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community weblog - [ Animals ]

Audubon names 7 state bird sites

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Each autumn, thousands of people head to Duluth to watch migrating raptors wary of Lake Superior skirt the lake's western edge on their way south.

A spot near where the raptors concentrate, Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, is such a key place in that journey that it was recognized in September by the National Audubon Society as Minnesota's first Important Bird Area.

Now, seven more state areas are being given that designation as part of an international effort to focus attention on critical places for birds, which are suffering from habitat loss and fragmentation.

Four of those areas, including a string of sites on Lake Superior's North Shore used by peregrine falcons, are in northern Minnesota. Three, including the Lower Minnesota River, are in the Twin Cities.   more...

 



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Rare whooping crane shows up north of city

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A member of a bird species that had nearly been wiped out by the 1930s has been seen in Kalamazoo County for the first time in scores of years.

Ray Adams, research director at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, said a single whooping crane has been seen with flocks of sandhill cranes in marshy areas and farm fields in the northeast portion of the county.

Thousands of sandhill cranes are in the region as they head south for the winter.

"It's not uncommon to see the two crane species together," Adams said. "They tend to occupy the same general area."    more...

 



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INVASIVE FISH REARS UGLY HEAD IN GREAT LAKES

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snakehead fishA few weeks ago, a Chicago fisherman caused a stir when he found a northern snakehead fish. The find set off a frantic search to find out if yet another invasive species is threatening the Great Lakes.

Just before Halloween, the so-called Frankenfish reared its ugly head... filled with sharp teeth... in Chicago's Burnham Harbor on Lake Michigan. And it's still a mystery as to just how it got there.

Although the snakehead is arare item in some Asian cuisines, there's a more common suspicion amongst local experts and hobbyists. That snakehead was probably a pet that outgrew its tank, and instead of the traditional farewell down the toilet, it was set free in Lake Michigan. Free to eat through the Lake's food web.

Local pet store manager Edwin Cerna says that's why he stopped selling the fish years before they were banned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. He remembers one day, when he was adjusting a tank, he accidentally got in between a snakehead's lunch and its mouth.    more...

 



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Northern Snakehead (Channa argus)

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snakehead fishRecently, a non-native airbreathing freshwater fish known as a Snakehead has generated national media attention as the latest invasive species to threaten native fish and wildlife resources and the economic sectors that depend on them. In scientific terms, snakeheads are divided into two distinct genera: Channa (snakeheads of Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia), and Parachanna (African snakeheads). Snakeheads are a diverse family of fish native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea. The Northern Snakehead, Channa Argus, is part of this family that has recently been in the news in the Eastern United States.   more...

 



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Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force

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graphical logoThe mission of the DAPTF is to determine the nature, extent and causes of declines of amphibians throughout the world, and to promote means by which declines can be halted or reversed. Great Lakes representatives on the task force are from Illinois, Indiana and Quebec.    more...

 

 

 

 



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Project to reintroduce wild rice meets formidable foe: mute swans

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MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) -- Volunteers are set to dump 600 pounds of wild-rice seed into Muskegon Lake on Saturday as part of a three-year, $18,000 project to reintroduce the plant.

The project, which began in 2002, has not had too much luck so far. In the spring of 2003, when the planters returned to check their crops at the Grand Trunk Railroad dock and the B.C. Cobb power plant on the lake's east end, they found most of the stalks sheared off at the water's surface. Only a few were spared.

Gale Nobes, chairman of the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, said the culprit was mute swans, large white birds whose numbers are multiplying in the region.   more...

 



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AUDUBON: BIRD POPULATIONS ON THE DECLINE

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A new report warns that nearly a third of North America's bird species are in trouble. And it says habitat loss is to blame. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Rebecca Williams has more:

National Audubon Society researchers analyzed data on more than 650 bird species. They found that since 1966, certain bird populations have been declining in all habitats.

Birds that thrive in grasslands are especially at risk. The study found 70 percent of grassland bird species are declining significantly.    more...

View the "State of the Birds" report

Another habitat which is steadily vanishing could also be linked to a decrease in birds: wetlands

The U.S. Geological Service has more on the relationship between birds and their habitats

 



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Cormorant management detailed for task force

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SAULT STE. MARIE - Meeting on the campus of Lake Superior State University, the St. Marys River Fisheries Task Group convened to discuss a pair of surveys and cormorants.

The survey data - compiled from creel reports in 1999 and 2000 and the fish community survey of 2002 - provided some interesting information, but Tony Aderman of the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division stole the show with a detailed account of cormorant management.

There were two separate programs instituted this year with one in the Les Cheneaux Island Chain and the second targeting a specific region near Drummond Island.  more...

 



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SERVICE RELEASES FINAL RULE ON DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT MANAGEMENT

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Double-crested Cormorant

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a Final Rule and Record of Decision that will allow more flexibility in the control of double-crested cormorants in areas where they are causing damage to aquaculture and public resources such as fisheries, vegetation, and other birds.

The rule expands the aquaculture depredation order, which has been in place in 13 States since 1998, to allow USDA Wildlife Services to conduct winter roost control. It also establishes a public resource depredation order to allow State wildlife agencies, Tribes, and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, to conduct cormorant control for the protection of public resources in 24 States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Without these depredation orders, agencies and individuals would need a Federal permit to control cormorants.   more...       Cormorant Project

 



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Bald eagle soars over county

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TECUMSEH -- A rare sight at midday over Tecumseh on Wednesday was a bald eagle, soaring on a thermal high above Evans Creek and St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the sunlight gleaming off its yellow beak and shining through its white tail feathers. It did not linger over downtown Tecumseh long as it followed the wind currents south and west in the direction of, fittingly, Birdsall.

