for recent news about pelicans
'Extinct' seabirds captured
5:00AM Monday December 03, 2007
The ornithologist who helped re-discover a native seabird thought for 150
years to be extinct has shot two of them - with a net-gun.
Brent Stephenson, who rediscovered the storm petrel, with Sav Saville, off
the coast of Whitianga in January 2003, captured two of the birds with a net
fired out of a custom-made gun. "It's not every day you get to hold a
seabird that for 150 years was thought to be extinct, let alone hold two," he
Altogether three of the "extinct" New Zealand storm petrels were
captured in the Hauraki Gulf by Department of Conservation (DoC) staff and
The expedition, funded jointly by DoC and a grant from National Geographic's
committee for research and exploration, was part of an effort to discover where
the birds are breeding. It lives and feeds at sea, returning to land only to
If the captured birds had showed signs of breeding, they would have had tracking
beacons attached before being released, Dr Stephenson said.
None of them were breeding, so their island home is still a mystery.
DoC officer Karen Baird said it was thought the petrels might be breeding
where rodents had been eradicated, such as the Mokohinau islands in the outer
"One of the theories is that the birds survived in very low numbers on
an island where rats were present and once the rats were removed, the birds
have been quietly building up in numbers until they began to be noticed several
Last year, three storm petrels were caught and fitted with transmitters, but
extensive searches around islands in the Hauraki Gulf failed to reveal any
of the birds on land.
This story was found at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=332&objectid=10479680
November 28, 2007
Santa Cruz County seabird die-off linked to red tide, state
SANTA CRUZ -- Another wave of dead and sick seabirds washed
up on Monterey Bay beaches this week, and state officials
believe the birds' mysterious illness comes from the red
Nearly 500 birds have been rescued since early November,
according to state Department of Fish and Game senior veterinarian
State officials were initially baffled by the sick birds,
which began washing up on area beaches just after an oil
spill in the San Francisco Bay and the state's aerial spraying
of Santa Cruz County to combat the light brown apple moth.
They dubbed the die-off the Moss Landing Mystery Spill.
"At this point we believe it's related to the algal
blooms," Jessup said Tuesday evening, referring to
the recent red tide. "We have made considerable progress.
It turns out it's not a fish oil or vegetable oil product,
as well as not being a petroleum oil or the light brown
apple moth spray."
Dead and sick surf scoters, loons and other near-shore
birds began appearing on Watsonville-area beaches Nov.
10. A second die-off that started Saturday had killed or
sickened about 130 birds by Tuesday afternoon, Jessup said.
About 60 birds were rescued from local beaches on Tuesday
"It's the worst in 10 years, easily," Jessup
said of the die-off.
Red tides are an algae bloom that occur regularly on the
Monterey Bay, but their severity and length varies. :::snip:::
Jennifer Squires, Sentinel staff writer http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/story.php?storySection=Local&sid=51080
Rats Wipe Out Seabirds on Alaska Island
By MARY PEMBERTON – November 27, 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — More than 200 years ago,
rats jumped ship for Rat Island. The muscular Norway rat
climbed ashore on the rugged, uninhabited island in far
southwestern Alaska in 1780 after a rodent-infested Japanese
ship ran aground. It was the first time rats had made it
Since then, Rat Island, as the piece of rock was dubbed
by a sea captain in the 1800s, has gone eerily silent.
The sounds of birds are missing.
That is because the rats feed on eggs, chicks and adult
seabirds, which come to the mostly treeless island to nest
on the ground or in crevices in the volcanic rock.
"As far as bird life, it is a dead zone," said
Steve Ebbert, a biologist at the Alaska Maritime National
Wildlife Refuge, whose 2,500 mostly uninhabited islands
include the Aleutian chain, of which Rat Island is a part.
State and federal wildlife biologists are gearing up for
an assault on the rats of still-uninhabited Rat Island,
hoping to exterminate them with rat poison dropped from
Once the rats are gone from Rat Island,
wildlife biologists expect the return of birds to be dramatic.
After black rats were wiped out in November and December
2002 on Anacapa Island off the California coast, murrelets
were back in force by the following April, and Cassin's
auklets were nesting there for the first time.
