Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birds: Trinidad Piping-Guan. Mangrove Hummingbird. Gorgeted Puffleg. Longline Deaths.

Here we are, Winged Wednesday again:

"A major source of bird conservation funding has expired. Without re-authorization, the well-being of our beautiful migrant songbirds could be dealt a serious blow."

Scarlet Tanager by Ralph Wright Photo: Scarlet Tanager by Ralph Wright

"Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) and Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA) have introduced legislation to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), the only federal U.S. grants program specifically dedicated to the conservation of our migrant birds that is available throughout the Americas.

The program is currently expired, meaning that Congress can cease all funding.  The Kind-Gerlach bill (H.R. 1456) would extend the program until 2016 and allow it to continue to receive full federal funding.

NMBCA has a proven track-record of success, having supported 367 projects in 48 U.S. states/territories and 36 other countries since its inception in 2002. It has leveraged nearly $152 million in non-federal matching funds, and advanced conservation for many declining species, such as the Cerulean Warbler.

Take action now! 

Tell your Representative how important the NMBCA is, and encourage them to cosponsor the Kind/Gerlach bill.
Simply enter your zip code below to find which Representatives in your state have already co-sponsored the legislation and which have yet to do so. We have drafted letters for you, but your personal comments will increase the impact of your email, so please consider making your own edits to the letter body and subject lines. Then just enter your address and send the email.

Thank you for your support in ensuring that the NMBCA re-authorization is passed."

Anne Law
Deputy Director of Conservation Advocacy


Trinidad Piping-Guan

Trinidad Piping-guan

"Locally called the “Pawi”, the Trinidad Piping-Guan is a glossy, black, turkey-like bird, with bold, pale blue facial skin and a white shoulder patch on the wing coverts.  Its black and white crest is often concealed.

This mostly arboreal guan is found mainly in primary forest, but has also recently been sighted in disturbed forests and small-scale agricultural areas.

Once found everywhere on the island, Trinidad’s only endemic bird now stands on the verge of extinction due to loss of its habitat to agriculture and logging, along with illegal hunting. Its critically endangered status and confinement to one remaining area qualify it as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)-listed species.

In July 2010, a Pawi Species Recovery Strategy was devised. Recommendations include working with local residents to reduce hunting pressure, clearly marking the boundaries of protected areas, and developing strategies to improve locals’ livelihoods while reducing threats to Pawi habitat."

More information is available from The Pawi Study Group.



Mangrove Hummingbird

Mangrove Hummingbird by Michael and Patricia Fogden

"It is a bit weird to be standing in the ocean, with your back to the shore, and spot a hummingbird zipping by on the way to its nest – but that is often how you spot a Mangrove Hummingbird.

The Mangrove Hummingbird is unique to Costa Rica.  It forages at at the lower and middle levels of mangrove swamps and in adjacent vegetation along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, preferring to feed on the nectar of the tea mangrove. The destruction of mangroves for shrimp aquaculture, road construction, and beach and urban development is the biggest threat to this range-restricted bird.  Although logging mangroves is illegal in Costa Rica, the law is widely ignored, and the trees are often cut to make charcoal, further reducing habitat for the Mangrove Hummingbird and other vulnerable bird species.

ABC, partner Osa Conservation, and local tour operators have collaborated to study the distribution of the Mangrove Hummingbird and other threatened birds on the Osa Peninsula. 

Find out how ABC is helping the Mangrove Hummingbird and other bird species found on the Osa Peninsula!

Travel to the Osa to see the Mangrove Hummingbird and the Peninsula’s other unique birds. Your ecotourism dollars will help support the conservation of the area’s spectacular biodiversity. Visit to plan your trip today."

Photo: Mangrove Hummingbird by Michael and Patricia Fogden; Range Map: ABC



Gorgeted Puffleg 

The World’s Most Endangered Hummingbird?


