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Re: [CALBIRDS] Tern Colony Disaster

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  • Thomas Myers
    Does anyone know what species of tern these were? Thomas Myers San Diego ... Do you Yahoo!? Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta. [Non-text
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 2, 2006
      Does anyone know what species of tern these were?

      Thomas Myers
      San Diego


      ---------------------------------
      Do you Yahoo!?
      Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Kimball Garrett
      Birders, There is, evidently, a full-blown investigation of the Long Beach Harbor tern colony disaster in the works. But this merely points out that wildlife
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 3, 2006
        Birders,

        There is, evidently, a full-blown investigation of the Long Beach Harbor
        tern colony disaster in the works. But this merely points out that
        wildlife agencies seem impotent to do anything to prevent such disasters
        (they can only attempt to react after disasters have happened). This is
        due mainly to two things:
        (1) California Fish and Game and U. S. Fish and Wildlife have
        been hit by staff and budget cutbacks (and, they will argue, by court
        challenges to their work) for so long that they can do very little in
        the way of habitat and wildlife protection. We're partly at fault
        because "we" keep electing anti-environment budget-axing politicians who
        could care less about wildlife. Fortunately, most politicians have to
        publicly appear to be opposed to the murder of cute, fuzzy baby terns,
        so maybe some pressure right now could result in some short-term gains.
        (2) The average American is absolutely 100% unaware of the
        Migratory Bird Treaty Act that protects our native bird species (and
        their parts, eggs, nests, etc.) from "take". I deal with the public all
        the time about such matters and it is astounding what people don't know.
        This means that agencies (and all of us) need to take a proactive,
        protective stance when sensitive wildlife issues arise. I don't know
        the details of the Long Beach case, but I find it fully believable that
        the barge caretakers had no clue that the terns "infesting" their barges
        had any legal protection. That's no excuse for violating the law, of
        course, but only a sea-change in thinking (i.e. operating on the
        assumption that all birds are protected from harm) will prevent future
        such occurrences. It is sad, but undoubtedly a consequence of (1)
        above, that the agencies knew about this colony and couldn't protect it,
        and allowed a second barge's nesting effort to be destroyed even as the
        issue was in the public spotlight after the first barge was ransacked.

        One other part to my tirade... Elegant and Caspian Terns nested nearly
        every year since the late 1990s in large numbers (along with small
        numbers of Royal Terns and Black Skimmers) on the fill area at Pier 400
        in Los Angeles Harbor, just a few miles from the Long Beach nesting
        site. Port construction proceeded (as planned) to the point that only a
        much smaller area of Pier 400 was available to colonial waterbirds.
        Because Least Terns are listed as Endangered and the other species are
        not so listed, the decision was made this year to allow ONLY Least Terns
        to nest in the area. Hence, we saw the movement of the Elegants and
        Caspians to what turns out to have been a disastrous alternative site.
        Once again, we are incapable of managing for a diversity of native
        species, proceeding instead with the tunnel-vision of protecting only
        "listed" species. It seems perfectly reasonable that port expansion
        planning could have accommodating several (not just one) tern species,
        but that didn't happen.

        Extensive efforts are being made to raise and ultimately release the few
        dozen young terns recovered alive. This is laudable, but a cursory
        knowledge of tern biology (with juveniles being fed by adults for weeks
        or even months post-fledging, and the specialized foraging techniques
        requiring much parental tutelage) suggests that the efforts are likely
        to have little success. All released birds will be banded, so this will
        be a good opportunity to monitor the efficacy of such rehabilitation
        efforts.

        Here's hoping that birders, wildlife agencies, and those who use the
        harbor areas of Long Beach and Los Angeles can find a way to protect
        these terns in the future.

        KLG

        Kimball L. Garrett
        Ornithology Collections Manager
        Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
        900 Exposition Blvd.
        Los Angeles CA 90007
        (213) 763-3368
        (213) 746-2999 FAX
        kgarrett@...

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf
        > Of Luke Cole
        > Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 8:55 AM
        > To: Ed Stonick; CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Tern Colony Disaster
        >
        > This seems like an excellent opportunity for criminal prosecution
        under
        > state and federal endangered species laws. We need to put pressure on
        the
        > local District Attorneys and U.S. Attorneys to have some prosecution
        --
        > outrageous!
        >
        > Luke
      • Lidia Seebeck
        *Putting down my binocs for a moment to put on my political hat* If there is one thing I have learned in my six years of being politically active, is that most
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 3, 2006
          *Putting down my binocs for a moment to put on my political hat*



          If there is one thing I have learned in my six years of being politically
          active, is that most incumbent politicians are deathly scared of their
          little fiefdom being upset by some issue or force, either from within their
          Party or otherwise, causing a defeat. All the recent attempts at
          gerrymandering point to this phenomenon. If birders want to remedy this
          situation, letters to those officials up for re-election this year could
          work wonders. If officials seem insensitive, then publicizing their
          responses could provoke some outrage and create some results.