"Over time, you see an incredible response," Howald
On the Net:
Animal orphans of drought and fire
NEEDY ANIMALS BROUGHT TO WILDLIFE CENTER
By Connie Skipitares, Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News, Article Launched:10/03/2007 01:34:39
Hurt and starving animals whose habitat was scorched in
last month's massive Henry W. Coe State Park fire are scrambling
out of the wilderness and into the arms of wildlife care
workers in Morgan Hill who have taken them under their
At least one peregrine falcon and a screech owl have made
their way out of the charred timberland south of San Jose
and have landed at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation
Center in Morgan Hill. Residents just outside the park's
eastern edge nearest the blaze also are reporting that
raccoons from the fire area are foraging through yards
looking for food.
"The wildlife in the biggest trouble are the youngsters," Howell
said. "The adults are able to fight to survive, but
the kids have a tougher time."
The falcon and screech owl were found at the edges of the
huge state park near Morgan Hill and brought to the wildlife
center. The falcon, which had a broken wing and was dehydrated,
was found next to a horse stable in rural Gilroy.
The owl, which wildlife workers have affectionately named "Little
Henry," had a head injury after apparently being hit
by a car on Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill. He was taken to
the center by a construction worker. Both animals were
"The owl was bruised on the top of his head and his
head was shaking, which is consistent with a brain injury," Howell
said. "The falcon was not burned, but he was starving.
His breast bone was protruding badly because he was so
dehydrated. We are giving him fluid therapy to build him
With the special care and handling of wildlife care workers,
Little Henry's shaking has subsided and he's now back to
eating his normal daily meals of two small mice. The falcon
is also growing stronger and is eating close to his daily
diet of two quail a day.
Howell said the fire orphans are scrambling to find refuge
as well as nourishment.
"With the loss of the great habitat in the fire area,
the birds and other animals are lost in their normal environment,
so they're moving closer to civilization to try to find
shelter and food," she said.
The food they normally eat, like rodents, small birds and
bugs, probably died in the fire. And a large part of the
dense forest and thick chaparral that was their home is
Anyone interested in donating to the Wildlife Education
and Rehabilitation Center may send donations to WERC, P.O.
Box 1105, Morgan Hill, Calif., 95038-1105, or log on to
www.werc-ca.org. Call (408) 779-9372. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_7069545
Endangered whooping cranes can be mistaken for other
Updated: 10/29/2005 12:00 PM
By: Staff and wire reports
It's a familiar sound, heralding the arrival of some
star attractions here on the Texas coast. But since the
late 1930s, these whooping cranes have held center stage
in a real life fight for survival.
“It travels 2,500 miles between the nesting grounds
in Canada and the wintering grounds in Texas, and along
that way it passes through a lot of hazards. That's when
we lose most of the birds. Perhaps late season hurricanes
or barge spills along the intracoastal canal,” Lee
Ann Linam of Texas Parks and Wildlife said.
It's particularly important for hunters to be observant.
Except for its black wingtips, whoopers look a lot like
sandhill cranes, a legal game bird.
“It's grayish in color although it can look white
in some light. You can also listen for the calls. They
kind of have a high bugling call, a little bit stronger
than the kind of purr of the sandhill crane,” Linam
In addition, whooping cranes usually fly in small flocks
of two to six. Other birds look similar to the whooping
crane, which is nearly five feet tall with a wing span
of about seven feet. White pelicans and great egrets are
both big white birds, but have different flying styles.
“Pelicans often glide and soar up into the sky, whereas
whooping cranes you'll usually see them flapping as they
go along. The great egret, it has no black on the wingtips
and it tucks its neck in close to its body when it flies,” Linam
Cranes fly with a long neck extended in front and long
legs trailing behind. Wood storks fly in a similar manner,
but have more black on the wing edges and on the head.
Because Texas is the wintering grounds for the last remaining
wild population of whooping cranes, Texans play an important
part in preserving the birds. Public wildlife refuges and
private land owners maintain habitats along the coast.
“Texans can also watch for whooping cranes as they
pass through Texas during migration - that's usually between
mid-Octobers to late November [from the Texas panhandle
to the coast near Victoria]. It can help us understand
what habitats they're using and also keep an eye on them
to make them sure they're not subject to dangers,” Linam
Last year 194 whooping cranes made it to Texas, and biologists
hope they will break the 200 mark this year.
