as well as change clothes after dinner if you’re the one cooking it). Nevertheless, despite what pop culture tells you, it’s generally seen a bad idea to feed bread crumbs to birds, especially geese and ducks.

There's a reason why feeding wild animals is illegal. Essentially it gets them too used to people which can lead to attracting other animals as well as attacks. A wild animal that's lost its fear of humans is dangerous and more aggressive, especially when hungry. While camping, always use proper food storage and garbage disposal as well as keep a clean camp.

There’s a reason why feeding wild animals is illegal. Essentially it gets them too used to people which can lead to attracting other animals as well as attacks. A wild animal that’s lost its fear of humans is dangerous and more aggressive, especially when hungry. While camping, always use proper food storage and garbage disposal as well as keep a clean camp.

8. Be familiar with wild animals and how they normally act. This table gives you plenty of the reliable information you need on normal wild animal behavior.

Wild-Animals-Table

9. If you see an injured animal, call animal control and observe it until help arrives. Do not try to help it unless it’s safe to do so. Potential dangers include being scratched, bitten, and/or exposed to disease. But be warned that injured wild animals are often scared and may be aggressive when approached. You may also lead the wounded animal to injure itself.

a. If the wild animal is ensnared, trapped, tangled, do not try to fee the animal yourself. It is probably stressed and could be aggressive. Just call animal control to report its location and take pictures of the scene if possible.

b. If it’s safe to touch it, pick up the wild animal to contain it using gloved hands under these steps, if it needs transported to a wildlife rehab center:

i. Line a box with holes or a pet carrier with clean, soft cloth, grasses, and other suitable bedding materials (like shredded newspaper).

ii. With gloved hands, place the animal in the container.

iii. Place the container on a heating pad set to its lowest setting, or wrap a bottle of hot water in a towel and place it in a container for warmth.

iv. Secure the container so the animal can’t jump out, which might cause further injury.

v. Keep the container in a quiet, dark place. Do not feed or water the animal.

10. If you run into close contact with a wild animal, please accord to the following:

Yes, I'm sure Smokey the Bear is more intense in person. Nevertheless, when you encounter a bear, remain calm, give it a way to escape, and slowly and quietly back away. Don't make eye contact, don't run, and try to look intimidating. If all else fails, use bear pepper spray.

Yes, I’m sure Smokey the Bear is more intense in person. Nevertheless, when you encounter a bear, remain calm, give it a way to escape, and slowly and quietly back away. Don’t make eye contact, don’t run, and try to look intimidating. If all else fails, use bear pepper spray.

a. Don’t Panic: Panicking can often lead a wild animal to misinterpret your conduct as an offensive action and take a defensive stance in self-defense (like attack you). Most wild animals won’t attack you unless they feel threatened, have young, or injured/sick. Remain calm, even if you have to take a deep breath.

b. Give the Animal a Way to Escape: If a wild animal has a way to leave or escape the area, it will do so. This is one of the sanest and safest actions you can do, especially if the animal is a large mother with babies. Cornering the animal and having to fight it is not just dangerous, but also highly stupid. This is especially the case if the animal is bear, mountain lion, or an adult moose in which a fight could mean a very long trip to the ER or the ICU, if you’re lucky. If not, then death and a very stupid one at that. These animals are bigger, stronger, as well as have claws, strong teeth, hooves or horns to defend themselves. So avoiding a fight with a wild animal is just common sense.

c. Slowly and Quietly Back Away: Do this while keeping an eye on the wild animal until you are safely away. The more distance between you and the animal, the better. Try to avoid eye contact if possible. Any sudden moves might startle the animal into defensive action. Running may provoke some animals to chase you and you can never outrun them. Also, only climb a tree only if you’re sure the animal can’t and only when it’s far away. Only use active defense as a last resort like mace or bear spray.

d. For specific wild animals, please follow these guidelines:

i. Coyote/Wolf: Use a loud and authoritative voice to frighten the animal. Throw rocks near the animal (but not at them) and become as threatening as possible. This will show dominance and intimidate them. As for wolves, you might want to keep your eyes cast downward and your mouth closed. If it bites, don’t yank it away but try to make it gag or do something to break its clamped jaw. However, a healthy wolf won’t usually attack people. And most usually attack either due to extreme hunger or disease.

ii. Snake: Remain calm and still until it’s gone. Keep any pets and children close to your side. Step backwards slowly, and only turn your back when you are more than 6 feet away from the snake. Fortunately, they’d rather avoid lashing out and will let you know when they feel threatened. However, whatever you do, do not throw anything in an attempt to kill it or else it will move quickly and strike fiercely.

iii. Bear: Control your pets/kids. Quiet any noise making or aggressive movements. Do not run. Avoid looking like prey. Make yourself look intimidating by waving arms and making noises. The bear should quickly leave the area. If it’s a Grizzly, try to cover your head and the back of your neck with your hands either in a fetal position or lying flat and don’t make eye contact. If that doesn’t work, you might want to climb a tree, make noise, and grab the bear spray. If it’s a Black Bear, don’t climb a tree.

iv. Opossum: An opossum is usually docile and won’t attack unless provoked or cornered. Keep pets on short leashes and get out of the area as quickly as possible.

v. Deer: Deer don’t generally pose a threat unless they feel threatened themselves. Keep pets close to you as you walk past them. They should move along. If they make any aggressive movements or sounds, turn away and leave the area.

vi. Mountain Lion: Don’t run, turn your back, and crouch down. Stand tall and authoritatively, make eye contact, use a calm and firm voice, and slowly back away to make sure you aren’t a threat to their safety. If that doesn’t convince the animal to leave, try to scare it off. If it attacks, fight it with everything you got.

vii. Moose: If it looks upset, try to hide behind something big and not too bushy. But leave room to run if the moose continues the chase. Fortunately, most moose attacks are “bluff attacks” that tend to be over before they begin.

viii. Crocodile/Alligator: Avoid croc/gator infested waters as much as possible. If one approaches you, run away as much as possible. If it attacks you, fight back but be sure to hit the eyes, nostrils, or ears. If it bites and you have escaped, seek medical help immediately.

11. If you see a wild animal acting outside its normal behavior stay the hell away from them and find shelter as quickly as possible before calling animal control (especially if the animal is acting disoriented, confused, or shows unprovoked aggressiveness). Make sure your kids and pets are inside as well. Don’t try to help it in any way because a sick animal may not be in its right mind and can be very dangerous. This might be especially obvious if its frothing at the mouth, but sometimes even just bizarre or unprovoked aggressive behavior can be enough. If you, your kids, or your pets aren’t so lucky, follow these steps:

Of course, I'm sure this raccoon doesn't since it looks relatively normal. However, yeah, raccoons do tend to be carriers of all kinds of diseases. If you see one showing unprovoked aggression, call animal control and seek shelter immediately.

