Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

Obama Administration Rushes to Protect Public Lands Before Trump Takes Office

Environmental groups hope Utah, Nevada and Grand Canyon will be included in rapid conservation efforts as Trump plans to expand fossil fuel extraction

Oliver Milman
@olliemilman
Thursday 24 November 2016 11.00 EST

Barack Obama’s administration is rushing through conservation safeguards for large areas of public land ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House, presenting a conundrum for the new president’s goal of opening up more places for oil and gas drilling.

On Monday, the US Department of the Interior banned gold mining on 30,000 acres of land near the northern entrance of Yellowstone national park. This follows announcements last week that barred drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska and a brokered settlement that cancelled 32,000 acres of mining leases on Montana land considered by the Blackfeet tribe as “like a church, a divine sanctuary”.

Obama’s administration has also cancelled 25 oil and gas leases in Colorado since Trump’s election win and further executive action is expected before the real estate magnate takes office in January.

Environmentalists expect some level of protection to be placed upon the Bears Ears landscape in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada and the greater Grand Canyon area, in order to bar uranium mining in the region. A permanent ban on drilling in the Arctic is also on the wish list, but is considered less likely.

Trump has said that more public land should be opened up for fossil fuel extraction, although he has also said the government should be “great stewards” of the land. In a YouTube address outlining his first 100 days in office, Trump said he would “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs”..

Obama has protected more land and water – more than 265m acres – via executive action than any other president. Green groups are quietly confident that they would be able to sway moderate Republicans to oppose any dismantling of the reserves Obama set up, citing strong public support for them, but Trump is expected to follow an aggressively pro-fossil fuels approach once in power.

The president-elect has promised to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline and has reportedly shortlisted former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Mary Fallin, the governor of Oklahoma who he met on Monday, as secretary of the interior. Both are strongly in favor of expanded oil and gas drilling, with Fallin recently declaring 13 October as a day of prayer for the oil industry in her state.

“I would love the current administration to go further and protect places in California, Utah, Texas and the Grand Canyon,” said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America.

“One of the vulnerabilities of executive action is that the next executive can act. But no one can work so fast that they can reverse all the action we’ve had over the past eight years. I’m worried, yes, but the public is with us, the science is with us and we will mobilize support for this.”
...Read more

Monday, November 28, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, December 3, 2016 to Sunday, December 4, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, December 4, 2016, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: 12 Birds of Winter
Not everyone flies south for the winter. Join the Prospect Park Alliance and spot Prospect Park’s most common winter birds during their busiest time of day. Tour leaves promptly at 8 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Breezy Point, Rockaway Queens
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: Coastal waterfowl, open space birds, dune relevant species, raptors
Car fee: $12.00
Registrar: Bob Washburn nyc_bob@earthlink.net
Registration Period: Nov 26th - Dec 1st

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Croton Point Park
Meet at 8AM in the large parking lot
We will search the meadow for American Pipit and other grassland birds such as Savannah Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlark. American Tree Sparrow should be common along the wooded edges. This will be a long walk with hills as we circle the meadow.
Directions: http://hras.org/wtobird/croton.html

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 9:00AM
Birding Jones Beach
Who says beach going is a summertime activity? There is no better place to be birding than the barrier beaches in late fall. We'll look for flashy ducks, rare gulls, roosting owls, surprise migrant songbirds, snow buntings, longspurs, and seals.
Registration: 516-782-0293
Directions: take the Meadowbrook south and take exit for the West End, heading west. Continue past the little tollbooth (no charge!) for a half mile and make a right toward the Coast Guard Station. Shortly make another right and park by the restrooms.
Registration is a must as group size is limited to 15.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Massapequa, Capri Pond, Coastal Areas
Leader: Gabriel Willow
Registrar: Louise Fraza — louisefraza@yahoo.com or 212-534-6182
Registration opens: Monday, November 21
Ride: $35

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10am – 1pm
Winter Birds at Jamaica Bay
Guide: Don Riepe with American Littoral Society and Gateway NRA
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a slide program and a hike around the pond and gardens to look for late migrants and winter birds arriving. Learn to identify many species and how birds and other wildlife survive winter.
For info and reservations, contact Don Riepe at (718) 474-0896, donriepe@gmail.com
Free

