Sunday, June 26, 2005

Some Bird News from around the Web

County tests propane cannon to scare off airport birds

An airport in Alabama is using a 125 decibel cannon to scare off large birds on the runway. These birds are there because the airport recently revitalized wetlands right next to the runway.
Perhaps revitalizing a swamp next to the airport wasn't the best idea, after all? My question is what effect will this have on the wetlands. Surely the herons and geese on the runways will not be the only creatures affected by this.

Birds in a death dive (Australia)

Presents a good reason not to allow reckless use of ATVs in national parks and other wild areas. Plovers nesting on Australian beaches are routinely disturbed by people riding their ATVs along beaches and through fragile dune areas. Nests are crushed and adults must neglect even the surviving nests for self-preservation. Unleashed dogs and rampant development are other common hazards. It appears that in Australia, as well as here in the U.S., beach-nesting birds are among those under the most pressure from humans.

Yellowstone River Bird Research

With summer well underway, it is also time for annual breeding bird surveys. Here in the Maryland and Washington area, the Maryland Ornithological Society is in the fourth year of a five year data collection program in preparation for the second edition of its breeding bird atlas. The first edition was based on data compiled in the mid 1980s.

The linked article reports on an ecologist studying bird populations along the Yellowstone River in Montana as part of a long-term plan for how best to meet human and environmental needs along the river. The population study covers 400 miles of the river and will be repeated over five years. With all the bad news regarding the environment these days, it is heartening to see these types of studies being integrated into a local planning process.

I found it interesting that she makes most of her identifications by ear. This is a skill that I have been trying to learn with moderate success, but I still have quite a ways to go!

Concerns arise over Bush's pick for EPA job

Apparently Bush's new appointee to head the enforcement division at the EPA - Granta Nakayama - has ties to industries under investigation. This really should come as no surprise after the recent resignation of an official (Philip Cooney) who repeatedly edited references to global warming out of administration documents. In this case, Nakayama is a partner in a law firm representing a company whose executives could face jail time if convicted of knowingly spreading asbestos-related diseases and concealing evidence of the danger from the public. Can Bush finally give us some environmental officials without such blatant conflicts of interest? Thanks to Plutonium Page at Daily Kos for the link.