Friday, September 01, 2006

Loose Feathers #65

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

  • California has passed a law that aims to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. The article is a little short on details; it seems that the details of the plan still need to be worked out by the California Air Resources Board.
  • Early hominids may have been preyed upon by eagles. The modern African Crowned Hawk Eagle will take small monkeys such as Mangabeys. The skulls of primates found under these eagles' nests bear similar scratches and holes to the skull of the Taung child, a young representative of the species Australopithecus africanus. The article explains more.
  • Lambert's Bay in South Africa had grown dependent on business from birdwatchers who came to watch the nesting flocks of Cape Gannets. When fur seals killed some and drove off the rest, the town lured the gannets back with decoys. It is good for birdwatchers, and good for the town, but is it good for the birds? I guess it depends on whether another incident can be prevented.
  • The oceanside beach at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware is reopening as of today because piping plover chicks have left their nests.
  • A student writes about the trials of being a park ranger on the C&O Canal. Hmm... sounds like good material for a blog.
  • New Jersey is looking to ban the use of pipes and funnels to force feed ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. Here's more on Chicago's ban and the process of making foie gras.
  • The National Park Service is issuing new rules that reject most proposals for allowing jet skis, off-road vehicles, and commercial activities like mining. However, so-called "gateway communities" will have a say in the rules for individual parks.
  • Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management has not been monitoring emissions and the effects on wildlife of drilling on BLM lands. Sage Grouse have been declining thanks to human interference.
  • Dick Kempthorne, the Interior Secretary, is touring the Arctic NWR. He supports drilling: "There's a [wildlife] reserve there," he said before the aborted flight. "But we've seen so many different areas where we can responsibly recover resources and do it while meeting the highest environmental standards. I think it's also important to see it." (The link above suggests otherwise.)
  • A study confirms that California Condors are suffering from lead poisoning due to injested shotgun pellets.