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, December 3, 2016 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Richmond town, Southwest Latourette Park @ Old Mill Road
Participants will walk back in time during a stroll along an old country road below the serpentine hills. We will explore Ketchum’s Mill pond, brook and wetlands with naturalist Ray Matarazzo. Analyze the impact of white-tailed deer on our local flora and search for wintering waterfowl in the Richmond Creek.
Meet in the parking lot at the start of Old Mill Road, beside St. Andrew’s church.
For more information contact Ray Matarazzo at (718) 317-7666

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Montauk Point
Leader: Rich Kelly - 516-509-1094
Where: Montauk Point Lighthouse (map)

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Alley Pond Park

All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Birding: Owls at Isham Street and Seaman Avenue (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday's Foto

Native to North America, the Wild Turkey is far different from the selectively bred, white bird that people are accustomed to eating on Thanksgiving. The domestic turkey is actually originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey.

Living primarily in mature forests, particularly ones with nut trees such as oak, hickory, or beech, interspersed with edges and fields, they can also be found in grasslands and swamps where they feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and salamanders. Wild Turkeys were overhunted and by the early 20th century had disappeared from much of their traditional range. In the 1940s efforts were made to reintroduce them with birds being captured and relocated to areas where populations had been decimated but woodlands were recovering. It was so successful that Wild Turkeys now live in areas where they may not have occurred when Europeans first reached the Americas. Today, flocks are also found in Hawaii, Europe, and New Zealand. Around New York City small flocks can be found in Staten Island and the Bronx. For 10 years a single turkey given the name "Zelda" resided in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

The IUCN Red List lists this species conservation status as “Least Concern”.

The Wild Turkey’s scientific name, Meleagris gallopavo, means guineafowl peacock (“Gesner’s (1555) name for the Wild Turkey, because its overall appearance is that of a fowl but in its size and bright tail it resembles a peacock.”) There is speculation that the English name of the bird may have come about from early shipping routes that passed through the country of Turkey on their way to delivering the birds to European markets.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Low Carbon Birding

New York City Audubon has an excellent resource for birding around the five boroughs by public transportation. It's called "NYC Audubon Map & Guide to Birding by Subway". It is available as a download here or from below.

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Treehugger":

Big news: Canada to virtually phase out coal by 2030

Sami Grover
November 21, 2016
Share on Facebook

Goodness me. Climate news is a roller coaster ride these days.

Just as much of the world languishes in uncertainty over the future of a low carbon transition, the Globe and Mail reports that Canada steps up and announces an almost complete phase out of coal for electricity by 2030 at the latest. And this comes just a week after the UK confirmed its coal phase out plans, and France does too.

True, the Canadian plan doesn't actually amount to a complete phase out. Provinces still heavily reliant on coal would be allowed some flexibility if similar emissions reductions can be achieved elsewhere, or if they get serious about Carbon Capture and Storage. Still, this is not a good sign for the coal industry. And given the fact that there are already serious question marks about the viability of President Elect Trump's promises to put coal miners back to work, such an unequivocal market signal from our neighbor to the North should give coal boosters even more pause for thought.

At some point, the world moves on from outdated technologies. And when it does, those who would slow our progress are eventually forced to move on too. They just cede the leadership position to nations who better understand, or are more willing to accept, which way the world is moving.
...Read more

Monday, November 21, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 26, 2016 to Sunday, November 27, 2016:

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Kathleen Howley — kathleenhowley@gmail.com or 212-877-3170
Registration opens: Monday, November 7
Ride: $15 or public transportation

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 3-November 26, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Grande Jones Beach
Leader: Ian Resnick - 917-626-9562
Where: US Coast Guard, 1 West End Boat Basin, Freeport, NY 11520, USA (map)

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Jones Beach West End #2

All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
About 230 different bird species have been recorded in Van Cortlandt Park and over 60 species breed here!
Free!
...Read more

Monday, November 14, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 19, 2016 to Sunday, November 20, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Jones Beach State Park, Nassau County
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: Coastal waterfowl, dune relevant species, raptors
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Heidi Steiner email heidi.steiner@verizon.net or call before 8 pm 718-369-2116
Registration Period: Nov 12th - Nov 17th

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, November 19, 2016 – Meet at 9:00am
Hallock Farm Museum Fields and Hallock State Park
Trip Leader: MaryLaura Lamont
The walk is sponsored by the Hallock Museum Farm on Sound Avenue in Riverhead and led by ELIAS board member MaryLaura Lamont. The roughly 2 mile walk goes through Museum fields and hedgerows and into the woods of the new Hallock State Park. Walking into the park we will reach dunes with spectacular views of Long Island Sound. We are hoping for a variety of migrants, and wintering birds. Bring binoculars. Dress for the weather. There is a $7 charge for this walk, $5 for members of Hallock Museum Farm. The fee benefits the Museum’s education fund. Please call the Museum for reservations, 631-298-5292.

