Friday, May 05, 2006

Loose Feathers #44

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.

  • The Bush administration is proposing to sell off 300,000 acres of national forest lands to reduce the budget deficits. The land for sale would include 5,721 acres in Virginia and 4,827 acres in West Virginia.
  • The Pacific Ocean's Walker Circulation appears to be gradually weakening. As a result, fish that depend on the currents generating by the air circulation may starve, reducing food for birds and for humans.
  • Several counties in Maryland have begun hiring professional sharpshooters to control white-tailed deer populations in suburban areas. Many times the sharpshooters are working at night in parks or close to residential areas, which are not normally open to hunting. Needless to say, the activity is drawing mixed reviews from residents - some very positive and some very negative. The high populations are both a safety issue for people and an ecological threat for other animals, including birds.
  • birdDC has a list of pending bills that will affect birds and deserve support.
  • The source for the Delaware Bay oil spill has been found. With any luck, workers may be able to clean up the worst of it before the bulk of migrating shorebirds arrive in a week or two. Some of the affected beaches are centers for red knot migration.
  • A forest fire in Huron National Forest in Michigan destroyed about 500 acres of forest used for breeding by 37 pairs of Kirtland's Warblers. While those pairs may not be able to breed this year due to territorial loss, it may help in the future by rejuvenating the jack pines, which require intense heat to open their cones.
  • Earlier springs, associated with global warming, may be starving migratory birds who still arrive at the same time they used to, only to find that the food sources they expected have already passed. (Coturnix posted on this yesterday.)
  • Visit this week's Friday Ark for pictures of birds and other creatures.