Of course, I’m sure this raccoon doesn’t since it looks relatively normal. However, yeah, raccoons do tend to be carriers of all kinds of diseases. If you see one showing unprovoked aggression, call animal control and seek shelter immediately.

a. You, Children, and Other Humans: Either get to a hospital or call 9/11 for an ambulance if the wound is bleeding seriously or if you suspect that the animal might have rabies. If you aren’t sure it’s serious, call your doctor or animal control. Call animal control to remove the animal if it’s still at the premises and have it tested for rabies and other diseases. Wash minor wounds (like scratches) under running water and apply antibiotic ointment and dressing. Also, you might want to be up to date on vaccinations, just to be safe. If it’s a snakebite, call 9/11 for an ambulance, gently wash the injury, splint bitten extremities, and keep the area at approximately the level of the heart. Keep the person calm (if it’s not you). Don’t cut, suck, apply a constricting band, or apply cold to a bit from a pit viper (like a rattlesnake, copperhead, or cottonmouth). For a bite from an elapid snake (like a coral snake), apply an elastic roller bandage after washing the wound.

b. Pets: Using gloved hands, wash the wounds with a hose. Don’t touch the wounds with your bare hands. Immediately call the vet, even if the wound doesn’t seem serious. If the wild animal is still present, call animal control to remove it. Have your pet re-vaccinated immediately, even if its vaccinations are up to date. If expired, your pet may be held for observation. Also, remember that your pets can’t be treated after they’ve been infected with rabies so its important to keep their vaccinations up to date.

12.Try to keep pets from chasing or harassing wild animals as much as possible. Also, keep children close and within your immediate sight at all times outdoors (especially when the nearest shelter is a long distance away. If you’re at home, just keep the small children accompanied. But keep at least one door unlocked in the house {particularly the backdoor} and teach your school age children about common sense). Never leave small children alone with a wild animal regardless of its demeanor.

13. Avoid carcasses in wilderness areas as much as possible (and by that I mean hiking trails, forests, parks, campgrounds, and nature reserves). Report dead animals to the nearest ranger station or animal control. After all, any animal carcass you find in the wilderness could easily be a carnivore’s leftover lunch. Some animals are known to defend their food sources violently and won’t be happy to see you disturb them.

14. Don’t hike alone or at night. Wild animals are less likely to attack groups than solo hikers, since groups are less noisy. Also, while many animals can be active at any time a lot of them are active at dawn, dusk, or night.

Many wild animals tend to be active at night like this opossum. Of course, this might explain why I have often found so many of their carcasses on roadsides. Also explains why I find deer tracks on the roads during some of my morning walks.

Many wild animals tend to be active at night like this opossum. Of course, this might explain why I have often found so many of their carcasses on roadsides. Also explains why I find deer tracks on the roads during some of my morning walks.

15. While hiking, stay on the trails at all times and travel quietly if need be. As long as you stay away from a wild animal’s habitat, it will not bother you. However, make noise if it’s in bear country, especially when traveling upwind, near streams and waterfalls, or when you can’t see the path ahead. Remember that you are on their turf and you need to respect that, especially since there are a lot animals that can be rather territorial. Yeah, you’d want to keep off their lawn, indeed.

16. Be alert for any possible sign of wild animals nearby such as droppings, diggings, footprints, scratch marks, rocks rolled over, or tree logs torn apart. Also be careful not to step directly on rocks or logs for you don’t want to anger a poisonous snake.

17. When traveling by foot, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. Also, travel with a cell phone and first aid kit at all times as well as keep your pet on a leash.

18. Whenever in a recreational area, always follow local regulations. Always listen to park rangers and game wardens as well as follow their advice.

19. Be familiar with the types of wild animals in your geographical location and know how to avoid getting attacked by them.

20. Be familiar with wild animals’ sex and reproduction cycles and behaviors, particularly mating and birthing seasons. Also pay attention on their familial patterns. Some species may be monogamous while others may not. But it’s not unusual for some animals to be more aggressive and less fearless during their mating seasons (often in the fall), particularly if they’re males trying to mate with as many females as possible (though females during this time aren’t exactly docile either). And it’s not uncommon for female animals to be quite aggressive while raising their young, especially if she’s rearing them alone. Let’s just say the rutting season is basically Pon Farr for deer, which makes them especially dangerous around this time, particularly antlered males.

During the mating seasons, wild animals can be more aggressive than usual, particularly if they're stag males or males trying to mate with as many females as possible. For some, to say that comparing their mating seasons to Pon Farr isn't much of a stretch. This is especially the case with the deer rut in which the male antlered deer compete with each other for mates through sparing.

During the mating seasons, wild animals can be more aggressive than usual, particularly if they’re stag males or males trying to mate with as many females as possible. For some, to say that comparing their mating seasons to Pon Farr isn’t much of a stretch. This is especially the case with the deer rut in which the male antlered deer compete with each other for mates through sparing. And yes, the fights can get particularly nasty.

21. Just because an animal won’t or can’t eat you, don’t assume it won’t hurt you. There’s a reason why predators tend to prey on the most vulnerable of any given herd. They know that trying to take down the strongest animals for meat is a quick way to get severely injured or killed. Not to mention, anyone who’s had regular contact with domesticated livestock will know of at least one incident of a temperamental cow or horse sending someone to the emergency room. So just because the wild animal in question is a vegetarian, don’t assume that it’s cute, cuddly, and friendly. Because there are plenty of large herbivores that are extremely territorial and will kill you deader than dead. Hippos are among the most dangerous animals in Africa along with elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos, and giraffes (which can kill lions with their kicks). In North America, moose and bison are said to attack and kill more people than bears and wolves. Also, take into account that the vast majority of unprovoked bird attacks on people are from herbivorous birds. Thus, remember that an animal doesn’t need to be hungry to want to kill you.

If you think that the most dangerous wild animals are predators, think again. Herbivores can be just as nasty. For instance, while deer are seen as the gentle giants of the forest, they're actually extremely dangerous, especially during rutting season. I call this picture Bambi's Revenge. Yes, he will pay dearly.