While bald eagles, the symbol of the United States since 1782, do live in Michigan, they are rarely seen in Lenawee County. Rick Villerot, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, said he receives a half-dozen calls reporting bald eagle sightings in Lenawee County each year. He said migrating bald eagles have a fly-way through Monroe County that generally follows U.S. 23 and Interstate 75.
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Migration linked to squirrel deaths

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History could hold the key to last month's mysterious drowning of numerous squirrels in the Grand River channel.

Biologists are looking at natural migration as a possible cause of the drownings, which led dead squirrels to wash up on Lake Michigan beaches near Grand Haven.

Laboratory tests on the squirrels were inconclusive, Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Nik Kalejs said.

"They examined the livers and brains," Kalejs said. "Various tests on those tissues all came back negative as far as any kind of toxicity."   more...

 



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BIRD-WATCHING

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Chris Neri, on the staff at the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, found Michigan's first Inca dove at the observatory near the shores of Lake Superior.

The bird was present from Oct. 7 to 11, and quite a few birders from southern Michigan made the trek north to see it.

The Inca dove is normally found from the southwest United States through Costa Rica, typically around human habitation and not in wilderness settings. It's range has been expanding in recent decades, but it is still primarily a Texas and Arizona bird in the United States.   more...

 



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Bird lovers descend on Lake Erie Metropark to witness bird migration

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BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Thousands of people converged on Lake Erie Metropark over the weekend for the 15th annual Hawkfest, a two-day event to celebrate the annual migration of birds of prey.

Pleasant weather and a cloudless blue sky provided plenty of opportunity for those attending day one Saturday, The Monroe Evening News reported.

A rare osprey soared and whirled over the park's Marshlands Museum, where Gerald P. Wykes of Monroe, museum curator, sat at a picnic table. He used a microphone to call the crowd's attention to the attractions overhead.   more...

 



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BIRD-WATCHING

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Kevin Thomas saw six cackling geese last week at the Lakewood waste-water ponds in Ionia County.

This is a newly defined species, formally designated by the American Ornithologists Union in July. The designation is known as a split of species, taking one species, Canada goose, and making it two species, based on differences in populations within the species.   more...

 



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Russia's Furry Agents Revealed

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Eastern Gray Squirrel Range MapThe squirrel in question is the Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Based largely on facts presented by a leading research university one can only conclude that the squirrels have been acting as operatives of our cold war nemesis the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The death of these squirrels is nothing more than long-planned roll up of an aging cold war network used to monitor our military’s ELF facilities.

The native range of the squirrel covers the critical defense related territory for the United States. It has been mysteriously “introduced” into the territories occupied by our NATO alliance partners.

Sciurus carolinensis ranges over the eastern United States to just west of the Mississippi River and north to Canada. Introductions have occurred in the western states (Nevada, California) and some of Canada that was not previously inhabited, as well as in Italy, Scotland, England and Ireland.

In England, the Grey Squirrel is engaged in more obvious and destructive forms of insurgency. In Great Britain, Sciurus carolinensis is considered very destructive to property and is ranked second in negative impact only to the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus).

The Latin name of the Grey Squirrel reveals more startling detail about how the network was operated under the nose of US National Intelligence agencies for many years. Cleverly hidden within the squirrel’s name “Sciurus carolinensis“ is the taunting phrase: “CIRCUS LIES IN ON USSR”. Clearly, the Russian State Circus which has enjoyed the freedom to tour our country for decades has been involved in collecting data for their network of furry agents.

Ironically, the Russian word for squirrel is “byelka”. It doesn’t take a Mensa candidate to see “By Lake” in the name.

Though with the financial decline of the Russian Circus there is evidence that more modern methods are being employed to facilitate communication between the squirrels and their Moscow controllers. “Squirrels have been recorded using high-pitched ultrasonic ‘whispers’ that are inaudible to the human ear but warn each other of danger.” There is the very real possibility that the Russian Radio-Electronic Station/Cuba located in the abandoned Cuban village of Lourdes is used to intercept these transmissions.

Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and as Cuban defense minister the Russians’ landlord, bragged to friendly Mexican journalists in April 1994 that 75 percent of Russia’s “strategic intelligence” flowed through Lourdes. It will be of not surprise then that the Squirrel figures prominently into Santeria, a quasi-religion ingrained in the Cuban culture.

When you dig deeper, there is a solid evidence in the historic record of collusion between the most significant communist rulers and our furry adversaries. “The squirrels were advisors and helpers to several communist dictators of this last century… Josef Stalin often consulted an albino Ukrainian squirrel when conducting his awful purges that left millions dead. Although the squirrel’s origin and final fate are unknown, his existence is indisputable. Stalin’s biographer made particular mention of the squirrel who he believed responsible for Stalin’s haphazard implementation of communism.”

It is also well-documented historical fact that Mao Zedung, a Chinese communist dictator, was especially fond of squirrels. In his “Little Red Book” of communist slogans and quotations, one can find ample evidence of collusion with squirrels. One quotation reads, “Our bushy-tailed brethren will help the proletariat rise up and break the chains of capitalism with which they are bound.”

For more information on the "Red" squirrel conspiracy or to join a civilian coast watch chapter near you click here...



Animals  History  

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  • The colder weather also has a lot to do with it.
    - [bmajestic]
  • So do these squirrels speak Russian?
    - [editor@h2onotes.com]

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