Sunday, November 20, 2016 – Meet at 9:00am
William Floyd Estate
Trip Leader: MaryLaura Lamont
Come to Mastic for the last walk of the season at The William Floyd Estate. This 613 acre estate includes mowed fields, woods, creeks and salt marshes. With this variety of habitat we should find wintering hawks, ducks, sparrows, and perhaps bluebirds and eagles. Round trip walk is about 3 miles. Bring binoculars. The main entrance is 245 Park Drive in Mastic. Call the trip leader MaryLaura Lamont at the Estate at 631.399.2030 for details. This walk is sponsored by the National Park Service, led by ELIAS Board Member, MaryLaura Lamont. There is no charge for this walk.

All levels of naturalists — including beginners — are most welcome on Eastern Long Island Audubon field trips.
Most trips are free to attend, however, sometimes the place we are visiting has a fee.
We try to make a note of it in the notice

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Freshkills Park
Sunday, November 20, 2016, 11:00am
Nature Hike
Explore normally closed sections of Freshkills Park and learn about the history and ongoing progress of the landfill-to-park project. NYC Parks staff will guide visitors through the park and lead a discussion on the many topics surrounding Freshkills Park, including urban ecology, waste management, and park design.
The group will meet at Schmul Playground (at the corner Wild Avenue and Melvin Avenue) and shuttle into Freshkills Park from there.
Sign Up at EventBrite

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, November 19, 2016, 10:00AM to 1:00PM
Winter Waterfowl Workshop
Fee Information: FREE
Learn about the behavior, biology and where to find waterfowl in winter in NYC. Slide presentation followed by hike around East and West Ponds. Leader: Don Riepe. To reserve call 718-474-0896 or email donriepe@gmail.com. (2.5 miles) Bus Q53,Q52, A train to Broad Channel station.

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday November 19, 2016, 8:00am
Wertheim NWR
Leaders: John Gluth (631-827-0120) Vera Capogna (516-639-5430)
From the intersection of Montauk and William Floyd Highways in Shirley, proceed West on Montauk Highway 7/10 of a mile to traffic light (Smith Road) turn left, go over the railroad tracks and proceed to make a right into Wertheim Visitor Center. There are signs both on Montauk Highway and on Smith Road at the turnoff into Wertheim.

Sunday, November 20, 2016, 9:00am
Morton NWR
Leaders: Bob Grover (516-318-8536) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Sunrise Highway east past Shinnecock Canal. Look for A North Sea Road Noyack sign and bear left on CR52. Stay on CR52 and then turn left at light onto CR38. After 1.4 miles on CR38, turn right onto Noyack Road after 5 miles turn left onto refuge.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Kathleen Howley — kathleenhowley@gmail.com or 212-877-3170
Registration opens: Monday, November 7
Ride: $15 or public transportation

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 3-November 26, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, November 19, 2016, 9am – 3pm
Van Trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop at Jamaica Bay
Register for our van trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop (see description below) and get to Jamaica bay the easy way - by passenger van! Bring lunch and water. Limited to 12. $53 (37)
Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 19, 2016
North Shore Duck Walk
Meet at Macy's in Manhasset
Leader: Jennifer 767-3454

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike. Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 AM unless indicated.
If in doubt, please call the trip leader.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks. We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.
Please note there is a $10 per car fee at Sands Pt. Call leader for parking ideas.
Schedule note: *** indicates 8 am official start time
*indicates new parking location