If you think that the most dangerous wild animals are predators, think again. Herbivores can be just as nasty. For instance, while deer are seen as the gentle giants of the forest, they’re actually extremely dangerous, especially during rutting season. I call this picture Bambi’s Revenge. Yes, he will pay dearly.

22. Just because an wild animal seems friendly as well as fluffy and adorable, don’t assume it won’t hurt you. It may not look dangerous, but even the friendliest wild animals can turn pretty unfriendly pretty damn fast. And many of the most adorable and harmless looking creatures can be anything but, especially if you do something to piss them off. You may laugh during the killer rabbit scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but remember that real wild rabbits can be anything but sweet, innocent, and docile.

Real rabbits may not be as lethal as you might see in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But they are hardly docile creatures and their teeth can inflict quite a bit of damage. It's said that male rabbits will rape and castrate rival males to secure breeding rights. They also headbutt and their kicks pack quite a bit of power for their size. Unfortunately, for this cat, I'm afraid the Holy Hand Grenade at Antioch wasn't at its disposal.

Real rabbits may not be as lethal as you might see in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But they are hardly docile creatures and their teeth can inflict quite a bit of damage. It’s said that male rabbits will rape and castrate rival males to secure breeding rights. They also headbutt and their kicks pack quite a bit of power for their size. Unfortunately, for this cat, I’m afraid the Holy Hand Grenade at Antioch wasn’t at its disposal.

23. If you see a large wild animal on the road while driving, make sure you give them the right of way by slowing down and stopping at a reasonable distance. They’ll usually be quick about crossing the street. Nevertheless, please drive carefully and not hit something. Not only will you avoid a crash and save your life but you won’t risk the animal’s life either. And the bigger the animal, the worse the consequences will be if you hit it.

Large wild animals can pose serious traffic problems. Thus, if you see any large wild animal on the road, remember to slow down and give it the right of way. Let's just say it'll save your life. Here's some more tips about sharing the road with wild animals.

Large wild animals can pose serious traffic problems. Thus, if you see any large wild animal on the road, remember to slow down and give it the right of way. Let’s just say it’ll save your life. Here’s some more tips about sharing the road with wild animals.

24. Any wild animal with utterly zero fear of humans isn’t one you’d want to run into, especially if it has a really nasty temper. Wild animals that aren’t afraid of humans are less likely to run away at close range, which is very bad and most of the time aren’t friendly at all.

25. Don’t ever try to domesticate a wild animal no matter how cute or seemingly docile it may be. Yes, you might hear all the stories about how people raised wild animals in their homes. But there’s a reason why wild animals don’t make great pets despite how and cuddly some of them may be. Think about it.

Yes, raccoons are adorable, I get it. But if we could successfully domesticate, we certainly would keep them as pets. Unfortunately, while raccoons have no fear of humans, they have very nasty tempers and their teeth and claws can kill pets as well as send people to the emergency room. They're also the biggest carrier of rabies in North America. So no, they don't make very good pets whatsoever. Too bad the Japanese didn't learn from the Americans on this which gave rise to raccoon infestation in their country.

Yes, raccoons are adorable, I get it. But if we could successfully domesticate, we certainly would keep them as pets. Unfortunately, while raccoons have no fear of humans, they have really, really nasty tempers and their teeth and claws can kill pets as well as send people to the emergency room. They’re also the biggest carrier of rabies in North America. So no, they don’t make very good pets whatsoever. Too bad the Japanese didn’t learn from the Americans on this which gave rise to raccoon infestation in their country. This was because of an anime raccoon gave rise to a fad of keeping these animals as pets. Seriously, Japan, stop being suckers for cuteness!

26. Remember that animal control is your friend. If you see wild animal acting weird and aren’t sure what to do, call them. They will know what’s going on and will go in if there’s a nuisance.

27. Despite what you might see in popular media pertaining to wild animals, don’t assume that they behave that way in real life. This is especially the case with seemingly sweet and innocent animals presented as cute, fluffy, and adorable. Nor should you assume that all animals exist in harmony and wholesomeness (which for those who’ve seen the PBS show Nature, it’s certainly not the case since it’s guaranteed to feature animals mating and killing things in most episodes. This is especially the case when a predator is the featured animal on the episode).

28. If a small wild animal is found in your house, open your doors to let it out. The sooner you give it a way to escape the better. However, if it bites you, keep it inside and call animal control because it might need to be tested for disease.

29. If you want to take a picture of a wild animal at close range, remember that cameras are equipped with zoom lenses. So take advantage of that.

When you want to take pictures of animals, remember to keep a reasonable distance and use the zoom lens. Of course, I'm not sure about this guy's situation. I mean birds can fly pretty fast.

When you want to take pictures of animals, remember to keep a reasonable distance and use the zoom lens. Of course, I’m not sure about this guy’s situation. I mean birds can fly pretty fast.

30. Never take your pets camping or hiking with you, especially if it’s in an area with wolves or other predators. Thus, your pet might become a liability since they’re more vulnerable to animal attacks than humans. There’s a reason why pets aren’t allowed in National Parks and other recreation areas.

31. Remember that just because an animal looks like it’s suffering and needs to be rescued, doesn’t necessarily mean you should interfere. Sometimes it’s best to let nature do its thing and leave it alone, especially if it can be some predator’s tasty meal or your pet’s. So you might not want to bother with Fido killing that baby bunny.

32. Remember that even if you do everything right, this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t attract a wild animal’s attention. Any action you make can make an animal feel threatened or startled, even if you don’t intend to do so. Even wildlife experts have experienced this.

33. Be aware that just because a normally nocturnal animal is active during the day, doesn’t mean it’s “sick” especially if it’s just minding its own business. They may be out during the day for several reasons such as looking for food, during spring and early summer when they’re out looking for food for their young, being habituated in their environment and the people around them, or simply going from one place to another. So if you see a raccoon out during the day and acting like any typical raccoon would otherwise, then leave it alone. It probably doesn’t have rabies.

Though raccoons are better known for being active at night, it's not uncommon for some to be out in the daytime. So if a raccoon is out and about during the day and doesn't seem to show any other abnormal behavior, it's probably not rabies.

Though raccoons are better known for being active at night, it’s not uncommon for some to be out in the daytime. So if a raccoon is out and about during the day and doesn’t seem to show any other abnormal behavior, it’s probably not rabies.

34. If you see a wild animal with young, stay the hell away from them. Even the friendliest wild animals can be especially ferocious when it comes to protecting their kids. Mess with any wild animal parent and their kids and you’ll be in for a world of pain.