“We had a record number of chicks. Sixty-six were
born and 41 were still surviving in August, so we're really
hopeful,” Linam said.
Even though the whooping crane is still endangered, its
progress is good. In the 1940s, the numbers were as low
“They sort of represent the ultimate success story
for conservation of a species that was on the verge of
extinction,” Linam said.
Now, those flocking to the coast for a glimpse of the
whooping crane can hear the sound of triumph. VIDEO and
sounds of whoopers; http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/?ArID=122777&SecID=2
Santa Barbara Channel: Whales' deaths spur questions
on ship speeds
By Zeke Barlow (Contact)
Sunday, September 30, 2007
John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research / Courtesy photo
A blue whale surfaces in the Santa Barbara Channel shipping
lanes. As research biologist John Calambokidis was monitoring
the whale, a massive cargo ship headed straight for his
18-foot skiff and the whale.
John Calambokidis was tracking a blue whale through the
Santa Barbara Channel shipping lanes two weeks ago when
he experienced a problem similar to one the world's largest
creatures are facing.
As the research biologist was monitoring the whale, a
massive cargo ship headed straight for Calambokidis, his
18-foot skiff and the whale.
"We had to move because we were on a collision course
with the ship," he said, mindful that he had to give
right of way.
He wonders about what happened to the whale he was watching,
as well as all the others in the channel this time of year.
Necropsy Rules Out Domoic Acid Poisoning
Third Blue Whale Death Ruled Unusual Mortality Event
Monday, October 1, 2007, by Chris Meagher
A necropsy conducted on a blue whale carcass at Pt. Mugu
showed the animal didn’t have any detectable levels
of domoic acid in its system, contrary to scientific speculation
The blue whale — the third killed by a ship strike
off the Southern California coast in September — was
first spotted floating in the Santa Barbara Channel off
of Platform Gail on Thursday, September 20. A storm then
moved the body to an eddy, where it circled between Platform
Gail and Platform Grace. The whale had not been dead long,
scientists determined, because the skin was still intact
and blue, and there were no major external injuries. :::snip:::
Plan details delisting of endangered shorebird
Plover backers unhappy with 2047 proposal
By Zeke Barlow
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Local Western snowy plover advocates expressed mixed emotions
over the recently released plan for removing the tiny bird
from the Endangered Species Act by 2047.
The document lays out population targets for six coastal
areas in California, Oregon and Washington and other criteria
that would have to be met for such a delisting to take
Among the criteria, it calls for an average population
of 3,000 breeding adults to be maintained for 10 years.
More than 1,900 adult snowy plovers, which were listed
as threatened in 1993, were estimated to be living along
the bird's three-state coastal range last year, according
to Fish and Wildlife Service. This year, 184 birds were
counted in Ventura County, compared to 221 last summer.
Fish and Wildlife officials said in the plan that because
the snowy plover lives in areas with close human contact,
nonprofit groups, beach users, landowners and other nongovernment
entities should be involved in "a collaborative stewardship
approach" for monitoring and protecting the birds
and their nests. :::snip:::
The Center for Biological Diversity, a wildlife protection
group, criticized the plan Monday for setting population
targets it thinks are too low.
"This is an extinction plan, not a recovery plan," said
Kieran Suckling, the center's policy director.
He said that because the target populations are close
to being reached in some areas, "the low bar" set
by federal wildlife officials provided fewer safeguards
for the birds.
For the snowy plover to be considered no longer threatened,
the 10-year average census would have to reach 1,200 for
the region from San Luis Obispo to Ventura counties.
Is it the end of the line for the albatross?
September 16, 2007 THE ocean-roaming albatross, once believed
to carry the souls of dead sailors, is sliding towards
The United Nations estimates 300,000 seabirds a year drown
on the end of longline fishing hooks, with 16 species of
albatross accounting for up to a third of the carnage.
But The Sunday Age has learnt that a secret Australian
project — involving scientists and international
fisheries — is poised to help save the most elegant
of birds and its near relatives.
