The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds American Bird Conservancy, March 2013
Eight Great Reasons to Love the New Migratory Bird Stamp (Link to the Cornell Blog of Ornithology)
Conservation Federation of Missouri, Conservation Wildlife, July 2013, Vol. 74, No. 4 Celebration of Migratory Bird Day, May 13, 2013 (Go to page 14)
Lonesome Chuck (Is No Longer Lonesome)
1. Obama Administration Gives Wind Farms a Pass on Eagle Deaths. An Associated Press investigation has found there is a lack of enforcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of existing federal laws protecting eagles and migratory birds. For more information: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-impact-wind-farms-get-pass-eagle-deaths
2. Conservation Groups Call for Increased Protections for Rapidly Declining Seabird. Over 100 conservation and scientific organizations are calling on the Obama administration to provide new protective measures for the Marbled Murrelet, a federally listed bird species whose population is rapidly declining. A letter to the President from the groups asserts that the “accelerated decline of this species is an indication that current protections for its old-growth forest habitat need to be augmented, benefitting clean air, clean water, wild salmon runs, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services uniquely provided by these irreplaceable forests.”
A recent peer-reviewed study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S.D.A. Forest Service found that the Marbled Murrelet’s population in California, Oregon, and Washington State had declined by 29 percent over the last decade. This trend is consistent with the government’s 2009 five-year status review of the species, which concluded the population could be extinct outside of the Puget Sound area within 100 years.
“More needs to be done. These findings indicate that current efforts to eliminate threats and protect habitat are not enough to bring this species back,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor for American Bird Conservancy, a leading bird conservation group. “Additional habitat protection, acquisition of new forest reserves, and improved recreation management offer hope for its eventual recovery.”
Proposed changes to the Northwest Forest Plan have also left the species’ habitat more vulnerable to disturbance. The final 2012 Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat rule encourages logging in owl-critical habitat, which, in part, overlaps with that of the murrelet. Agency analysis included in the owl rule’s draft environmental assessment indicates that such management practices would likely be harmful to the Marbled Murrelet. Logging—both clearcutting and commercial thinning—increases fragmentation, opening the forests to nest predators such as crows, ravens, and jays.
3. Sea-Level Rise Forecasted in New Study Poses Grave Threat to Many Nesting Birds at Pacific Islands. Dynamic modeling of sea-level rise, which takes storm wind and wave action into account, paints a much graver picture for birds at some low-lying Pacific islands under climate-change scenarios than the so-called passive models used in earlier research, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report.
A team led by research oceanographer Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center compared passive “bathtub” inundation models (which analyze rising sea levels without considering effects of wave action and storm wind) with dynamic models for two of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The team studied Midway, a classic atoll with islands on the shallow (2–8 meters or 6–26 feet deep) atoll rim and a deep, central lagoon, and Laysan, which is higher, with a 20–30 meter (65–98 feet) deep rim and an island in the center of the atoll.
Together, the two locations exhibit landforms and coastal features common to many Pacific islands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they are also among the world’s most important seabird nesting sites, as well as being home to the endangered Laysan Duck, Laysan Finch, and a recently established population of Millerbirds.
“Passive ‘bathtub’ inundation models typically used to forecast sea-level rise impacts suggest that most of the low-lying atolls in the Pacific Islands will still be above sea level for the next 50-150 years. By taking wave-driven processes into account, we forecast that many of the atolls will be inundated, contaminating freshwater supplies and thus making the islands uninhabitable by humans, much sooner,” Storlazzi said. See http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3558 for more details.
4. Birds, Bees, and Aquatic Life Threatened by Gross Underestimate of Toxicity of World’s Most Widely Used Pesticide New Report Charges EPA Ignored Staff Warnings, Approved Widespread Use of Dangerous Pesticides
(Washington, D.C. March 19, 2013) As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife. See link for more information: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/130319.html