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 19, 2016 @ 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop
Cost: Free
Contact: Don Recklies 718-768-9036/ Chuck Perry 718-667-1393
Meet in the parking lot at the dead end of Staten Island Blvd. (south of Petrides School). We will ascend the trail toward the Butterworth Avenue entrance where we will uproot Japanese barberry and burning bush – and wisteria for the brave and hearty (our 242nd workshop). If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves, pruners & refreshments. After the work session we will take a short walk over nearby trails. For more information call Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393. (Service credit is available.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Goodhue Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
Seeking to complete the purchase of the Goodhue Woods, Protectors is working with the Children’s Aid Society to advocate for the preservation of this open space. Come explore the woodlands and fields of the Goodhue property and help save these woods. We will look for evidence of the area’s geologic history, observe its present ecosystems, and discuss its relation to adjacent areas in the same watershed. During the 1980s and 1990s, Clay Wollney worked at Goodhue as an environmental educator in the summer camp administered by the Children’s Aid Society and he is excited about revisiting his favorite natural area on the North Shore. Meet at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Prospect Avenue. For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
About 230 different bird species have been recorded in Van Cortlandt Park and over 60 species breed here!
Free!

Birding at Bartow at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
8:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
With winter approaching, we’ll be on the lookout for woodland species, raptors, waterfowl, and a possible owl.
Free!

Ranger's Choice: Green-Wood Cemetery Bird Walk and History Tour at Green-Wood Cemetery
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Learn about the famous New Yorkers buried here as well as the diverse bird population that thrives in the rolling acres that surround the graves, tombs, and mausoleums.
Free!

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Birding: Owls at Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, November 11, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 11, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 11, 2016
* NYNY1611.11

- Birds Mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
CATTLE EGRET
Red Knot
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Red-headed Woodpecker
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
CAVE SWALLOW
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (“AUDUBON’S” form)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Vesper Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole
Pine Siskin
EVENING GROSBEAK

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, CAVE SWALLOW, KING EIDER, EURASIAN WIGEON, “AUDUBON’S” form of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, CATTLE EGRET, some YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and EVENING GROSBEAK.

Attracting the most attention this week was the PINK-FOOTED GOOSE lingering at Arthur J. Hendrickson Park just south of Valley Stream State Park. The PINK-FOOTED has been present daily in the CANADA GOOSE flock, sometimes on shore, especially near the tennis courts, or between the 2 bubblers on the pond.

At the hawk watch at Robert Moses State Park last Sunday, a passing Swallow appeared to the observers to be a CAVE SWALLOW, and subsequent analysis of photos seemed to confirm the identification - this is a species to watch for this time of year, especially along the coast on days with northwest winds.

Another very interesting bird at Moses Park last Sunday was an “AUDUBON’S” form of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, seen in a “MYRTLE” flock at Field 2.

Two EURASIAN WIGEONS found on Patchogue Lake on November 3rd were still present there at least to Tuesday, and one lingering at the Salt Marsh Nature Center section of Marine Park was noted last Sunday.

A female KING EIDER found in Bayville on Wednesday was still off Ransom Beach or just east of there today, this beach off Bayville Avenue. Other waterfowl have included a CACKLING GOOSE reported from the Bronx Zoo from Monday on and the ongoing arrival of winter ducks.

The continuing influx of CATTLE EGRETS included one at Riis Park golf course last weekend, perhaps the same individual seen at adjacent Fort Tilden Saturday, and another appeared last weekend out in Yaphank at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center off Yaphank Avenue.

A PARASITIC JAEGER was seen off Montauk Point Thursday.

The peak count of 14 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS at Santapogue Creek in Lindenhurst occurred last Saturday, and RED KNOTS roosting in Point Lookout Saturday exceeded 100.

Lingering RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS include one in Central Park north of the 65th Street transverse and an adult in Kissena Park Queens.

A nice occurrence was a male EVENING GROSBEAK appearing Monday at the Sylvan Waters section of Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, joining a NELSON’S SPARROW there.

Lower Manhattan seems to have become a mecca for YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, with one remaining at Trinity Church from Thursday the 3rd through today, this at Broadway and Wall Street, while another found Tuesday was still at the Millennium Park several blocks north of there at Broadway and Ann Street today. Two other lower Manhattan reports from last Saturday mentioned single CHATS at the Hudson River Greenway and the Battery Park City Teardrop Park. In Brooklyn a CHAT was spotted at the Salt Marsh Nature Center Monday.

At least four scattered ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were noted this week, and other lingering WARBLERS have included NORTHERN PARULA, OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and BLACK-THROATED BLUE.

At Jones Beach West End three LAPLAND LONGSPURS were noted again last Saturday, along with three PINE SISKINS and a VESPER SPARROW, the latter continuing through the week. Other VESPER SPARROWS featured one in Prospect Park Saturday and another in Kissena Park Sunday.

A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was still at Dreier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn Saturday, and among other late migrants have been RED-EYED and BLUE-HEADED VIREOS and BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

For the next four weeks the RBA will be handled by Tony Lauro - please call Tony with your reports at (631) 734-4126.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Last weekend I joined a group of friends on a "wild goose chase" to try and track down a vagrant Pink-footed Goose on Long Island. We were successful in finding, what was for most of us, a life bird.

The Pink-footed Goose is a medium-sized goose, with a short bill that is bright pink in the middle with a black base and tip. They also sport their namesake pink feet. They nest in eastern Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. After breeding season they all migrate across the North Atlantic wintering in Britain and northwestern Europe. Increasingly strays have been found in North America and eastern Canada. There are approximately a dozen records of this goose in New York State. Feeding primarily on grass and aquatic vegetation in summer, they often nest on cliffs close to glaciers to provide protection from predators.

IUCN Red List lists this species conservation status as “Least Concern”. The population appears to be increasing. You can see an interactive range map here.

Its scientific name, Anser brachyrhynchus, means goose with a short bill.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

6 ways to help elephants
With the elephant poaching epidemic running rampant, experts fear the survival of the species.
Melissa Breyer
November 8, 2016, 12:22 p.m.

Most of the illegal ivory that is sold around the world comes from elephants that have been recently killed. It's not coming from old stashes of ivory, but from elephants that have been poached within the last few years, according to researchers.

Typically, authorities wouldn't know when the ivory was poached, but with new technology researchers used carbon dating to study hundreds of samples of ivory confiscated from around the world. The analysis found that most of the ivory came from elephants killed less than three years ago.

In just the past seven years, African elephant populations in savannahs have dropped 30 percent. Similarly, the number of elephants living in forests have dropped an incredible 62 percent from 2002 to 2013. These deaths, says Smithsonian, are "intimately linked with the illegal global trade in ivory."

This means that poaching may be a more widespread, uncontrolled problem than we think.

In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) passed a moratorium on the international commercial trade of African elephant ivory, except under a few rare circumstances. In the same year, the Bush administration passed the African Elephant Conservation Act (AECA), banning the importation of ivory from the African elephant. Since then, the commercial ivory market in the United States has virtually collapsed.

However, that’s not the case in Asia. As much as 70 percent of the illegal ivory currently being plundered is being routed to China. Revered for millennia as a rare, status-boosting luxury item, ivory has long been out of reach for most. But as China’s economic boom has created a vast middle class, many are now in the market, which has elevated the price of ivory to a staggering $1,000 per pound on the streets of Beijing. The tusks of a single adult elephant can be worth more than 10 times the average annual income for an African worker.

The lust for ivory and the situation in Africa have created what is likely to be the greatest percentage loss of elephants in history. Many fear that the survival of the species is at stake.

What can we do?

If you’re a mercenary, you can strap on your Rambo gear and go to Africa to fight warlords and poachers. If you’re in China and purchase ivory objects, you can decide to stop. But what about the rest of us? None of us can single-handedly stop the ivory trade, but we are not helpless — as much as it may feel like it. Here are six actions we can take to support these grand creatures.

1. Obviously, don’t buy ivory

Or sell it, or wear it. New ivory is strictly banned, but antique ivory can be legally available for purchase. (The regulations are complicated; this is a good overview.) Ivory has traditionally been used for jewelry, billiard balls, pool cues, dominos, fans, piano keys and carved trinkets. Shunning antique ivory is a clear message to dealers that the material is not welcomed, and it's an easy way to show your solidarity with the elephants.

2. Buy elephant-friendly coffee and wood

Coffee and timber crops are often grown in plantations that destroy elephant habitats. Make sure to buy Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber and certified fair trade coffee.

