Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Odds and Ends #6

News and links related to birds and birding from around the internet.

  • The MDOsprey homepage has a combined review of three books: How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher, Hawks From Every Angle, and Flight Identification of European Seabirds. See Three Related Book Reviews (.pdf file).
  • Via Sphere, there is a website up now devoted to ousting Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Cal-11). Among his other faults, Pombo has been pushing to gut environmental laws, especially the Endangered Species Act. Locally, he attempted to turn Roosevelt Island into a luxury housing development. Voting Pombo out of Congress in the next election cycle should improve the odds for environmental legislation.
  • Via BirderBlog, I learned that the Cornell team is starting out on a new search for ivory-billed woodpeckers in Arkansas. The team is seeking to answer some unresolved questions from the last search, including how many birds there are and where their nests are located. The team will be under considerably more pressure this time around. In their past searches, they had at least the cover of secrecy, so if no bird was found, there would be no public disappointment. But with the publicity from various media appearances, and resulting controversy in some circles, failure to produce further evidence of the bird's existence could lead to significant embarrassment. It really ought not to be this way when the object is simply to find the truth. Unfortunately the ivory-bill may be one of those birds for which emotions run too strongly for complete objectivity.
  • New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection is pushing Delaware to ban the harvest of horseshoe crabs, as opposed to its current less restrictive limits. Delaware allows the harvest of up to 150,000 horseshoe crabs, but none during migration. The purpose of such a ban is to aid the recovery of the red knot, which has been pushed to the brink of extinction because of a collapse in horseshoe crab populations in the Delaware Bay. Migrating red knots - and other shorebirds - feed on the eggs of horseshoe crabs as they migrate from wintering territories in South America to their breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle.