Posted by ardeidae on January 16, 2006

  • Although the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was recently spared from oil drilling, Teshekpuk Lake wasn't so lucky. Last week, The US Department of the Interior opened the Teshekpuk Lake area to oil drilling. The wetlands around the 315-acre lake are popular Inupiat hunting and fishing grounds and are widely considered among the most vital in the Arctic for molting geese. It's part of the 23.5 million acres designated the National Petroleum Reserve, but in the 1980s, Reagan's Interior Secretary, James Watt, protected the area around the lake from development, arguing it was too sensitive. Bush is promising special protections, but environmental groups are concerned it will fragment the habitat. In all, 389,000 acres of Alaskan lakes, tundra, and shoreline will be affected.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service denies emergency request to list the Red Knot (Calidris canutus) as endangered. In the last decade, the population of Red Knots has dropped from nearly 100,000 on the Delaware Bay, a migratory stopover, to fewer than 15,000. Computer models predict the bird could be extinct by 2010. Under a non-emergency basis, the USFWS has 90 days after a petition is filed to consider if a species should be listed. It's been almost six months since environmental groups filed petitions and the USFWS still hasn't proposed it for listing. According to them, "We have so many issues and so few resources that it takes us longer." Tell that to the birds.
  • Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) spotted near Davis, California. The last reported sighting of a Snowy Owl in California was in 1978. There's an unusually high influx of these owls in the US this year due to a shortage of food in Canada and Alaska.
  • Bird watchers gather near Lyndonville, New York to get rare sighting of Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). "This is one of those rare birds that people will come from hundreds of miles to see," said Garner Light, an organizer for the Buffalo Audubon Society. Like the many Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) seen lately, it probably came down from Canada looking for food.
  • Macaw bites alleged burglar, helping police to identify the suspect. The man confessed to breaking the glass in the door to get into the apartment, but said he was too drunk to remember anything else but his encounter with the bird.
  • Maine woman sets world record for largest collection of owl memorabilia.
  • Investigation by ProFauna Indonesia reveals that birds are being smuggled from Indonesia in crates used to ship dogs, cats and other animals. Many of the birds are protected and endangered. Birds are confined in the tight space and their beaks are taped shut to prevent them from making any sound. They are also deprived of food and water. Said one investigator, "It's no surprise to see that 40% die before reaching the markets."





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