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10 important news stories about birds from the first weeks of June

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (Wikimedia Commons).
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (Wikimedia Commons).

Here’s a recap of the most important stories that we tweeted and retweeted over the past two weeks:

1. Bird Killer Amendment: The House of Representatives passed a provision in a fiscal appropriations bill that would bar the Department of Justice from enforcing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the oldest and most important wildlife-protection laws on the books. In the 97 years since its enactment, it has saved millions, if not billions, of birds from depredatory human activities. If the amendment is adopted by the United States Senate, it could result in the harm and or death of countless birds with no consequences for perpetrators.

Contact your senator (ABC).

Take action against the Bird Killer Amendment (Audubon).

2. Officially added: The American Birding Association officially added Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to its checklist as a natural vagrant. The wood-rail made national news in July 2013, when it was observed at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. June 14

3. A festival with a purpose: Proceeds from this year’s Birdfair, the annual three-day festival in the UK, will be used to address the problem of the illegal killing of threatened wildlife in the eastern Mediterranean. In late March, birders competing in the second Champions of the Flyway race raised more than $52,000 to combat the illegal killing of birds on Cyprus. June 11

4. Unofficially chosen: Voters in Britain chose the European Robin as their national bird. More than 224,000 people cast ballots. Robin took 34 percent of the vote, beating Barn Owl (12%) and Blackbird (11%). The organizer hope the vote will prod the government to bestow official honors on the robin. June 10

5. Owl conundrum: Scientists at a conference in Vancouver, Washington, reported that the Northern Spotted Owl is not only still declining, but declining at a faster rate (3.8 percent per year) than five years ago. Federal officials last year began shooting Barred Owls in a six-year experiment to see whether removing one owl would encourage the other to move back into its old haunts. June 9

6. Politically stymied: The California Fish and Game Commission voted 2-1 to deny candidacy of the Tricolored Blackbird under the California Endangered Species Act. The bird once numbered in the millions but has lost 90 percent of its historic habitat, and has declined by 44 percent since 2011. June 9

7. A first for Manitoba: A Common Crane, a huge, blue-gray Eurasian species, was photographed in Churchill, Manitoba. Although the species has appeared in North America before — it’s found so regularly in Nebraska that it’s thought to be annual — the sighting was the first in Manitoba history. June 8

8. Peregrines come back: Illinois officially removed Peregrine Falcon from the state Endangered and Threatened Species List. The falcon can be found at 28 different locations in the state, Nineteen are breeding pairs. June 8

9. Whoopsie! A male Whooping Crane and a female Sandhill Crane at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin have paired up and produced a Whoophill, a Whooping Crane x Sandhill Crane hybrid. The youngster, nicknamed Whoopsie, is the the first documented hybridization case in the Eastern Migratory Population. June 5

10. A hawk in the White House: The administration announced that a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk started hunting from one of Washington’s most desired addresses — the White House. Observers speculated that the hawk was attracted by the lush grounds, the comfortable high ledges of the mansion’s East Wing, and an abundance of squirrels. June 1

18 citizen-science projects you can join in June and July.

Read about fun events taking place in June.

  Originally Published

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