Posted on July 28, 2015 by Al B.
The Marbled Murrelet has been at the center of one of the most contentious environmental controversy’s in this country’s history, along with the spotted owl. The battle to save this small bird, has focused on it’s habitat, the shrinking world of old growth timber. There likely are other causes, from dwindling food sources in our warming oceans, pollution at sea and other issues, but the old growth battle has been intense. It went to court last year in an unsuccessful attempt to set aside larger tracts of timber. Here’s an update from the Seattle Times.
In 1992, a small, speedy seabird called the marbled murrelet was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Its home — the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest — had dwindled, leaving it few places to nest. Twenty-three years later, the population of the bird has continued to decline. By some counts, its numbers are 50 percent lower than they were a decade ago. … The Murrelet Survival Project, which started last August, is pressuring the state and federal governments to come up with a long-term conservation plan, aimed at increasing the murrelet’s nesting habitat. Miguel Otarola reports. (Seattle Times)
Read the whole story and subscribe to the Times. Keep journalism local.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: birds, endangered, ESA, marbled murrelett, old growth, seabird | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 5, 2015 by Al B.
Hundreds of young birds are washing up on coastal beaches, dead of what may be starvation. Although it’s grim news, there’s some belief it could be a natural event. My wonder is with changes to the ocean due to global warming, could a lack of food be affecting a lot more than just these? Say, also whales? Read the whole story at Earthfix.org.
Scientists are trying to figure out what’s behind the deaths of seabirds that have been found by the hundreds along the Pacific Coast since October. Mass die-offs of the small, white-bellied gray birds known as Cassin’s aucklets have been reported from British Columbia to San Luis Obispo, California. (Earthfix.org)
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: Auklets, birds, coast, pacific ocean | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 12, 2014 by Al B.
This week, the Cornell Lab and partners released the 2014 State of the Birds Report. The report commemorates Martha, the world’s last Passenger Pigeon, whose tragic passing 100 years ago spurred the creation of the world’s greatest conservation movement.
In the last century we’ve saved Wood Ducks and Bald Eagles, Kirtland’s Warblers and Brown Pelicans, and more. The new report offers the most comprehensive review of long-term trend data for U.S. birds ever, identifying a Watch List of 228 high-concern species as well as 33 Common Birds in Steep Decline to begin conserving now. See the full report and download the lists.
Filed under: Birds | Tagged: birds, conservation, extinction | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 25, 2014 by Al B.
For many years I’ve been commenting to friends that I felt I’ve seen a substantial drop in shorebirds around Port Townsend, and on the coast in general. It appears I unfortunately may be correct.
“Scoters down 75% from the 1970’s. Murres have dropped even more. Western Grebes have mostly vanished…”
Craig Welch reports for the Seattle Times.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: birds, grebe, herring, sand lance, shorebirds | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 21, 2013 by Al B.
Woodpeckers – including this Northern Flicker – are master carpenters of the bird world. They’re called “keystone species” for their crucial role in creating habitat suited to other woodland wildlife. Abandoned woodpecker nest-holes become nests or roosts for small owls, cavity-nesting ducks, swifts, bluebirds, swallows, wrens, and other birds, as well as many small mammals.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: birds, northern flicker, woodpeckers | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 3, 2013 by Al B.
If you like to listen: “Since 1995, biologist Dan Varland, Executive Director of Coastal Raptors, has been monitoring the health of raptors on the Washington coast, where Peregrine Falcons stoop on shorebirds feeding along the tideline…”
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: birds, peregrine falcons, raptors, shorebirds | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 5, 2013 by Al B.
Washington State Representative Kevin Van De Wege of the 24th Legislative District has threatened legislation revoking federal control of Dungeness Spit. This in response to a proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation plan that would ban all jogging and horseback riding on the Dungeness Spit and nearby upland trails, Rep. Van De Wege (D-Sequim) is looking into legislation allowing the state to retake control of part of the spit.
While we understand that jogging and horseback riding are not normally thought as being incompatible with a ‘park’, a gentle reminder is that this refuge was not set up as a standard ‘park’, such as Fort Worden, but as a wildlife refuge’, to protect specific birds that were nesting there. It was established in 1915 for the specific purpose of protecting nesting shorebirds. The refuge was not created to help people jog or horseback ride. To repeat, it is not a “park” it is a refuge.
There apparently was an incident last year between a horse and a pedestrian that has led to this current situation. The person had serious injuries. Whether this refuge is suitable for horse riding is certainly a separate and debatable issue.
We believe that Representative Van De Wege, who was elected with great help from the environmental community, should sit down and work with Olympic Audubon to forge a plan to help the horse community and the refuge come to a solution. It may be that jogging may have to be rerouted around a more workable situation, and an educational program for the community be mounted to help people understand the purpose of this ’wildlife refuge.”
Filed under: Around the Sound, Clallam County, Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, Government, Olympic Peninsula, Places | Tagged: birds, Kevin Van De Wege | Leave a comment »