A former Queensland tuna fisherman, Hans Jusseit, has
invented a "smart hook" that does not snare diving
seabirds or critically endangered turtles. :::snip::: <http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/is-it-the-end-of-the-line-for-the-albatross/2007/09/15/1189277050406.html#>
To Alaska and back - the epic, record-breaking trip of
The Bar Tailed Godwit covers amazing distances.
by Angela Gregory, Tuesday September 11, 2007
A record-breaking godwit known as E7 is refuelling in
the Firth of Thames after having made it all the way to
Alaska and back wearing a surgically implanted satellite
The female bird was the first of 16 bar-tailed godwits
tagged in February by ecologist Dr Phil Battley, from Massey
University, to return to New Zealand.
Data provided by the transmitter meant that Dr Battley
could confirm her route, with her entire migratory journey
clocking in at close to 30,000 km, and the southern return
leg at more than 11,500km.
Dr Battley said E7 set the record for the longest flight
of the tagged birds on the journey north and then broke
her own record on the way back south.
E7 first went to the Yellow Sea, flying 10200 km direct
from Miranda in the Firth of Thames, where she was banded
up, to Yalu Jiang Nature reserve in China.
She spent five weeks refuelling there and then at the
start of May flew to the breeding grounds in Alaska, another
Dr Battley said E7 went to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and
spent the next two months there where she was almost certainly
"She left there about mid-July and went to the mudflats
on the edge of the Yukon Delta where she refuelled again,
getting nice and fat until the end of August."
Dr Battley said the southward migration of the godwit
from Alaska to New Zealand was thought to be the longest
non-stop migration of any bird.
"She had the option to fly down to the Alaskan peninsula
and take off from about 500 km further south but she didn't
do that - this indicates the long journey is not such a
problem to her or that she's needing to find a shorter
Dr Battley said E7 was back at her favourite spot at Miranda
after becoming the first godwit to have her migration monitored
by satellite, but had confounded attempts to photograph
her after her epic journey.
"Unfortunately it's a muddy spot with no access so
while it would be nice to have pictures we just haven't
been able to photograph her."
Dr Battley said E7 probably arrived late on Friday night.
Her transmitter was on for six hours every 36 hours and
on Friday afternoon she was south-west of Ninety Mile Beach
By 3am on Sunday morning E7 was recorded as being back
She was expected to rest in the Firth of Thames until
about March, when she would make her way back to Alaska
to have her chicks.
E7 would have a complete feather moult before starting
out all over again. "She'll moult into breeding plumage,
fuel up again, and take the same route back to the Yellow
Sea and Alaska.
"What's really amazing is that once her chicks have
fledged they'll be left to their own devices and will have
to migrate to New Zealand without parental guidance."
Dr Battley was now awaiting the arrival of four other
birds with transmitters that were still working. Eight
birds fitted with backpack tracking devices had not been
monitored because the devices appear to have fallen off.
The transmitters on three of the eight birds which had
the devices surgically implanted also appeared to have
Godwits arrived in New Zealand in September each year
and the adults left in mid-March, with adolescent birds
staying until they were up to three or four years old.
The largest populations in New Zealand were found in the
Kaipara Harbour, Manukau Harbour and Farewell Spit.
Dr Battley's next project was to undertake similar work
with a sub-population of the bar-tailed godwit in northwest
Australia, allowing comparison of the migratory habits
of the two populations.
The project would provide crucial information about the
migratory behaviour of declining species.
The satellite track of the godwits' travels can be viewed
Endangered California condor dies of lead poisoning
August 18, 2007 7:44 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An endangered California condor that
was being treated at the Los Angeles Zoo for lead poisoning
Tests showed the bird had 10 times the safe amount of
lead in its bloodstream after it was caught at the Bitter
Creek National Wildlife Refuge last month. Only about 300
California condors remain in the world.
Researchers believe the condor, North America's largest
flying bird, may have ingested lead paint or soil contaminated
with lead bullet fragments.
Scientists at the zoo were not able to determine the source
of the bird's lead poisoning.
The California Fish and Game Commission is set later this
month to consider a ban on lead ammunition for hunting
in condor habitat.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. http://ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=6949934&nav=menu544_3
U.S. Agency May Reverse 8 Decisions on Wildlife
By JOHN M. BRODER, Published: July 21, 2007
WASHINGTON, July 20 — The Interior Department said
Friday that it would review and probably overturn eight
decisions on wildlife and land-use issues made by a senior
political appointee who has been found to have improperly
favored industry and landowners over agency scientists.
The appointee, Julie A. MacDonald, resigned on May 1 as
a deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and
parks, after an internal review found that she had violated
federal rules by giving government documents to lobbyists
for industry. The agency’s inspector general also
found several instances in which Ms. MacDonald browbeat
department biologists and habitat specialists and overruled
their recommendations to protect a variety of rare and
threatened species. :::snip:::
The species that could receive additional protection are
the white-tailed prairie dog, Preble’s meadow jumping
mouse, 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wing flies, the arroyo
toad, the Southwestern willow flycatcher, the California
red-legged frog and the Canada lynx. The extent of Rocky
Mountain habitat protection for the jumping mouse is also
Environmental advocates said numerous cases of potential
political interference by Ms. MacDonald or others in the
department were left off the list of decisions to be reviewed.
They cited as examples decisions affecting the status of
the marbled murrelet, a small sea bird found in the Pacific
Northwest; a plan to help speed the spotted owl’s
recovery; and the habitat of the bull trout.
Dead seabirds found on coast
6/30/2007 7:30:16 PM
The Department of Natural Resources is trying to find out
why seabirds are dying on South Carolina's coast.
The DNR has received reports of more than 140 dead or sick
Greater Shearwaters, a gull-like bird.
Biologists are examining the dead birds to find out what
If you see a sick or dying bird, don't touch it, but record
the time and location and call the DNR. Call or send information
Dr. Al Segars 843-252-4244
Many more stories on the deaths of the
Greater Shearwaters, including the most recent, July
More than 1,000 have been found to date, from the Bahamas/Florida
to S. Carolina.
"The birds, which feed on small fish,
nest on islands off southern Africa and then migrate
north during the summer to the ocean off Canada. Most
of the dead birds are juveniles that were born this year.
"It does look like they are starving to death," Watson
said. "They are extremely malnourished."
The winds on the ocean could be pushing the birds off
course where they find less to eat, he said.
"The other thing is the forage fish they rely on
may be unavailable to them for some reason," Watson
said. "Is it because there is less out there? We don't
know. We are hearing that off the coast of South Carolina
it could be one of the worst years on record for forage
Initial tests on the dead birds do not
seem to indicate bird flu or some other disease. Al Segars,
a state Department of Natural Resources veterinarian,
said that dehydration also was a factor because seabirds
get much of the water they need from the fish they eat....."
Seabird Diet History Revealed
Through Analyisis Of Museum Samples
Science Daily, Date: June 29, 2007 — Using
feathers from museum collections all over the world, a
University of Guelph integrative biology professor has
tested a new hypothesis about what led to population decline
of a species of seabirds in Canada.
Prof. Ryan Norris conducted a historical analysis of
museum specimens of marbled murrelets going back more
than a century to examine how dietary changes may have
affected the seabirds’ numbers.
The study, which will be published in the August issue
of Journal of Applied Ecology, also illustrates how scientists
can use museum specimens to figure out what led to a species
decline and to help focus conservation efforts.
“One of the biggest unknowns for endangered or threatened species is
how their populations fluctuated naturally before human disturbances,” Norris
“But there are millions of specimens in museums across the country, many
of which were collected before habitats started to decline and that can give
you really important baseline information for designing plans to conserve species.”
For example, there is little historical information about
marbled murrelets because the birds are highly secretive
and difficult to study, he said. “The first murrelet
nest wasn’t discovered until 1975 so gathering information
about the causes of their decline has been extremely difficult.”
But Norris was able to reconstruct the diet of the seabirds
by utilizing museum specimens dating back to 1889.
Working with Peter Arcese of the University of British
Columbia’s department of forest sciences, he visited
dozens of museums across North America collecting feathers
from marbled murrelets gathered from the Georgia Strait — the
waters between Vancouver Island and British Columbia’s
The seabirds spend more than 90 per cent of their time
on the sea, but they travel up to 100 km inland to nest
in old growth forests. The species numbers have been dwindling
in Canada over the past 100 years, a drop that scientists
previously attributed to a loss of coastal old growth forests.
