115 Top U.S. Wolf Experts, Scientists Urge Biden Administration to Restore Federal Protections for Gray Wolves – Endangered Species Coalition

Wolf_Yellowstone_National_Park_Jim_Peaco_NPS_FPWC-lpr.jpg
Gray wolf (Canis lupus). Photo courtesy of Jim Peaco, National Park Service. Image is available for media use.

For Immediate Release, May 13, 2021 Contact: John Vucetich, (906) 370-3282, javuceti@mtu.edu
Jeremy Bruskotter, (614) 595-7036, bruskotter.9@osu.edu
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

115 Top U.S. Wolf Experts, Scientists Urge Biden Administration to Restore Federal Protections for Gray Wolves

State Wildlife Agencies Reject Science, Demonstrate Inability to Sustain Wolf Populations

WASHINGTON— More than 100 scientists today called upon Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reinstate federal protections for gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves lost their federal protections when the Trump administration finalized a national delisting rule in January. Since then, management of wolves has fallen to state wildlife agencies. The letter explains that “state governments have clearly indicated that they will manage wolves to the lowest allowable standards.”

Under the Endangered Species Act, all decisions about the listing of imperiled species must be based solely on the best available science. The scientists’ letter calls upon the federal officials to reinstate federal protections for wolves and “reverse recent and broad trends that have disregarded best-available science with respect to the ESA.”

The letter is endorsed by 115 scientists with expertise in areas related to wolf conservation, such as ecology, population dynamics and genetics. The letter is led by John Vucetich, a professor at Michigan Technological University, and Jeremy Bruskotter, a professor at Ohio State University.

“It’s very clear. The best-available science shows that gray wolves in the lower 48 states do not meet the law’s requirements for recovery,” said Vucetich. “Not being recovered, combined with hostile treatment of wolves by states such as Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin, indicates the need for federally guided conservation of wolves.”

“Emerging science and our experience with wolf conservation indicate there is far more suitable habitat for wolves than was once believed,” said Bruskotter. “Recovering wolves in other suitable areas depends critically on wolves dispersing from existing recovery areas. The recent politicization of wolf management in states like Idaho and Montana puts long-term recovery of wolves in jeopardy by reducing the probability of such dispersals.”

On his first day in office, President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves. Since then, hundreds of wolves have been killed under state management. The Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to issue any official review of the gray wolf delisting rule.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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https://www.endangered.org/115-top-u-s-wolf-experts-scientists-urge-biden-administration-to-restore-federal-protections-for-gray-wolves/

Huge clearcutting plan next to Yellowstone threatening grizzlies and lynx halted | WildEarth Guardians

Yellowstone-area grizzly bear with cubs. Photo by Sam Parks.

wildearthguardians.org

Proposal called for 4,600 acres of clearcuts, bulldozing up to 56 miles of roads on public lands just outside of Yellowstone National Park

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA— Following a challenge by multiple conservation groups, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday that it was halting a plan to clearcut more than 4,600 acres of native forests, log across an additional 9,000 acres and bulldoze up to 56 miles of road on lands just outside Yellowstone National Park in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

In April, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council challenged the South Plateau project, saying it would destroy habitat for grizzly bears, lynx, pine martens, and wolverines. The logging project would have destroyed the scenery and solitude for hikers using the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which crosses the proposed timber-sale area.

“This was another one of the Forest Service’s ‘leap first, look later’ projects where the agency asks for a blank check to figure out later where they’ll do all the clearcutting and bulldozing,” said Adam Rissien, a rewilding advocate at WildEarth Guardians. “Logging forests under the guise of reducing wildfires is not protecting homes or improving wildlife habitat, it’s just a timber sale. If the Forest Service tries to revive this scheme to clearcut native forests and bulldoze new roads in critical wildlife habitat just outside of Yellowstone, we’ll continue standing against it.”

In response to the group’s challenge, the Forest Service said it was withdrawing the South Plateau project until after it issues a new management plan for the Custer-Gallatin National Forest this summer. Then it plans to prepare a new environmental analysis of the project with “additional public involvement” to ensure the project complies with the new forest plan.

“This is a good day for the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and for the grizzlies, lynx and other wildlife that call it home,” said Ted Zukoski, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Forest Service may revive this destructive project in a few months, but for now this beautiful landscape is safe from chainsaws and bulldozers.”

The project violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to disclose precisely where and when it would bulldoze roads and clearcut the forest, which made it impossible for the public to understand the project’s impacts, the groups said in their April objection. The project allowed removal of trees more than a century old, which provide wildlife habitat and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide, an essential component of addressing the climate emergency.

“The South Plateau project was in violation of the forest plan protections for old growth,” said Sara Johnson, director of Native Ecosystems Council and a former wildlife biologist for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. “The new forest plan has much weaker old-growth protections standards. That is likely why they pulled the decision — so they can resign it after the new forest plan goes into effect.”