"Results of surveys of the critically endangered Gorgeted Puffleg in Colombia have confirmed the species' precarious status and extremely limited range. The puffleg was discovered
and described in 2007 from the highest cloud forest peaks of the Pinche Mountains in Colombia between 9,100 to 10,100 feet.

It is a small, mostly dark hummingbird with bright white ‘puffs’ on its legs and an iridescent green and violet throat.
Throughout 2010, ABC funded its Colombian partner Fundación ProAves under the William Belton Grants Program to undertake regional searches across all of the upland massifs in the southern and central Western Cordillera of Colombia.
The surveys confirmed that the species occurs at extremely low densities (approximately one individual per acre) within an
extremely limited potential range of likely no more than 2,700 acres.

According to ABC’s Conservation Projects Specialist Benjamin Skolnik, “Searches in similar areas throughout the country have
turned up empty. This bird is truly rare, and the best estimates suggest that only around 100 individuals remain in the wild. It is hard to place value on such a magnificent hummingbird, and I hope people come to cherish this little bird like any other jewel.”

The main threat to the Gorgeted Puffleg is rapidly advancing habitat clearance across its tiny, unprotected range. Pristine forests and páramo (glacier-formed valleys and plains with a large variety of lakes, peat bogs, and wet grasslands intermingled with shrublands and forest patches) are being
destroyed by fires set in the dry season, which spread upslope to the fragile tree line.

As a result, the Gorgeted Puffleg may be the most endangered hummingbird on the planet.  Armed with this new information, ABC and ProAves are eager to begin protecting the species within its limited range. Residents of one of the local communities have expressed interest in working to establish better protection of the upper watershed where the bird is found, which would also ensure continued water security for them and other communities."



Seabirds and Longlines

A Black-browed Albatross hooked by a longline, by Fabio Olmos

A Black-browed Albatross hooked by a longline, by Fabio Olmos.

The Challenge

"With demand for large ocean fish at an all-time high, hundreds of thousands of albatrosses and other seabirds are killed each year by the fleets of longline fishing vessels that crisscross the world’s oceans.

The longliners set fishing lines that can reach up to 60 miles long, carrying as many as 30,000 hooks baited to catch tuna, swordfish, cod, halibut, Patagonian toothfish (Chilean sea bass), and other fish.

While the longlines are being set behind the fishing boats, albatrosses and other seabirds grab the bait and become impaled on the barbed hooks, either in their bills, bodies, or wings. Dragged under the surface, the birds are unable to free themselves and drown."




Seemed like an unproductive day, except for feeding my ever hungry little orphan kittens. 

After letting my answering machine field eight early morning nuisance phone calls, finally I read my emails.  One was from someone interested in buying all four of the RV cargo doors that I have advertised locally.  But they wanted them shipped to a town the other side of Houston.  Ray was just leaving, so I asked him if he would undo the latch to the guest house attic stairs, as I can't reach it.

Armed with a tape, I clambered around up there until I found a box big enough to house the cargo doors, but I would have to cut some off the height.  Shipping usually goes by weight and dimensions.  That box was already storing yard sale stuff, so I had to repack it into smaller boxes.  After weighing the doors in the box, and looking up the shipping prices on USPS and UPS, I sent him a quote.  Even after giving him a break on buying all 4, he started haggling.  I hope that wasn't a waste of time.


My next task.  I had received a new medical card, but it is very non-specific.  Over three hours on the phone to different people at several different phone numbers who had never come across a card like mine.  I was either put on hold, or put through the endless "Press this for that, and press that for something else", and then told to call someone else.   Every one passed the buck, and it hasn't stopped anywhere yet.  Then, a lady called me back and told me to call another lady, which of course went straight to voice mail !  So I still don't have an answer to my question.  Maybe I will find out exactly what my co-pays are, next time I go to a doctor. 


Jay's sister tried to go to her house in the Magnolia fire area, and even though the news said the roads are open, they would not let her back in her house yesterday.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Don't you just love red tape? I hate the hassle that the medical profession puts you through.