For the love of God, if you get between a mama bear and her cubs, you will be in for a world of pain. And no, I'm not exaggerating. Do not go anywhere near a bear and her cubs. Seriously, you will live to regret it in the emergency room, if you're lucky.

For the love of God, if you get between a mama bear and her cubs, you will be in for a world of pain. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Do not go anywhere near a bear and her cubs. Seriously, you will live to regret it in the emergency room, if you’re lucky.

35. Just because an wild animal is cute, doesn’t mean it’s nice and wants you to touch it, especially if it’s a baby or juvenile.

36. When hiking, walking, or traveling in a recreational area or anywhere else, stay out of wildlife areas you know are dangerous.

37. Just because you don’t see wild animals, don’t assume that they aren’t close by. Sometimes wild animals will pop up around times when you’re least likely to see them (like during the night).

38. Small wild animals may not be as dangerous as their larger counterparts, but don’t  assume that they won’t hurt you. Because even they can be quite vicious if they feel they need to. And there are plenty of animals willing to take on anybody several times their size like rabbits.

39. Unless you’re hunting, then avoid carrying a firearm outdoors, despite what your NRA gun nut neighbor may say. If firing a gun doesn’t instantly kill the wild animal, then it will get even more enraged and attack you. When in close contact with a wild animal, the last thing you want is to make it madder, especially if it’s a predator. For instance, 50 percent of those who use a firearm against a grizzly end up being severely mauled.” Use bear pepper spray instead, which will greatly inhibit its ability to fight.

Unless you intend to hunt at the wilderness recreation area, then leave your guns at home. Of course, you won't see a bear with a handgun. However, unless you kill it at the first shot, shooting at a wild animal will just make it madder and willing to attack. It's a reason why firearms are banned in many parks and for good reason. Use bear pepper spray or mace instead.

Unless you intend to hunt at the wilderness recreation area, then leave your guns at home. Of course, you won’t see a bear with a handgun. However, unless you kill it at the first shot, shooting at a wild animal will just make it madder and willing to attack. It’s a reason why firearms are banned in many parks and for good reason. Use bear pepper spray or mace instead.

40. If you’re in a wilderness in an outdoor recreation area you’re not familiar with, consider hiring a guide if you can afford it. At least a guide will know what to do. If you can’t, then consider getting a map and/or guidebook. Better yet, buy the map and guidebook first before hiring the guide.

Flowers You Wouldn’t Want in Your Garden (Other than Weeds)

flower-garden-birdhouse

Spring and summer are great times for flowers since they’re seen as pretty and sweet smelling so it’s no wonder we put them in vases, use them as decoration for special occasions, and bestow on people as gifts saying, “I love you,” “Congratulations,” or “Get well soon.” Flower gardens are at their ultimate splendor during this time of year. Of course, many people do have pollen allergies but we don’t talk about that except on commercials for allergy medicine. Then you have flowers like dandelions, clover, and other wildflowers that are pleasing out on the road but many would consider weeds in a conventional flower garden, especially an English flower garden to be exact. Still, we have to accept the fact that not all flowers are the beautiful sweet smellers we all know and love. Let’s say there are several varieties of flowers and while most are of the conventional variety, there are some that smell bad, are ugly and/or creepy, are poisonous to humans and animals,  cause a lot of ecological destruction as an invasive species, and just don’t make good additions to a beautiful flower garden for some reason. And it’s not because they’re weeds for despite their tendency to meet the Roundup Grim Reaper or the lawn mower, many of these wild flowers can still be seen as beautiful or allergenic. So without further ado, here are the flowers you don’t want in your garden and it’s not that they take other nutrients away from your perennials.

1. Titan Arum

titan_arum_sized

Scientific Name: Amorphophallus titanium.

Native to: The rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a big flower with a massive bloom sometimes purple in color (since my favorite color is purple, this is a great thing).

Why wouldn’t you want it: This is known as one of the worst smelling flowers in the world that it’s one of two species nicknamed “the corpse flower” because it smells like a rotting, stinking corpse. While such an aroma would be considered heavenly by its principal pollinators consisting of flies and beetles (which lay their eggs on dead things), a flower smelling of rotting meat isn’t going to allow a man get laid on Valentines Day unless his date’s a botanist. Thankfully it blooms once every 4 to 6 years on average and its bloom only lasts a day or two.

 

2. Eastern Skunk Cabbage

Symplocarpus_foetidus_in_Mount_Nōgōhaku_2

Scientific Name: Symplocarpus foetidus.

Native to: The wetlands of Eastern North America from as North of Nova Scotia, to as west as Minnesota and as south as North Carolina and Tennessee.

Desirable Features: It has desirable foliage, a purple bloom, as well as medicinal properties which have been used to treat asthma, epilepsy, coughs, and rheumatism. So if you’re stuck in the woods away from civilization in Eastern North America, this would be a great flower to have at your disposal.

Why you wouldn’t want it: What gives this flower’s designation as “Eastern Skunk Cabbage” is that it gives away a bloom akin to a roadkill skunk. Such odor is desirable for potential pollinating flies but not for anyone else. It also doesn’t help that this flower is capable of thermogenesis (keeping itself warm), which not only lets it to bloom when there’s snow on the ground but also attract its pollinators by mimicking the heat generated by a fresh corpse. So unless you’re an asthmatic stuck near a wetland away from civilization in Eastern North America (or a botanist, naturally), you don’t want this.

 

3.The Rafflesia

Rafflesia_arnoldi_2013-12-31_21-48

Scientific Name: Rafflesia arnoldii. Genus has 27 other species.

Native to: The rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. It’s one of Indonesia’s natural flowers where it’s a protected species.

Desirable Features: Has an impressive and beautiful bloom and produces the largest individual flower on earth.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Like Titan Arum, it’s also nicknamed, “the corpse flower” because it smells like a rotting corpse designed to attract flies to pollinate it (its red color also helps attract fly pollinators as well, since no one likes the repulsive smell of decaying flesh like a fly). Also, it’s considered a parasitic plant that lacks roots, stems, and leaves as well as doesn’t produce chlorophyll or photosynthesize. Rather it receives nutrients from a host plant (something that gardeners don’t want). Fortunately this flower dies after flowering for 5 days yet it’s seen as a rare species since a successful pollination for these flowers is a rare event in itself.

 

4. Hydnora Africana

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

hydnoraafricana_sized

Native to: Southern Africa particularly the semi-arid regions.

