Saturday, January 08, 2011

Do you know these Red-tailed Hawks? Plus Three Juvenile Whooping Cranes Shot to Death in Georgia

Photo by Francois Portmann
A Red-tailed Hawk near the feeders in Central Park on December 31, 2010.

Does anyone feel they can positively identify this bird?

Francois Portmann who sent many wonderful photographs to the blog of Valkyrie of Thompkins Square Park as a juvenile says that she has been in the area of late. He saw her just a few days ago. While her juvenile plumage does not match that of the New Girl that Pale Male has been interacting with, Francois is looking to find a photo with Valkyrie as an adult for comparison to current photographs of New Girl.

Photo courtesy of Operation Migration

The shooting of three juvenile Whooping Cranes in Georgia, found yesterday, brings the population down to 96, after a previous disappearance of three adults elsewhere. Setting the population numbers back to 2008.

There has been a worry that Sandhill Crane hunting seasons, which Georgia doesn't even have yet, though a number of states have requested, might cause accidental shooting of Whoopers. These shootings haven't even that excuse for the deaths. But it does show how fragile the numbers are and how even a minimal mis-shot during a hunt, could demolish multiple years of work costing many hundreds of thousands dollars. Also note that it takes a near expert to identify a Whooping Crane from a Sandhill in the air.

No hunting seasons for cranes should be authorized for many reasons but this one could mean the end of species if they are allowed.

In from Rhode Island's Karen Anne Kolling--

DAR JUVENILES SHOT IN GEORGIA "Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported that necropsy results revealed that the cause of death of the three Whooping Cranes found December 30, 2010 in Calhoun County, Georgia, was gunshot. An investigation is underway. The cranes, according to the landowner of the property where they were found by hunters, had been in the area for a few weeks. The deceased Whooping Cranes were part of a ten year effort of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) to reintroduce the species into the eastern United States..."

. . .MORTALITIES "These mortalities, plus the three adult cranes now missing for more than a year and assumed dead, has dropped the number of Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) to 96. The EMP has not been at this level since October of 2008 when the flock numbered 91. This despite the release of 50 juveniles (32 ultralight-led and 18 DAR) between October 2008 and today...

Anyone with information concerning the deaths of these cranes is asked to contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Terry Hasting at 404-763-7959 (ext. 233)."

Donna Browne

1 comment:

SAlly said...

Kentucky is, embarassingly, one of the states asking for Sandhill Crane hunting permission. Very sad. People with guns here still shoot hawks and eagles and falcons, what chance do we have of preventing them from shooting whoopers?