Technical details

I’m in the middle of moving this website to a new server. The new server will get rid of the ads, which were never a part of this blog, but something added by WordPress. If you have this site bookmarked as “” there should be no change. There will also be no change if you get a weekly email through MailChimp.

The move is taking longer than I expected, but it is not taking a month and a half. The big gap in posts is due to other things, and I took advantage of the hiatus to make the server change. I will start posting again as soon as I’m functional on the new server.

Also as soon as the site is functional on the new server, I’ll work on getting the people who have email subscriptions through WordPress moved. There are just a very few of you.

Thanks for your patience. Looking forward to seeing you on the new server.


White Nose in Michigan and Wisconsin

Bat_Skulls_and_Bones_on_Cave_FloorOn April 10, both the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced confirmation of white nose syndrome in bats in each of their states.

The Michigan DNR press release said: “Five little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) showing disease characteristics were collected in February and March during routine WNS surveillance by Dr. Allen Kurta and Steve Smith, researchers from Eastern Michigan University.”

In Wisconsin, a DNR press release said: “Results from visual inspection and genetic and tissue tests completed earlier this month showed that 2 percent of bats in a single mine in southwestern Wisconsin had the disease, named for the characteristic white fuzz on their nose, wings and tails, according to Erin Crain, who leads the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program.”

More details are available in this article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also did a story.
Here’s the Michigan DNR press release.And here’s the Wisconsin DNR press release.

Photo: Bat skulls and bones on the floor of Mount Aeolus Cave in Vermont, courtesy of Michigan DNR, photo by Ann Froschauer, USFWS

Low Lead in Arizona Condors

Condor_bloodwork_webIt’s been a good year for lead levels in condors in Arizona and Utah. While last year saw the second worst levels on record, this year saw the lowest level in a decade, says a press release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

“The ups and downs of lead poisoning over the years demonstrate that any single season does not make a trend, but our test results are encouraging,” said Eddie Feltes, field manager for The Peregrine Fund’s condor project in the release. “If this ends up being the beginning of a trend, we hope it will continue.”

Arizona Game and Fish, as well as the Peregrine Fund, which also distributed the release, believe that voluntary lead ammunition measures in the two states has contributed to the lower lead levels in condors there. Another factor may be the unseasonably mild winter, the release says.

In an article in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Chris Parish, condor program coordinator for The Peregrine Fund is quoted as saying, “The half life of lead in blood is a very short period. That gives us a relatively good indication of where and when exposure may have happened.”

The Tribune article also says that 78 percent of hunters in condor country who were contacted were voluntarily using non-lead ammunition. In 2011 the number was 10 percent.

More details in the Arizona Game and Fish press release here. (Halfway down the page.)
The same press release is here on its own page at the Peregrine Fund website.
The Salt Lake City Tribune article is here.

Photo: Courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department





Utah Crossings Pay Out in 3 Years

Wildlife crossings are expensive. They can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to a highway renovation project — and that’s the cheapest option for creating them. However, a new study from Utah State University has found that by preventing expensive vehicle accidents, wildlife passages pay for themselves in three years.

An article in the Deseret News described the research and the findings.

The way the math works is this, according to the article: wildlife collisions cost an average of $7,000. Collisions were reduced by 90 percent by the passages in the study.

Read the report itself, here. (You can also go to the UDOT website and search for “Report UT-12.07”)**
Read the Deseret News article here.

**Thanks to Susan, a subscriber, who knew where this was even though I couldn’t find it.

Golden eagles with mange

CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab Blog

The Wildlife Investigations Lab has been involved in the investigation of three cases of severe mite infestation, or mange, affecting subadult golden eagles in central California. Two cases were reported to WIL by SPCA for Monterey County in December 2012 and August 2013, while a third case was reported by biologists with the East Bay Regional Park District, also in August 2013. The eagles had significant feather loss and crusting of the skin on their head, neck, legs, and lower abdomen.

Severe mite infestation is unusual in birds and especially uncommon in adult birds. The degree of feather loss and infestation exhibited by these golden eagles has not been previously documented. Mange likely affects the eagle’s ability to maintain normal body temperature and they may have difficulty obtaining food, becoming weakened, possibly increasing their susceptibility to trauma or other disease.We are currently working with researchers from the East Bay…

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The first plant recovered under the Endangered Species Act…Drumroll please!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

It is able to withstand some of the harshest weather conditions in New England, yet despite this, the Robbins’ cinquefoil flower (Potentilla robbinsiana) needed the protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive.

As a result of over collecting, habitat destruction and trampling, this small alpine species from the rose family that grows on the slopes of the White Mountains in New Hampshire was nearly lost forever.

For us, the story begins in 1824, when the yellow-flowered Robbins’ cinquefoil was discovered along the Crawford Path ascending Mount Washington. The footpath – now recognized as the oldest continually used mountain trail in the U.S. – was completed just five years earlier.

Over the next 150 years, hiking and backpacking boomed, and foot traffic and horses trampled the cinquefoil, creating a deep and rutted path through its habitat. Additionally, plant collectors rigorously plucked the quarter-sized plant from the mountainside.


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Fine Levied in Eagle Wind Power Deaths

golden eagle usfwsLong before bats had a problem with wind turbines, raptors had a problem with wind turbines. The problem seemed particularly bad in Altamont, California, which was one of the nation’s first utility-scale wind power operations. The lessons learned there were supposed to prevent similar problems happening elsewhere.

It didn’t. Last week Duke Energy plead guilty to killing eagles and other birds at its Wyoming wind farm. The fine of $1 million was the very first levied against a wind power company, The Christian Science Monitor reports. The Monitor story also says that the case was the first prosecuted against a wind company under the Migratory Bird Act. It also says that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has 18 more cases in the works. Six of those have been referred to the Justice Department.

Read the entire story in The Christian Science Monitor.
Find more stories on the case, here.

Photo: Golden eagle by Donna Dewhurst, from USFWS

CDFW Researchers Closely Watch for Feather Loss in Golden Eagle Population

More severe manage in California, this time in golden eagles.


Media Contacts:
Krysta Rogers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1662
Carie Battistone, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3615
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is closely monitoring feather loss in golden eagles and other large raptors in central California.

Several cases of severe mite infestation, or mange, in young golden eagles have been documented in Alameda and Monterey counties in 2013 as well as San Benito County in 2012. All of the eagles had significant feather loss and crusting of the skin on their head, neck, legs and lower abdomen.

Feather loss impacts the eagle’s ability to maintain normal body temperature and could limit their ability to obtain food, becoming weak and susceptible to trauma.

Severe mite infestation is unusual in birds, especially adult birds. No such infestation has been previously documented among golden eagles.

CDFW is currently working with researchers from East Bay…

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No News This Week

It’s not that there is no state wildlife research news out there this week  (although actually, the great bulk of press releases I’m receiving are about hunting), but other things have come up, so it’s another week without posts. Sorry.

There will be more later in the week, which will run in next week’s newsletter.