Desirable Features: Heard their seeds and fruit are delicious as well as used for tanning leather and preserving fishing nets. Also used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, kidney and bladder complaints, and acne.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Due to it being a parasitic plant that only grows underground until flower, it’s no wonder it resembles a creature you’d see from the movie Tremors (that or female genitalia). Also, since the dung beetle is its choice pollinator, it gives an odor that smells like shit.

 

5. Bulbophyllum Phalaenopsis

bulbophyllum_sized

Scientific Name: Same as regular name. Also part of a large genus of orchid.

Native to: New Guinea.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s an orchid and has a pretty color.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a carrion flower known to smell like dead mice to attract flies. And there are many in its genus that smell like rotting flesh as well. So unless you’re an avid orchid collector or botanist, you probably wouldn’t want this in your flower garden.

 

6.Dead Horse Arum

Dracunculus_muscivorus

Scientific Name: Helicodiceros muscivorus.

Native to: Corsica, Sardinia, and the Baleric Islands.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s considered an ornamental plant and has a nice bloom.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Let’s just say it’s called a “Dead Horse Arum” because it’s said to smell like a dead horse to attract flies as pollinators. Doesn’t help that these flowers bloom on bright sunny days so the aroma can spread everywhere like a field freshly spread with manure. This basically ruins the enjoyment of any flower garden in such atmosphere. Also, exhibits thermogenesis.

 

7. Stapelia Gigantean

stapelia_gigantea_sized

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

Native to: South Eastern Africa.

Desirable Features: Has a mesmerizing, fuzzy bloom which has enjoyed its share of cultivators.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, it smells like rotting flesh to lure in flies. Culivators are generally advised to keep this plant outdoors so the fresh air could dilute the odor. So fellas, unless your girlfriend cultivates these plants or is a botanist, don’t give her this for Valentines Day.

 

8. The Voodoo Lily

dracunculus_vulgaris_sized

Scientific Name: Dracunculus vulgaris.

Native to: Greece, the Balkans, the Aegean Islands, and the southwest Turkey.

Desirable Features: It’s widely distributed and cultivated because of its stunning beauty. Not to mention, it can withstand drought.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a carrion flower that smells like rotting flesh to attract flies. Fortunately its stench lasts for about a day. Also, all parts of the plant are considered poisonous so and touching the plant could trigger skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

 

9. Birthwort

DSCN9023

Scientific Name: Aristolochia gigantean. It’s genus has varieties of 500 species in diverse climates.

Native to: Brazil.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s purple and has a spectacular bloom. As an ornamental plant it’s notable as being hardy. Said to help heal wounds but little else and it’s not worth taking.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it gives a foul odor of rotting flesh to attract flies. Second, many of the flowers in this genus are seen as rather ugly. Third, while it’s been seen as an herbal medicine for centuries (especially in China), it’s a very poisonous plant linked to severe renal and kidney disease as well as cancer. Unfortunately, it continues to be used as an herbal remedy.

 

10. The Opium Poppy

Opium Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver somniferum.

Native to: Asia and the Middle East.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a medicinal plant as well as used for painkillers and is known for its ornamental beauty. Also, produces seeds which could be used as a condiment for many baked goods like buns and bagels.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, this flower has a controversial reputation. It has an ambiguous legal status in the United States in which you can’t raise it for cultivation at a large agricultural scale without a license and only for medicinal purposes. Of course, reasons are obvious since these plants are a known source of heroin and other opiates. Still, this beauty managed to cause all sorts of problems throughout history and there’s no stopping it. I mean Great Britain managed to get Chinese people hooked on recreational opium during its empire days, which resulted in two wars. Ditto the War on Drugs in the US. As to why inner city drug lords don’t get into opium poppy cultivation, I don’t have the slightest idea.

 

11. Western Skunk Cabbage

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scientific Name: Lysichiton americanus.

Native to: Wetlands in the Pacific Northwest.

Desirable Features: It’s a beautiful yellow flower with great foliage. Can be used as a laxative as well as for sores and swellings but only in small quantities and its waxy leaves could be used for food preparation and storage.

Why you wouldn’t want it: While it doesn’t smell of rotting flesh, there’s a reason why it’s called the “Western Skunk Cabbage.” Since it attracts beetles and flies, it’s odor is akin to skunk spray even in old dried specimens. So if you came home from a hiking trip smelling like a skunk despite not seeing one, perhaps this flower may be a reason. Also, using too much of this plant as medicine can result in death.

 

12.Castor Oil Plant

RICINUS COMMUNIS RED GIANT

Scientific Name: Ricinus communis.

Native to: The Southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India.

Desirable Features: Has long been used as a medicinal plant as castor oil which has other uses (yet don’t consume it in its natural state). Also has lovely leaves and pink flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most poisonous plant and produce ricin. On milligram of its poison could kill a human adult. Its pink pom-pom flowers are especially dangerous to children. Also, the KGB used this plant’s poison to silence opposition permanently.

 

13. Nepenthes Truncata

Nepenthes truncata on exhibit 2

Scientific Name: Same as regular name though it is a pitcher plant.

Native to: The Philippines.

Desirable Features: Well, if you have problems with insects and vermin, I’m sure this carnivorous plant could come in handy.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it’s ugly and probably smells of rotten meat to attract its prey. Second, the fact its known to eat small mammals is rather unsettling, especially since its process to dissolve such animals in digestive enzymes has been seen.

 

14. Belladonna

Atropa_belladonna_003.3

Scientific Name: Atropa belladonna.

Native to: Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Desirable Features: It produces pretty purple flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This flower is highly poisonous and has been used in one of the worst beauty trends in history in which women used the berries to dilate their pupils. Symptoms include, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, slow or fast pulse, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, as well as convulsions and death. Though it has been long used as an herbal medicine and homeopathic drug, there’s insufficient scientific evidence to recommend its use. Also known to kill a lot of Roman Emperors.

 

15. White Snakeroot

snakeroot

Scientific Name: Ageratina altissima.

Native to: The US Appalachian Mountains.

Desirable Features: Has lovely white flowers and has roots that can be used for medicinal purposes.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly poisonous plant known to contain tremetol which led to the highly fatal milk sickness known to kill thousands of American settlers in the early 19th century, possibly including the mother of a US president.

 

16. Water Hemlock

wfshl-waterhemlock-01a

Scientific Name: Cicuta bulbifera. There are 3 other species for this genus though.

Native to: North America.

Desirable Features: It’s flowers look very similar to Queen Anne’s Lace but bigger.

Why you wouldn’t want it: According to the USDA, it’s considered as the most toxic plant in North America with its stalks containing full of the a sap containing cicutoxin. Ingesting a small amount of this could affect the central nervous system and cause seizures as well as bring death within 15 minutes. It’s also deadly to the touch even when dried. Most poisonings occurred due to confusion between these plants and other edible look-alikes, particularly from the Parsley family.  Those who survive may develop long term health conditions like amnesia.

 

17. Elephant Foot Yam

amorphophallus

Scientific Name: Amorphophallus paeoniifolius.

Native to: Southeast Asia.

Desirable Features: It has big purple leaves and is used as a cash crop in Southeast Asian countries. Elephant foot yams are used in cuisine as well as in medicine. Can be grown in areas that may seem unsuitable for crops.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s nickname is “the stink lily” because it smells like a corpse to attract flies. Also, it’s kind of ugly as well.

 

18. Black Bat Flower

BlackBatFlower

Scientific Name: Tacca chantrieri.

Native to: Southeast Asia and Southern China.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s not poisonous or smells bad. Also, it’s considered a collector’s item since it’s extremely rare.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This is one of the creepiest flowers ever in existence and is sure to inspire nightmares. So unless you love Halloween, are related to the Munsters or the Addams Family, or live in a dark castle on a hill or some other spooky residence, then this flower isn’t for you. Also, it’s a bitch to cultivate since it needs a lot of water and prefers high humidity so it would maybe work in my area but I’m not sure about the Munsters (since they live in California).

 

19. Dracula Orchid

scary-plants-halloween-garden-dracula_2a3b9084b64e6c11275299d2e421b16d_3x2_jpg_570x380_q85

Scientific Name: Dracula sergioi. Has 118 species in its genus.

Native to: Central and South America.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s an orchid and it’s rare in the US. Also, it’s harmless.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Well, if there’s a flower named after Dracula, chances are it’s either very dangerous or very scary looking. This one resembles some sci-fi alien monster with a piranha like mouth. So if you aren’t into scary movies, then you probably don’t want this in your garden.

 

20. Monk’s Hood

Aconitum_carmichaelii_'arendsii'_1

Scientific Name: Aconitum carmichaelii. Genus has over 250 species.

Native to: East Asia.

Desirable Features: Well, a lot of these flowers are in a beautiful shade of purple and yellow.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It contains large quantities of pseudocontitine  or actonite which is a deadly poison. It’s no wonder that many cultures used this plant to poison their arrows, so they’d be much more lethal. Consuming this flower can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea followed by burning, tingling, numbness of face, mouth, and abdomen. When consumed in large quantities, leads to instant death. Still, you probably remember this plant from Harry Potter as an ingredient in the Wolfsbane potion; you know what Snape made for Lupin during that special time of the month. Of course, it’s no wonder he got sick from it. Also, used as Hannah McKay’s killing method of choice on Dexter.

 

21. Oleander

800px-20080311_Nerium_Oleander_Flowers

Scientific Name: Nerium oleander.

Native to: The Mediterranean region, most likely.

Desirable Features: It smells sweet and has beautiful pink flowers with petals being crimson, magenta, or creamy white. Also, a rather hardy plant that could withstand drought.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s one of the most toxic plants in the world and every part of this flower is incredibly poisonous if ingested. In fact, even inhaling one burning is seen as a health threat and even honey derived from its nectar could kill you. A single leaf could kill a child. Most of its human victims are campers who used this flower’s branches to roast marshmallows and hotdogs (well, according to urban legend). Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, abdominal pain, irregular heart rate, drowsiness, tremors, siezures, and coma.

 

22. Henbane

henbane-stinking-nightshade

Scientific Name: Hyoscyamus niger.

Native to: Eurasia.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a nice looking flower.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one it has a foul odor which is the reason it’s known as “stinking nightshade.” Second, all parts of this plant are considered highly poisonous in low doses. Symptoms ingesting it include visual hallucinations, dilated pupils, restlessness, flushed skin, vomiting, slow and fast pulse, hyperpyrexia and ataxia.

 

23. Poison Hemlock

plants_toxic-2

Scientific Name: Conium maculatum. There’s another species in this genus from Southern Africa. Also, don’t confuse it with the tree which is a different species entirely.

Native to: Europe and the Mediterranean.

Desirable Features: Resembles a bit like Queen Anne’s Lace.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This flower is extremely poisonous and ingesting small doses could cause respiratory collapse, muscular paralysis, and death. Retains poisonous properties when dried and is deadly to the touch. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates was condemned to death by drinking this. Second, because it’s poisonous, it could infest large pastures and open waste areas earning its invasive status.

 

24. Hemlock Water Dropwort

Oenanthe-Crocata-10-most-poisonous-flowers

Scientific Name: Oenanthe Crocata. Genus has another species.

Native to: Europe and the Mediterranean.

Desirable Features: Resembles a bit like Queen Anne’s Lace. Leaves pose no danger.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, this is an extremely toxic plant (considered the most toxic plant in the UK), especially the stem and roots. A single root from this could kill a cow and human fatalities are known. It’s considered especially dangerous due to its resemblance to Chinese celery, Japanese wild celery, and it doesn’t help it shares the same genus.

 

25. Yellow Jasmine

Yellow-Jasmine

Scientific Name: Gelsemium sempervirens.

Native to: Southeastern US, Mexico, and Central America. State flower of South Carolina.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers and is sometimes used as an herbal medicine (when used right).

Why you wouldn’t want it: All parts of this plant contain the toxic strychnine alkaloids gelsemine and gelseminine, which is fatal to honeybees (and even more reason you wouldn’t want it in your garden, especially since there have reports of colony collapse disorder. Let’s just say any flower that’s fatally toxic to honeybees should never be used in a flower garden ever). Children have been poisoned sucking its nectar after mistaking it for honeysuckle and it can cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.

 

26. Crown Vetch

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Scientific Name: Securigera varia.

Native to: Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Desirable Features: Well, it has pretty pink flowers and is used in the US and Canada as erosion control, roadside planting, and soil rehabilitation. I see this flower all the time when I’m on walks. Grows in most environments and provides good forage for deer and elk during the winter as well as good nesting grounds for birds. Rabbits use this plant for food and cover.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Of course, this is coming from an American perspective but in many US states they’re considered an invasive species or noxious weeds. In fact, many Americans consider this a weed. It’s a tough and aggressive spreading plant that will crowd out its neighbors in a show garden and is very hard to eradicate once established. So if you live in the US, don’t plant this unless you’re legally obligated to do so. Not to mention, it’s also poisonous to horses.