          It's probably wise to look at the issue as one of responsibility rather than
          focusing on the birds. If the letters are perceived as being from a fringe
          of animal welfare types, they may not get as much response as if the letters
          point to the barge owner's responsibility in knowing laws that affect his
          boat operation such as the MBTA. For that matter, if people actually
          perceived one of their responsibilities as being to protect ecological
          diversity, this would be a different society!



          Lidia Seebeck

          Pachappa Hill, Riverside CA



          _____

          From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Kimball Garrett
          Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 1:39 PM
          To: Luke Cole; Ed Stonick; CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Tern Colony Disaster



          Birders,

          There is, evidently, a full-blown investigation of the Long Beach Harbor
          tern colony disaster in the works. But this merely points out that
          wildlife agencies seem impotent to do anything to prevent such disasters
          (they can only attempt to react after disasters have happened). This is
          due mainly to two things:
          (1) California Fish and Game and U. S. Fish and Wildlife have
          been hit by staff and budget cutbacks (and, they will argue, by court
          challenges to their work) for so long that they can do very little in
          the way of habitat and wildlife protection. We're partly at fault
          because "we" keep electing anti-environment budget-axing politicians who
          could care less about wildlife. Fortunately, most politicians have to
          publicly appear to be opposed to the murder of cute, fuzzy baby terns,
          so maybe some pressure right now could result in some short-term gains.
          (2) The average American is absolutely 100% unaware of the
          Migratory Bird Treaty Act that protects our native bird species (and
          their parts, eggs, nests, etc.) from "take". I deal with the public all
          the time about such matters and it is astounding what people don't know.
          This means that agencies (and all of us) need to take a proactive,
          protective stance when sensitive wildlife issues arise. I don't know
          the details of the Long Beach case, but I find it fully believable that
          the barge caretakers had no clue that the terns "infesting" their barges
          had any legal protection. That's no excuse for violating the law, of
          course, but only a sea-change in thinking (i.e. operating on the
          assumption that all birds are protected from harm) will prevent future
          such occurrences. It is sad, but undoubtedly a consequence of (1)
          above, that the agencies knew about this colony and couldn't protect it,
          and allowed a second barge's nesting effort to be destroyed even as the
          issue was in the public spotlight after the first barge was ransacked.

          One other part to my tirade... Elegant and Caspian Terns nested nearly
          every year since the late 1990s in large numbers (along with small
          numbers of Royal Terns and Black Skimmers) on the fill area at Pier 400
          in Los Angeles Harbor, just a few miles from the Long Beach nesting
          site. Port construction proceeded (as planned) to the point that only a
          much smaller area of Pier 400 was available to colonial waterbirds.
          Because Least Terns are listed as Endangered and the other species are
          not so listed, the decision was made this year to allow ONLY Least Terns
          to nest in the area. Hence, we saw the movement of the Elegants and
          Caspians to what turns out to have been a disastrous alternative site.
          Once again, we are incapable of managing for a diversity of native
          species, proceeding instead with the tunnel-vision of protecting only
          "listed" species. It seems perfectly reasonable that port expansion
          planning could have accommodating several (not just one) tern species,
          but that didn't happen.

          Extensive efforts are being made to raise and ultimately release the few
          dozen young terns recovered alive. This is laudable, but a cursory
          knowledge of tern biology (with juveniles being fed by adults for weeks
          or even months post-fledging, and the specialized foraging techniques
          requiring much parental tutelage) suggests that the efforts are likely
          to have little success. All released birds will be banded, so this will
          be a good opportunity to monitor the efficacy of such rehabilitation
          efforts.

          Here's hoping that birders, wildlife agencies, and those who use the
          harbor areas of Long Beach and Los Angeles can find a way to protect
          these terns in the future.

          KLG

          Kimball L. Garrett
          Ornithology Collections Manager
          Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
          900 Exposition Blvd.
          Los Angeles CA 90007
          (213) 763-3368
          (213) 746-2999 FAX
          kgarrett@nhm. <mailto:kgarrett%40nhm.org> org

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroup <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com> s.com
          [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroup <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com> s.com] On
          Behalf
          > Of Luke Cole
          > Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 8:55 AM
          > To: Ed Stonick; CALBIRDS@yahoogroup <mailto:CALBIRDS%40yahoogroups.com>
          s.com
          > Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Tern Colony Disaster
          >
          > This seems like an excellent opportunity for criminal prosecution
          under
          > state and federal endangered species laws. We need to put pressure on
          the
          > local District Attorneys and U.S. Attorneys to have some prosecution
          --
          > outrageous!
          >
          > Luke





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