Colonization and human agricultural expansion may have helped cattle egrets – the white bird almost always seen with a herd of cows – populate nearly all seven continents. Scientists speculate that the unassuming birds first landed in the Americas from Senegal and Zaire, and likely settled because they had a reliable food source in the pests and insects that were brought to the surface by the hooves of cows. Today, these egrets have expanded to feast near human settlements like parks, wastewater treatment plants, and even airport runways.
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If you’re visiting a farm, keep an eye out for an ominous-looking bronze fog. Nitrogen tetroxide, a red-orange gas, is made by certain bacteria during fermentation when oxygen is lacking in the crop. The lack of oxygen causes the bacteria to use the nitrate within the crops, which then produces nitrogen tetroxide. Inhalation of the gas is known to cause permanent lung damage or kill people and livestock. To prevent this, farmers have started performing nitrate tests after four weeks of fermentation. Read full article here