ancient murrelets and whooping cranes

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 8 22:52:09 CST 2004

Dear All,
      Seem to be a lot of reports accumulating this fall of ancient murrelets migrating into the eastern United States:   Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and one near Denver today.  Great news for birders there that rarely see alcid seabirds, but I can't help but wonder if migrating birds aren't suffering increased confusion which way they are supposed to be flying (pesticides, mercury, etc. in their brains?).  Broad-billed hummingbirds increasingly migrating from Arizona to the northeast (rather than south)----as far away as eastern Canada (Kansas got its first this fall, although that isn't quite as surprising).

      Migrating cranes still dodging obstacles like power lines.  Two whooping cranes injured in Kansas over the weekend are being treated at Kansas State University.  Luckily that species had a record number of chicks born in Canada this summer, so it is good news for whoopers overall.  Of course if humans keep robbing the freshwater flowing into the Aransas Refuge area, the whoopers' main winter sanctuary is increasingly threatened (assuming an oil spill doesn't get them first).  It will only take one really big piece of bad news to wipe out years of good news if we get complacent.  Neither the Colorado River or Rio Grande make it to the sea any more.  Why can't something happen to invading pests (like starlings) for a change?  Grrrrr.  Biodiversity and humans just don't mix very well.
                 ----- Ken
On a lighter note, here's a picture of the ancient murrelet spotted in Colorado today:

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