3. Support conservation efforts

If only we could all be Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey, and move to the jungle or plains and thoroughly dedicate our lives to wildlife. Alas, for most of us that’s the stuff of daydreams. In the meantime, we can support the organizations that are actively committed to elephant preservation. There are many, but here are a few:

International Elephant Foundation
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
African Wildlife Foundation
Amboseli Elephant Research Project

4. Be aware of the plight of captive elephants

Historically, zoos and circuses have offered elephants a life of, basically, indentured servitude. Fortunately, the zoo industry is starting to wake up and is beginning to develop more elephant-friendly environments, yet they have a long way to go. Circuses, even further. Make a difference by boycotting circuses that use animals, and by boycotting zoos that offer insufficient space to allow elephants to live in social groups, and where the management style doesn’t allow them to be in control of their own lives. See ElephantVoices for more information.

5. Adopt an elephant

Who wouldn’t want to take home a cute elephant, protect it from the bad guys, and raise it as their own? OK, so that’s not quite realistic, but there are any number of organizations that offer elephant adoptions so that you get cute pictures of “your” elephant, and they get currency to fund their elephant conservation efforts. World Wildlife Foundation, World Animal Foundation, Born Free and Defenders of Wildlife all have adoption programs and are good places to start looking for that special pachyderm.

6. Get involved with Roots and Shoots

Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, Roots and Shoots is a youth program created to incite positive change. There are hundreds of thousands of kids in more than 120 countries in the Roots & Shoots network, all working to create a better world. It’s a great way to get youth involved in conservation and pursue careers to help elephants and other wildlife.
...Read more

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 12, 2016 to Sunday, November 13, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Salt Marsh Trail at Marine Park
Leader: Dan Frazer
Focus: Marsh birds, ducks, late sparrows, raptors
Registrar: Kathy Toomey, email kathleentoomey@gmail.com
Registration Period: Nov 5th - Nov 10th
Site profile: http://www.saltmarshalliance.org/

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, November 13, 2016, 2:00PM to 3:30PM
Beachcombing Wrack Line Journal Hike
Fee Information: Free
Join a NPS ranger to investigate the wrack line, the line of debris left on the beach by high tide. During this exploration we will tally and illustrate findings, in an effort to understand species and populations that live near our shore. Dress appropriate and bring water and a snack. Wear appropriate footwear. You may get your feet wet hiking close to the shore.
Location: Great Kills Park Beach Center Lot G

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 3-November 26, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Classes: Thursdays, October 20, October 27, and November 3, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturdays, October 29, 8-11am, and November 12, 9am-3pm

Beginning Birding
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate southwards through New York City every fall. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Two fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to Central Park and Jamaica bay (transport to Jamaica bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 9:30am – 11:30am
Fall Birding at Wave Hill, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Advanced registration is recommended, either online at www.wavehill.org, at the Perkins Visitor Center, or by calling 718-549-3200 x251. (Walks run rain or shine; in case of severe weather call the number above for updates.) Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission (see www.wavehill.org for more information). Limited to 20. Meet at Perkins Visitor Center at 9:30am

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Nassau Fine Arts Museum
Leader: Peggy - 883-2130

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike. Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 AM unless indicated.
If in doubt, please call the trip leader.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks. We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.
Please note there is a $10 per car fee at Sands Pt. Call leader for parking ideas.
Schedule note: *** indicates 8 am official start time
*indicates new parking location

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 12, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Goodhue Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
Seeking to complete the purchase of the Goodhue Woods, Protectors is working with the Children’s Aid Society to advocate for the preservation of this open space. Come explore the woodlands and fields of the Goodhue property and help save these woods. We will look for evidence of the area’s geologic history, observe its present ecosystems, and discuss its relation to adjacent areas in the same watershed. During the 1980s and 1990s, Clay Wollney worked at Goodhue as an environmental educator in the summer camp administered by the Children’s Aid Society and he is excited about revisiting his favorite natural area on the North Shore. Meet at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Prospect Avenue. For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

Sunday, November 13, 2016 @ 10:00am – 12:00pm
Deere Park
Cost: Free
Contact: Michael Shanley 917-753-7155
Tucked away below the northern slope of Todt Hill one of Staten Island’s finer woodlands awaits your visit. Deere Park is a healthy woodland of oaks and maples, some sweetgum and tulips. The park offers easy access, clear trails and a unique view north of Staten Island. Join with Michael Shanley as he explores this secluded expanse of greenspace. Search out migrant birds and dragonflies as you enjoy the natural colors of autumn. We will meet at the end of Staten Island Boulevard. For more information contact Michael Shanley at (917) 753-7155.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Massapequa Preserve

All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
About 230 different bird species have been recorded in Van Cortlandt Park and over 60 species breed here!
Free!

Birding at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Fall Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks.
Free!

Birding at 110th Street and Morningside Drive (in Morningside Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, November 04, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 4, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 04, 2016
* NYNY1611.04

- Birds Mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER+
VIRGINIA’S WARBLER+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian)
Harlequin Duck
Great Shearwater
Cattle Egret
MARBLED GODWIT
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Black-legged Kittiwake
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Royal Tern
Red-headed Woodpecker
Lapland Longspur
Orange-crowned Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
Nelson’s Sparrow
DICKCISSEL
Pine Siskin

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are VIRGINIA’S WARBLER, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. PINK-FOOTED and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, EURASIAN WIGEON and “EURASIAN” form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, MARBLED GODWIT, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, DICKCISSEL, and LARK SPARROW.

Ah - November once again bringing in some good birds!

On Tuesday at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye a VIRGINIA’S WARBLER, a second New York State record if accepted by NYSARC, was found feeding in goldenrod with a good gathering of other birds. Very elusive but calling at times and occasionally flying into the widely spaced crabapple trees, the VIRGINIA’S was ultimately enjoyed by most of the gathered birders up through late afternoon, but was active enough that we only know of one photo obtained. Searches on subsequent days did not relocate the bird. A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT there was last seen Monday.

Also on Tuesday an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was located near Wolfe’s Pond Park on Staten Island, and it did stay to Wednesday, usually working along the beach side or an old field on the west side of the park.

Tuesday also produced a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, this found with CANADA GEESE at the well manicured Arthur J. Hendrickson Park just south of Valley Stream State Park in Nassau County. The PINK-FOOTED has been spending most of the day through today on the grassy areas of the west side of Hendrickson Lake, though flying out to roost elsewhere overnight.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was on the lake at Belmont Lake State Park Thursday morning, this a fairly regular roosting site for this species.

EURASIAN WIGEONS this week included one continuing at Marine Park’s Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn and one still at Frank Melville Park mill pond in Setauket, where a “Eurasian” GREEN-WINGED TEAL was also seen last weekend.

A female HARLEQUIN DUCK was along the Jones Beach West End jetty Monday.

A few reported CACKLING GEESE include 1 still at Inwood Hill Park in northern Manhattan Tuesday and 1 at Caumsett State Park Saturday.

Some CATTLE EGRETS still in our area included Saturday sightings at Dreier Offerman Park, Floyd Bennett Field, Caumsett State Park and the Salt Marsh Nature Center, the latter still there Monday, and 2 were reported again Sunday near the Marine Parkway bridge.

Top shorebird honors go to the 2 MARBLED GODWITS north of Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet yesterday and the 14 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS counted along Santapogue Creek in Lindenhurst Sunday.

A boat south of Montauk Wednesday reported 5 GREAT SHEARWATERS, a PARASITIC JAEGER, and 8 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

Some LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and ROYAL TERNS continue in the area.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were seen during the week in Central Park near the Sheep Meadow plus at Jones Beach West End Monday, Kissena Park Tuesday, Robert Moses State Park Monday and Wednesday, and Owl’s Head Park today.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT has been present regularly in Central Park just west of the Great Lawn, and another was around the cemetery at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan yesterday and today, with a 3rd at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn Thursday.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS included 1 in Central Park last weekend, another at Kissena Park Sunday, and 1 in Garden City Wednesday, joined by a LARK SPARROW.

Three VESPER SPARROWS were counted at Kissena Park Sunday, with another along Dune Road Thursday, NELSON’S SPARROWS also continue locally.

Two LAPLAND LONGSPURS were found at Jones Beach West End Monday, these increasing to 3 by Thursday.

DICKCISSELS featured 1 at Robert Moses State Park Saturday, 1 photographed in Central Park Sunday, and 1 at Coney Island Creek today.

