Friday, October 20, 2006

Loose Feathers #71

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

  • A developer is planning to construct 4 acres of artificial marsh on the Miles River in the Eastern Shore of Maryland to allow the construction of luxury homes closer to the original shoreline. The Maryland Critical Area Commission has signed off on the deal. Ecologists argue that the artificial marsh will be inferior in species diversity to natural wetlands and that the site is not sheltered enough from winds and wave action for a manmade wetland to survive.
  • California is evaluating solutions to save the Salton Sea. The rapid shrinkage of the inland lake has threatened important bird habitat as well as public health in the region.
  • Charles Darwin's complete works are now online. For example, you can see the zoology illustrations from the Voyage of the Beagle. An article on the project is here.
  • A superior court judge in Alameda County, California has dismissed lawsuits against wind farm operators in the Altamont Pass. The plaintiffs had sought to compel restitution for the several thousand raptors killed there annually and to force a plan to reduce bird deaths.
  • In the past decade, 1,113 raptors in the United Kingdom have been attacked in the form of gunshot wounds, poison, or nest removal. Illegal persection has hampered the recovery of hen harriers, golden eagles, and red kites.
  • Thousands of lesser flamingos in East Africa have died due to an undetermined disease outbreak. The lesser flamingo population is under threat due to water piping projects.
  • American agriculturalists are feeling pressure due to a decline in pollinators. The chief crop pollinator has been the honey bee, but mammals and birds, especially hummingbirds, play a role in crop pollination as well.
  • If you're dying to see an ivory-billed woodpecker, you can chase some that have been spotted at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The only problem is that they are long-dead specimens.
  • Finally, plastic pink flamingos are facing extinction because the company that makes them has ended production.