Norris decided to examine how marine diet over the last
100 years might have influenced the birds’ populations
by analyzing the stable carbon and stable nitrogen isotopes,
chemical signatures that become fixed into the marbled
murrelets feathers when they’re grown.
Their isotope analysis showed that prior to 1900, the birds
were feeding most on fish, but that by the 1970s, 80s and
90s, their diet consisted of marine invertebrates, which
are much less energetically rich than fish.
“Murrelets have to catch around 80 to 100 marine invertebrates to get
the same nutritional value as in one forage fish,” Norris said.
The researchers concluded that the seabirds’ population
changes in Canada after 1950 were likely influenced by
a decline in the amount of fish in their diet. It’s
an important finding because it suggests that to save the
species, conservation efforts should be refocused.
“Instead of spending all their time and money on the murrelet’s
nesting habitat, conservationists and managers may have to take a step back
and evaluate how to optimally allocate resources to conserve this species,” said
“If we keep pouring all of our money into the current plan, it’s
possible this amazing seabird will continue to decline anyway.”
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued
by University Of Guelph. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627140414.htm
Tourists witness a good turn for a baby tern
Boat passengers applaud as lifeguards rescue
the drowning seabird next to a barge in Long Beach Harbor.
By Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
June 17, 2007
Tour boat captain Dan Salas radioed for help Saturday as soon as he noticed
a drowning baby seabird in the rolling swell beside a barge anchored in
Long Beach Harbor.
Three minutes later, Long Beach lifeguards arrived in a patrol boat and
set to work, providing the 20 tourists aboard Salas' 80-foot vessel, Kristina,
with a rare view of an avian rescue operation half a mile offshore.
The passengers applauded and whistled when lifeguard John Virack carefully
scooped the baby Caspian tern out of the water with two hands, then wrapped
it in a towel for transport to a local bird rescue center.
Back on the barge, a raucous colony of Caspian terns had transformed
mounds of coiled rope into shady camouflage for pale yellow
hatchlings. Adult terns swooped in every few minutes with
tiny silver fish in their beaks and promptly fed newly
hatched birds. Others chased intruding brown pelicans,
double-crested cormorants and Heermann's gulls away from
their nests on the flat deck. :::snip::: LATimes
To everything there is a season ...
A year after mass deaths, terns return to the harbor to
nest on a barge.
By Kristopher Hanson, Staff writer Long Beach Press Telegram
LONG BEACH - A group of migrating Caspian terns has established
a nesting colony on a barge in Long Beach harbor nearly a year after hundreds
of other hatchlings were allegedly wiped out by barge operators.
The new colony, which is smaller and reportedly includes
other bird species, was established in March, with hatchlings arriving
in mid-May, according to witnesses.
The nests are situated atop the Arctic Challenger, an ice-breaker barge
anchored just off Alamitos Beach near Oil Island White.
Dan Salas, who charters harbor tours with Long Beach-based Harbor Breeze
Cruises, said the colony is about one-third the size of last year's and
includes brown pelicans and cormorants.
In April, the Long Beach city prosecutor's office filed criminal charges
against a tugboat owner and two employees accused of causing at least
400 baby Caspian and elegant terns to drown last summer.
Point Loma Maritime Services owner Ralph Botticelli, 40, and his employees
- Alan Schlange, 38, and Scott Caslin, 32 - were charged last month with
seven misdemeanor counts, including animal cruelty, in connection with
The three allegedly forced the colony from two rock barges in late June
as they cleared the surfaces for a fireworks show outside the city.
Between June 29 and July 1, 2006, hundreds of dead chicks washed up on
local beaches, prompting widespread outrage and a lengthy investigation
by local, state and federal authorities.
Caspian terns are a protected species with only five known nesting sites
in the world. The Long Beach Harbor colony is the northernmost nesting
site known to biologists.
Earlier this year, authorities promised to protect any future colonies,
but it was unclear Wednesday if wildlife personnel were aware of the new
Messages left with the California Department of Fish and Game were not
Bye, Bye Birdies?
20 Common Bird Species Are In Dramatic Decline, According
To Audubon Study
BOSTON, June 16, 2007
Christian Science Monitor) This article was written by
New data show the populations of some of America's well-known
birds in a tailspin, thanks to the one-two punch of habitat
fragmentation and, increasingly, global warming.
From the heartland's whippoorwills and meadowlarks to
the Northern bobwhite and common terns of the nation's
coasts, 20 common bird species tracked by the National
Audubon Society have seen their numbers fall 54 percent
overall since 1967, with some down about 80 percent, the
group reported Thursday.
Most of the trouble lies with loss of bird habitat, and
has for decades, due to expanding agriculture and suburban
development. :::snip::: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/15/national/main2933617.shtml http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0615/p02s03-usgn.html?page=1
Wildlife Officials Shoot Cougar
June 6th, 2007 @ 2:17pm; by Associated Press
State wildlife officials killed a mountain lion north
of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge that had been preying
on endangered desert bighorn sheep for several months.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said the young
male lion was found with two freshly killed bighorns and
a mule deer when it was killed on Sunday.
The cougar was killed as part of an effort to prevent
the further decline of the bighorn sheep population, which
is at a historic low.
"When added to two other known bighorn sheep kills
on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge during the past three
months, these dead sheep would equal the entire annual
recruitment of yearling sheep that we would expect to be
produced by 25 ewes," Larry Voyles, regional supervisor
for Game and Fish, said in a statement.
Lions that kill more than two sheep in a six-month period
are a significant threat to the already seriously declining
bighorn sheep herd, according to Game and Fish.
A survey taken in November showed the bighorn sheep herd
on the Kofa refuge had fallen to an estimated 390 animals,
a drastic drop from estimated 812 sheep counted in 2000.
"Given the declining status of the bighorn population
on the Kofa, it cannot withstand the level of predation
that this particular lion was exerting on the herd," Voyles
Kofa refuge officials are considering allowing lion hunts
but are under a court order to do an analysis of its effects
before making a decision.
The lion killed Sunday had been tracked since February.
The Kofa herd once was one of the most robust in the nation
and has been used to repopulate other areas of Arizona
and southwestern United States mountain ranges for 50 years.
Sheep transplants from the Kofa National
Wildlife Refuge were suspended this year due to the severe
<http://ktar.com/?nid=6&sid=504761>; see also: <http://www.yumasun.com/news/sheep_34458___article.html/refuge_kofa.html>
From AZ Game and Fish Dept:
Southwest California condor program review completed
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a
review of the condor program in northern Arizona and southern
Utah. The review is the second five-year assessment of
the program and focuses on the 2002-2006 period. A team
of wildlife officials, land managers and condor biologists
recommend that the reintroduction program continue with
The California condor reintroduction project began in
1996 with the release of six condors at the Vermilion Cliffs
in Arizona. A total of 93 condors have been released since
then, with 57 still remaining.
In 2001, a reintroduced condor produced the first confirmed
egg laid in the wild since 1986. Five condors have hatched
in the wild to date.
Implementation of a voluntary non-lead ammunition program
in Arizona has reduced available toxic lead bullet fragments
by an estimated 50 percent on the Kaibab and Paria plateaus.
Overall mortality has been reduced from 40 percent in
the first five-year period to 27 percent in this reporting
period. Improved field techniques have virtually eliminated
predation of newly released condors. Better adaptive management
in the field has been implemented to more effectively address
condor behavior issues.
The review recognizes that lead toxicity is a major challenge
facing condors and the primary inhibitor of a self-sustaining
population. Studies have concluded that lead shot and bullet
fragments found in game carcasses and gut piles are the
main source of lead in condors. Condors are group feeders,
so several birds can ingest lead fragments from one carcass
or gut pile.
Cooperative efforts are underway to remediate lead contamination
in condors. The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers
a free non-lead ammunition program, started in 2005, in
an attempt to reduce lead exposure for wild condors. Hunters
have responded positively to using non-lead ammunition
and are credited with helping lower lead toxicity in condors,
although expanded adoption of the effort is needed to further
reduce lead exposure and mortality in the population.
The review was conducted as a joint effort between the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department,
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, The Peregrine Fund
and Bureau of Land Management, with input from numerous
agencies, local governments and open house participants.
For more information on the California
condor, visit azgfd.gov/condor.
Survival at stake as nations debate trade in wildlife
Saturday, June 02, 2007, PARIS: With the fate of hundreds
of endangered species hanging in the balance, representatives
from 171 nations kick off a critical two-week meeting
on Sunday in The Hague on how best to regulate the
global commerce in wild animals and plants.