A few more PINE SISKINS have also been noted lately.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
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Friday's Foto

November around NYC is a time to look for vagrant species. One rare, but regular vagrant to the East Coast is the Ash-throated Flycatcher. This "myiarchus" flycatcher is common in the west breeding in desert scrub and riparian, oak, or coniferous woodland. Most winter on the Pacific slope from Mexico to Honduras. This fairly small flycatcher is superficially similar to the east coast's Great Crested Flycatcher, which is noticeably larger, with a darker chest, brighter yellow belly, pale brown base of lower mandible and rufous to tip of tail feathers. Their diet consists primarily of insects, including caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, true bugs, and flies, also some as large as cicadas. They will also eat fruits and berries.

The IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as "Least Concern".

They scientific name, Myiarchus cinerascens, means ashen fly ruler.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the National Audubon Society's website:

Should the Whooping Crane Shooter's Fine Have Been Higher?

The Texas man who killed two of the endangered birds will pay $25,810—one-fifth the cost of raising a single Whooping Crane to adulthood.

By Jonathan Carey
October 28, 2016

On Tuesday, a 19-year-old man received his sentence in the case of two dead Whooping Cranes, marking a victory for the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, Trey Joseph Frederick from Beaumont, Texas pled guilty to shooting and killing two of the endangered birds near the Louisiana border, a misdemeanor under the act.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn sentenced Frederick to five years probation, during which time he’s not allowed to hunt, fish, or own firearms. The judge also ordered Frederick to serve 200 hours of community service, the most in the court’s history, with either the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and pay a $25,810 fine that will be divvied up between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the International Crane Foundation (ICF).

“This ruling has set a powerful precedent for the future of Whooping Crane conservation,” ICF president Rich Beilfuss wrote in a press release. “This was not hunting. This was an act of criminal vandalism.”

With successful prosecutions under the Endangered Species Act a rarity, the sentence is being championed as a victory for conservationists. But when the staggering cost of raising Whooping Cranes in captivity is considered, it might not be quite the victory that it appears.

Whooping Cranes are expensive. The price tag to raise and release just one bird from an egg can exceed $110,000. That money pays for food, housing, caretaking staff, and breeding—and for some birds, there’s also the cost of flight school. Before young birds are released to the wild to join a migratory flock, they go to Wisconsin, where they are trained to follow ultralight aircraft to prepare for fall migration—a process that isn’t cheap. (The two cranes killed by Frederick did not attend flight school; they were part of a non-migratory flock of 46 young cranes.)

Based on the costs of raising a single Whooping Crane to adulthood, the ICF proposed a fine of $113,886 per bird to the judge, a proposal that gained the support of the U.S. Probation Office. In comparison, the judge’s fine of $12,905 per bird is paltry. “The fine that he got was significant, but of course we would have liked to see something higher,” says Lizzie Condon, ICF’s outreach specialist. In the only other Endangered Species Act case in which a Whooping Crane was shot, a South Dakota man was forced to pay $85,000 in 2013.

More than the money, Condon is concerned about losing additional whoopers to gunfire. “In the most recent decade, there has been an alarming increase in the number of Whooping Crane shootings,” she says. Between 1967 (which was the year the species was listed under the Endangered Species Act) and 1999, there were only 5 documented shooting cases, Condon says. But in the past 5 years, more than 20 birds have been shot.

To better understand why shootings are on the rise, Condon surveyed Alabama residents to gauge the level of knowledge about the endangered birds. She found that people were completely unfamiliar with the bird and its status. “People in Alabama don’t know what Whooping Cranes are because they only started encountering them in 2004,” she says. “They didn’t know what they were, and we weren’t telling them. We’re working hard to try and change that.”

The problem, Condon says, is that in the past decade efforts to save the species from extinction became the primary concern, and raising awareness and public knowledge about Whooping Cranes fell behind. She wants the Whooping Crane to be viewed with the same respect and appreciation as the Bald Eagle, a bird with which no gunowner could claim unfamiliarity. To that end, the ICF reaches out to schools and hunting groups, displays billboards featuring the birds, and have released public service announcements on the radio.

As community outreach efforts continue, Condon says the ICF's main goal is to get the shootings down to a "sustainable level." That is to say, a level that current populations can handle. Shootings account for 19 percent of known mortality in eastern migratory Whooping Crane populations, and 24 percent of mortality in Louisiana non-migratory populations. Condon hopes to reach a day where shootings only account for 5 percent of known mortality, though even that number is still too much for her. “I don’t like saying that because, for me, shooting a Whooping Crane is never going to be acceptable," she says.
...Read more

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