“The Forest Service needs to drop the South Plateau project and quit clearcutting old-growth forests,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “Especially clearcutting and bulldozing new logging roads in grizzly habitat on the border of Yellowstone National Park.”

Other Contact

Ted Zukoski, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 641-3149, tzukoski@biologicaldiversity.org, Michael Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936, wildrockies@gmail.com, Dr. Sara Jane Johnson, Native Ecosystems Council, (406) 579-3286, sjjohnsonkoa@yahoo.com

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/huge-clearcutting-plan-next-to-yellowstone-halted/

Summer Tanager | American Bird Conservancy

 

abcbirds.org

Summer Tanager range map by ABC

The rose-red male Summer Tanager is the only completely red bird in North America — the male Northern Cardinal has a black mask; the closely related Scarlet Tanager has black wings and tail; and the duller-red Hepatic Tanager has grayish flanks and cheek patches. The female Summer Tanager is a warm orangish-yellow, and first-spring males have an interesting intermediate plumage patched with yellow and red.

This chunky, thick-billed songbird is surprisingly difficult to spot in the treetops, but it can be easily detected by its burry song and chuckling call notes.

Bee Bird

The Summer Tanager’s stout, pointed bill allows it to easily capture and neutralize its preferred prey, bees and wasps and their larvae. Its predilection for stinging insects earned this songbird the nickname “Bee Bird.” When foraging, the Summer Tanager darts out from a perch to snatch a bee or wasp in mid-air, then subdues the insect by beating it against a branch. Before eating its catch, the tanager first removes the stinger. Summer Tanagers also rip into wasp nests to eat the larvae inside.

Many beekeepers consider the Summer Tanager a pest, but it rarely takes enough insects to pose a significant threat to a hive.

Northeast by Southwest

The Summer Tanager breeds across much of the eastern and southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Eastern and southern populations prefer open oak, hickory, and mixed oak-pine woodlands, and western populations breed in riparian woodlands of cottonwood and willow.

Like the closely related Western Tanager, the Summer Tanager is a long-distance migrant, moving south to winter from central Mexico into South America, as far south as Bolivia and Brazil. It migrates during the night, with eastern populations making the long flight directly across the Gulf of Mexico.

On its wintering grounds, the Summer Tanager also favors open woodlands, but can also be found in second-growth forest and edge, on plantations, and even in urban parks and gardens.

There are two widespread Summer Tanager subspecies. The western group is duller and paler-plumaged than the brighter-red eastern subspecies. A third subspecies is only found in northwestern Arizona.

The Summer Tanager’s distinctive call is a staccato “picky-tuck-tuck.” Its song is similar to that of the American Robin, but slower and more variable.

Listen here, first to the call, then the song:

“Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)” Jim Holmes

Audio Player

(Audio: Jim Holmes, XC333286. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/333286 ·  John A. Middleton Jr., XC643125. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/643125

Feeding on the Fly

Although Summer Tanagers specialize in hunting bees and wasps, they also take a wide variety of other invertebrates, such as beetles, dragonflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and spiders. While foraging, Summer Tanagers stay in the mid- to upper levels of the forest canopy, often repeatedly sallying out from the same perch like a flycatcher.

This versatile tanager also feeds on small fruits and berries, particularly on its wintering grounds. It may also visit backyard feeders for jam and suet.

Dueling Tanagers

Male Summer Tanagers arrive on the breeding grounds first, then stake out a territory that they defend against other males through singing duels and frequent chases. They continue to defend their nest site and a feeding territory throughout the breeding season. After females arrive on the breeding grounds, males court them with more singing, calling, and chasing.

Female Summer Tanager with insect. Photo by Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

After mating, the female builds a cup-shaped nest of stems, leaves, and grasses high up and well out on a horizontal branch, often over a clearing or stream. There, she lays two to four eggs. The male feeds the female as she incubates, and both parents feed the hatchlings as they mature. A Summer Tanager pair usually raises only one brood per season.

Summer Tanagers seem to recognize the threat posed by brood parasites such as Brown-headed Cowbirds, chasing them away from their territories whenever possible. Nevertheless, their nests are often parasitized.

Keeping the Bee Bird Buzzing

Although Summer Tanager populations are currently considered stable, the species is still vulnerable to habitat loss, particularly the clearing of riparian habitat in the western United States. There, the Summer Tanager shares habitat with several threatened birds, including the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and western race of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

ABC works to preserve riparian habitat throughout the Southwest. We have advocated for the San Pedro River, one of the last major undammed rivers in the American Southwest. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, which protects important habitat for the Summer Tanager and many other species, including the Elf Owl and Costa’s Hummingbird, was the first site designated by ABC as a Global Important Bird Area.

Migrating Summer Tanagers are vulnerable to collisions with communications towers and other human-built obstacles along their journeys. ABC offers a variety of solutions to this problem, both for interested birders and businesses.


Donate to support ABC’s conservation mission!

https://abcbirds.org/bird/summer-tanager/

Billboards erected this month near Eau Claire and Wausau, Wisconsin

Have a joyful weekend everyone…