Some 2500 delegates of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or
CITES, will vote on dozens of proposals seeking to strengthen
or weaken trade protection for wildlife ranging from elephants
and leopards to orchids and cactus threatened by over-exploitation.
The stakes are enormous, and often in conflict.
Legal and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora — whether
live specimens or by-products like tiger-bone medicines,
ivory or coral jewellery and exotic-wood furniture — generates
tens of billions of dollars (euros) in revenue every year,
even after commercial fishing and the timber industry are
Finding a middle ground between safeguarding
wildlife and the protecting the livelihood of local populations
who exploit it economically is rarely easy, experts say.
It is also the centrepiece of a new “strategic vision” proposed
by CITES that some conservation groups fear will water
down the convention’s original mission.
“While the primary goal of CITES is to conserve
biodiversity, governments have recognized that there are
linkages between conservation and the livelihoods of poor
people,” CITES said in a communique. :::snip::: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=58835
Rare ibises returned to nature
June 1, 2007: XI'AN: Twenty ibises that were bred in captivity
were released into the wild yesterday in Ningshan County,
Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, reflecting the progress
that efforts to breed and protect the endangered species
"If these birds can learn to live in their natural
environment, then ibises can expect to bid farewell to
their status as an endangered species," said Huang
Zhixue, chief of the county's wild release training base.
Huang said the 20 birds were transferred from the artificial
breeding centers in Yangxian and Zhouzhi counties to Ningshan
in March for the last stage of adaptive training.
"These birds had been trained for one to three years
in Yangxian and Zhouzhi counties, which greatly improved
their flying and foraging abilities. The last bit of adaptive
training here introduced them to the climate and surroundings
here," Huang said.
As one of the world's most endangered species, ibises
were once thought to have gone extinct. In 1981, seven
ibises, considered the last of the species, were spotted
in Yangxian County in southern Shaanxi, leading to the
establishment of the Yangxian Ibis Breeding and Protection
After 26 years of efforts to breed the birds in captivity,
the ibis population has increased to about 1,000.
"In order to get ibises off the endangered list,
artificially bred birds must be returned to their natural
habitat. The area where they are released should be gradually
expanded, and eventually they will start breeding in the
wild," the expert said.
Source: China Daily; http://english.people.com.cn/200706/01/eng20070601_380031.html
Three men to be arraigned in deaths of hundreds of seabirds
Associated Press - May 30, 2007 7:14 AM ET
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Three men are due in court today
in connection with the deaths of hundreds of young seabirds
that fell out of their nests on an abandoned barge and
drowned in Long Beach.
Prosecutors say San Diego-based Point Loma Maritime Services
owner Ralph Botticelli, tugboat captain Alan Schlange and
crewmember Scott Caslin are set to be arraigned.
They are each charged with seven misdemeanor counts for
illegally removing, harassing and causing the death of
the terns. They also are charged with destroying several
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.
See also: <http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_6025126>
Arraignment delayed - San Diego company owner, employees
charged with birds' deaths; by: North County Times wire
LONG BEACH -- An arraignment was postponed Wednesday to
June 28 for the owner of a San Diego-based maritime company
and two employees charged in the deaths last summer of
more than 400 fledgling terns that had nested on two barges
in the Port of Long Beach.
Ralph Botticelli III, 40, who owns San Diego-based Point
Loma Maritime Services, and employees Alan Schlange, 38,
of Costa Mesa, and Scott Caslin, 32, of San Diego, are
each charged with seven misdemeanor counts of illegally
removing, harassing and causing the deaths of the terns
on or about June 29, 2006.
The company also is charged with the same counts.
Before the charges were filed, Botticelli told the boating
and fishing newspaper The Log that the birds' deaths were
The company, which did not own the two barges moored at
Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex where the birds were
housed, allegedly moved the vessels for commercial purposes,
All the dead birds were babies "in the sense that
they weren't flying yet," Long Beach City Prosecutor
Tom Reeves has said. http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/05/31/news/sandiego/22_42_355_30_07.txt
HERE for more 2007
HERE for 2006
HERE for 2005 wildlife news
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