 

27. Latana Camara

Lantana_camara_flowers_2

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

Native to: Central and South America.

Desirable Features: Pretty flowers and can survive in a variety of environments. Can go long without water. Indian scientists discovered that the leaves have anti-microbial, fungicidal, and insecticidal properties which is good for many gardeners. It’s been seen as effective for treating ulcers and respiratory infections.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Since this plant has spread to 50 different countries, it’s been considered an invasive species which will often out compete more desirable species which will lead to a reduction in biodiversity. It’s also known to be toxic to livestock like cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, and goats.

 

28. Rhododendron Ponticum

Rhododendron_ponticum

Scientific Name: Same as regular name. Its genus has over 1,000 species and includes azaelas.

Native to: Southern Europe and Southwest Asia. National flower of Nepal and state flower of West Virginia and Washington.

Desirable Features: This is a highly desirable evergreen shrub with big flowers and lovely green foliage. These flowers make a trip to my local cemetery almost a dream come Memorial Day and I always take pictures of them with my camera.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, this plant is considered a highly invasive species in New Zealand, the British Isles, and Western Europe. Second, it’s highly toxic especially to horses that are said to die within hours of ingesting it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, hallucinations, paralysis, severe pains, and even death and its effects have been known since ancient times. Even its honey is poisonous to humans which can cause hypotension and bradycardia if consumed in sufficient quantities. Also, these plants are very prone to a whole range of pests and diseases (Wikipedia has a whole list of ills for this shrub). So it’s a great flower to look at but not a good one to have.

 

29. Tansy

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Scientific Name: Tanacetum vulgare.

Native to: Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers and seen as a natural insecticide as well as good companion plant.

Why you wouldn’t want it: In many areas of the world particularly North America, this is seen as an invasive species known to spread prolifically. Also, it’s a toxic plant in all parts, especially to livestock.

 

30. Cultivated Tobacco

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Scientific Name: Nicotiana tabacum. Genus has 67 species.

Native to: The Caribbean. Introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus himself, if not then possible hybrid.

Desirable Features: Pretty pink flowers. Can also be used as an insecticide.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This plant doesn’t have a good reputation since it’s responsible for a lot of deaths from all kinds of diseases per year, particularly cancer (that and the 599 other additives in tobacco products). Those who work on tobacco farms and plantations are constantly exposed to nicotine poisoning as well as to a large amount of pesticides and other chemicals. Not to mention, this plant could be prone to a whole host of diseases and pests. Also, cultivating this plant in developing countries has led to significant deforestation and environmental damage.

 

31. Purple Loosestrife

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Scientific Name: Lythrum salicaria.

Native to: Europe, Asia, northwest Africa, and southeastern Australia.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers and seen as a medicinal herb for bowel problems. Well suited for most environments.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly invasive plant in New Zealand and North America. Its infestations result in dramatic disruption of water flow in rivers and streams as well as a sharp decline in biodiversity, especially in wetlands. Known for crowding out other native plant species like cattails. So if you live near a swamp, don’t plant this.

 

32. Common Foxglove

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Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea. Genus contains 20 species.

Native to: Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Toxic in all parts including the water any cut stalks sit in. Even in its dried state, it can kill. Poisoning is most commonly found in livestock, pets, and children. Sometimes mistaken for the edible comfrey plant and brewed as tea in which the results could be fatal. Symptoms include Stomach pain, nausea, violent vomiting, vertigo, muscular stiffness, fatigue, headache, pulse at first rapid and violent but soon weak and irregular, dilated pupils, dimness of vision, delirium.

 

33. Ox-Eye Daisy

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Scientific Name: Leucanthemum vulgare.

Native to: Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a daisy and appears conventional as such.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly invasive species in North America, Australia, and New Zealand known for displacing native plants and modifying existing communities. It’s particularly troublesome in agricultural areas where cows won’t eat it which will enable it to spread and it’s host to several viral diseases that affect crops. In the US it’s prohibited in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, and West Virginia.

 

34. Creeping Buttercup

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Scientific Name: Ranunculus repens. Genus has 600 species including spearworts, crowfoots, and celandine.

Native to: Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Though initially seen as an ornamental plant, it’s an invasive species in many parts of the world and is usually spread through transporting hay. Not to mention, it’s toxic in all parts to humans and animals (except when dried in hay) with symptoms including bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering that affect the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. Yet, while grazing animals know to avoid this plant, they will sometimes eat it out of desperation.

 

35. Blessed Milk Thistle

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Scientific Name: Silybum marianum.

Native to: Southern Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers and is widely cultivated in Europe, Asia, and South America for several different uses.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it has sharp spikes all over its foliage, which you wouldn’t want to touch on the roadside. Second, it contains the toxin potassium nitrate which is toxic humans and animals, particularly cattle and sheep. Symptoms include oxygen deprivation, which is a terrible way to die. Third, it’s considered an invasive species in Iran, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Fourth, its appearance gives an impression that it more likely belongs in some mad scientist’s garden than yours, considering its freakish display. That or seems like an appropriate corsage for a Klingon wedding.

 

36. Common Water Hyacinth

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Scientific Name: Eichhornia crassipes.

Native to: The Amazon Basin.

Desirable Features: One of the few Amazon flowers that could survive outside the rainforest (it’s been recently spotted in New York). Could be used for bioenergy and waste water treatment. Also, a very pretty purple flower with a petal resembling a peacock feather.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Since its introduction to the US in 1884, this little beauty has been responsible for all kinds of environmental damage such as choking up rivers, killing fish, and stopping shipping in Louisiana as well as clogging Florida’s waterways. Not only that but it nearly wrecked Florida’s environment and economy. There were many eradication attempts, including one by the US War Department pouring oil over it, yet none prevailed. The US government was so desperate to get rid of this plant that Congress almost passed a bill that would’ve authorized the importation of hippos for this very purpose in 1910. Yes, hippos, but this method wouldn’t have worked either because it’s also considered an invasive species in Africa, particularly Lake Victoria.

 

37. Lily of the Valley

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Scientific Name: Convallaria majalis.

Native to: Asia and Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty white flowers which explains why it’s used a lot in bridal bouquets.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Unless you’re familiar with the later seasons of Breaking Bad (sorry to spoil it), you probably don’t know that this beauty can be very deadly. It’s highly poisonous in all parts including the berries and contains 38 different cardiac glycosides. If ingested even in small amounts, it could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and a reduced heart rate. For the prospective brides hoping to become black widows someday, this is the perfect flower for you.

 

38. American Pokeweed

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Scientific Name: Phytolacca Americana.

Native to: Eastern North America.

Desirable Features: Well, pretty white flowers and nice dark berries. It’s a good source for songbirds like the Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird. Young leaves (those that don’t have red in them) and berries can be eaten but only when properly cooked.

Why you wouldn’t want it: These plants are poisonous though the ripe dark berries are the least toxic; it’s when they’re green you really have to worry about them and whether they’re consumed raw in large quantities. Infants and small children should avoid consuming them at all times. As for the rest of the plant, well, those parts get more poisonous as it matures. And adults have been poisoned (sometimes fatally) by eating improperly prepared leaves and shoots, particularly if the root is harvested with the shoots, and by mistaking the root for an edible tuber. So if you’re served any pokeweed dish at a dinner party, you might not want to eat it. Symptoms upon ingesting may include anemia, altered heart rate and respiration, convulsions and death from respiratory failure. Could also possibly cause mutations (perhaps leading to cancer) and birth defects. Yet, animals would only consume them in desperation or if it’s in contaminated hay. Still, while it shouldn’t be touched with bare hands, the juice is less hazardous than the sap (which can cause dermatitis). Also, they are particularly invasive and a pain to get rid of (burning it won’t help, believe me).

 

39. Scotch Broom

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Scientific Name: Cytisus scoparius.

Native to: Western and central Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty flowers. Can grow almost anywhere.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Contains a toxin that causes heart palpitations and affects the central nervous system, which is harmful to both humans and livestock. In the American West as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and India, this is a particularly invasive plant known to inhibit reforestation efforts after timber harvests.

 

40. Giant Hogweed

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Scientific Name: Heracleum mantegazzianum.

Native to: The Caucasus Region in Central Asia.

Desirable Features: Resembles a giant version of Queen Anne’s Lace like it’s on steroids or some radioactive plant food.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it’s an invasive species spreading like wildfire and drowning the native flora and destroying ecosystems in its wake, especially in wetland areas. Second, it’s a phototoxic plant and public health hazard. Skin contact with its watery sap could produce painful burning blisters that could leave purple and black scars. If in contact with eyes, then blindness. Because of it being up to 8-20ft tall and dangerously poisonous to the touch, don’t think you can get rid of it with your weed whacker or mower. In fact, you can’t so it’s best to call professionals or local authorities who can properly destroy the plant and seeds.

For the Last Time, Snow Doesn’t Disprove Global Warming

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Winter is a time for snow and cold temperatures. And sometimes, winters in my area don’t even have that. However, whenever some kind of blizzard and sub zero temperatures ravage some part of the US, the only people who seem happy are children and global warming deniers. Of course, with kids it’s because school is cancelled and they can play in the snow all they want building snowmen, going sled riding, and having a snowball fight. And those sick with the flu don’t need to worry about catching up with their homework. Still, that doesn’t mean their parents will be so lucky since many will need to go to work, shovel snow from the drive way, or brave the harsh road conditions. Still, at least kids have a reason to love snowstorms which pertains more to their routine than their own convoluted scientific understanding.

Which brings me to the other group, global warming deniers. You see these people on Fox News who try to make any excuse as to why global warming doesn’t exist despite being a broad consensus in the scientific community that it does, especially among climate scientists. Of course, global warming does pertain to the unequivocal and continuing rise in the Earth’s climate system mostly due to man made carbon emissions and greenhouse gases trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, many of these global warming deniers tend to use cold and increment weather as a way to disprove global warming’s very existence as if the scientific community consists of a bunch of idiots. Unfortunately for them, global warming doesn’t work that way. Just because the average global temperature may increase doesn’t necessarily mean warmer winters or warmer weather in general. It just means that global temperature increases may lead to a more disruptive and unstable climate which will lead to long term ecological destruction and consequences from region to region be it rapid melting of glaciers in the polar regions, heatwaves, droughts,  heavy rainfall, ocean acidification, the presence of more destructive storms and hurricanes, rise of sea levels, expansion of subtropical deserts, and mass species extinctions. Oh, and the global temperature doesn’t need to increase by that much either (since the early 20th century the air and sea surface temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and that more serious snowstorms and record low temperatures may also be a leading effect of global warming.

Of course, there have been increasingly warmer winters in recent years and over the past century, but that doesn’t mean that one winter may be warmer as the last. Nor can you disprove the existence of global warming by a single weather event and may make even winter weather events like a polar vortex even worse which may be caused by the exact same weather phenomenon responsible for other extreme weather patterns: melting sea ice. Now as the planet warms, Arctic sea ice melts the northern polar region equalizes a bit with temperatures farther south. This causes the northern latitude jet stream usually holding the far colder Arctic air in place with 100mph winds to slow down. When this happens, pockets of cold are more prone to escape to the south. This year, it’s said that the amount of cold air leaked past the seal is much larger than usual and has pushed farther south. So this means global warming may be the reason why it’s cold outside and not it’s non-existence.

Now many global warming deniers may go on and on how humans can’t change the climate and that climate change may be a natural phenomenon. Of course, there have been plenty of natural climate change phenomenon as we know from prehistoric times. But can man made environmental destruction change climate and weather patterns? Absolutely and it has even in our own time. Non-sustainable agricultural practices in the US and Canadian prairies created the conditions for the large scaled erosion associated with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Widespread wolf hunting in Yellowstone National Park led to an overpopulation of elk and nearly diminished the park’s ecology and natural beauty for years until the wolves were brought back. Invasive species have been known to kill many natural wildlife particularly on islands while deforestation can lead to more floods, drought, and soil erosion. CFCs have resulted in a hole in the ozone in Antarctica leading many near the place to be exposed to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation. And pollution not only leads to species endangerment and habitat destruction but also to increased risk of respiratory diseases and possible economic ruin. If you ever think why people would devote their lives to saving a particular animal species is ridiculous, then you don’t understand ecology, my friend. And if humans are capable of disrupting entire ecosystems and environments, then they’re certainly capable of causing climate change which can bring it’s own share of ecological destruction as well. Since global warming leads to more disruptive and unpredictable weather patterns, then its impact on the environment will affect our lives as well. And if we don’t acknowledge its existence or resolve to do something about it, then we might as well plant the seeds of our own destruction.