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A Storm Gathers for North American Birds | The Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report

25 Sep

I love to watch and photograph birds – the more I watch and photograph the more fascinated I become. Last summer a family of five kestrels (2 adults and three babies) spent a few weeks in my backyard. I watched the adults teach the youngsters how to fly and forage for food. They grew accustomed to me with my camera as the days went by. ( see Kestrels Came to visit here)

 © 2013 afroditi katsikis

©2013 afroditi katsikis … Click the photo to see my gallery of the kestrels

Not all the photos were beautiful photographs but still the ones I did not publish taught me more about them. I watched the fledglings climb up the shed walls to reach the rooftop to eat the insects (mostly spiders) that they found. Watching the youngsters play and practice quick turns and dives, was fascinating!

One day I heard the parents chattering  in the cottonwood tree. They were hard to see even with my long lens since the tree was leafed out wand, leaves and branches were in the way.  I had no idea what they were doing until I was previewing images on my computer. They were mating and were interrupted by another kestrel that  they shooed away!

After reading this article by Audubon (link to full article below) I was upset and depressed at the same time.  Why is this happening? Why has our government turned a blind eye to the devastation by the oil industry? They are partially to blame but we, as consumers of petroleum products, are also at fault. Please tread lightly on mother earth, share rides, ride a bike to the store, stop buying throw away plastic products, and recycle everything are just a few of the things we can do.

It’s also very important to tell our elected officials how we feel. The two best actions we can take is write a handwritten letter and call their offices. These days handwritten letters stand out amongst the typed letters and emails and add a personal touch while emails and typed letters could be produced in mass and may be difficult to ascertain if they are sent by the signers or not, while handwriting is unique to all of us.

You can find contact information for federal, state, local, or tribal governments and elected officials at:

Government Agencies and Elected Officials. You can contact  federal government agencies here  (ie., Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Council of Environmental Quality, Environmental Management (Energy Department), Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.)

If you want to contact a Member of Congress Who Does Not Represent You,  you can:

  • Send a message to the Representative or Senator that represents you, and ask his or her office to forward it for you.
  • Go to the website for the member of Congress you wish to contact to find a postal address and mail a letter.
  • Call the United States Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121.  The switchboard operator will connect you with the office you request.


This is an excerpt of the article A Storm Gathers for North American Birds by Audubon:


“Western North Dakota is famous for its birds. The land here is checkered with neat squares of farm fields and native prairie overlying a scatter of pothole lakes, their curving shorelines shaped tens of thousands of years ago by chunks of melting glaciers. This rich landscape provides critical breeding grounds for millions of birds, from the that pour out of the so-called “duck factory” to the Bobolinks of the tallgrass prairie.


But the region is changing fast. Even as birds continue to flock here every summer, expanding agriculture has eaten away at their habitat, and since 2008 the area has witnessed an energy boom of global proportions. Today the fields, prairies, and badlands are punctuated with hundreds of rectangles of raw, orange dirt, each studded with its own set of trailers, storage tanks, and nodding pumpjacks. Every day, companies use hydraulic fracturing to extract nearly a million barrels of oil from the Bakken formation, a layer of shale that lies about two miles beneath the prairie. Roughly 8,000 wells are operating already, and an additional 40,000 could be drilled and fracked in the next 20 to 30 years. In line at one brand-new convenience store, a woman carrying a hardhat sums up the prevailing attitude: “Patience are for doctors.” In the Bakken, the time is now, and the future is a long way off.


Yet the Audubon Report, a groundbreaking new study by Audubon scientists, suggests that this place will become even more important for birds as the planet warms. For the 26 grassland bird species whose breeding ranges are projected to decrease dramatically by 2050, North Dakota will become an increasingly rare island of viable habitat and suitable climate conditions, one of their few remaining refuges. Protecting a portion of the region for birds could mean the difference between survival and extinction for some species.


That’s just one of the critical findings from Audubon’s seven-year investigation into the expected effects of climate change on North American bird populations. And taken together, the news is grim indeed. By 2080, the climate model projects, dozens of avian species across the country could be hurtling toward extinction—and not just birds that are already in trouble. Both the American Avocet and the Yellow-headed Blackbird, familiar sights in western North America, may be under threat before the end of the century. In the Great Plains, the Chestnut-collared Longspurs range could shrink by 70 percent, while suitable breeding grounds for the Baird’s Sparrow could disappear entirely. The Piping Plover, an icon of the Atlantic Flyway, may vanish from many eastern shores.”



Read the entire article here: A Storm Gathers for North American Birds | The Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report.


Lawsuit Launched to Stop Out-of-control Wildlife Killing by Secretive Federal Agency in Idaho

9 Sep

For Immediate Release, September 8, 2014

Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 720-5595
Andrea Santarsiere, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 854-7748
Drew Kerr, WildEarth Guardians, (312) 375-6104
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, (208) 882-9755
Kristin Ruether, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024, ext. 208


“It’s long overdue for Wildlife Services to be held accountable for killing wildlife and releasing pollutants into our environment,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “We want an explanation for this deplorable expenditure of public funds.”Lawsuit Launched to Stop Out-of-control Wildlife Killing by Secretive Federal Agency in IdahoBOISE, Idaho— Four conservation organizations today filed a notice of intent to sue

English: Canada lynx by Michael Zahra.

English: Canada lynx by Michael Zahra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program over its large-scale, often secretive killing of wild animals in Idaho. The program kills millions of animals nationwide every year, and in 2013 killed more than 3,000 mammals in Idaho alone via aerial gunning, neck snares, foothold traps, and toxic devices known as M-44s that spray sodium cyanide into the victim’s mouth, causing tremendous suffering and releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.

The lawsuit will challenge Wildlife Services’ renewal of its efforts in Idaho to eradicate coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes and other important carnivores from the landscape for the benefit of private livestock and agricultural interests. Wildlife Services also plans to remove dozens of beaver dams using explosives that will harm bull trout, a protected species. The program admits that its trapping activities will harm threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx. Trapping also targets fishers, which are in rapid decline in the Northern Rocky Mountains due to a vast increase in trapping activities in Idaho. Conservation groups have petitioned to protect the fisher under the Endangered Species Act.

“One of the many problems with this program is the many unintended victims left in its wake, including endangered species,” said Andrea Santarsiere, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzly bears, lynx and bull trout are all suffering at the hands of Wildlife Services, and that needs to stop.”

Wildlife Services has come under increasing criticism for the sheer number of animals that it kills and injures, (including many nontarget animals), the ineffectiveness of its methods, its cruel and inhumane tactics, and its antiquated attitude about carnivores, which scientists demonstrate are critically important to maintaining intact ecosystems in the western United States. Beavers similarly play a key role in healthy ecosystems and are critical to successful climate adaptation. New research demonstrates the essential role beavers play by stabilizing streams, slowing snowmelt runoff, and improving fish habitat, among other benefits.

“Native carnivores and beavers are key parts of healthy, thriving ecosystems,” said Drew Kerr, carnivore advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Wildlife Services needs to join the 21st century and follow the best available science to ensure its activities don’t further damage Idaho’s ecosystems.”

After members of Congress demanded an investigation of the program’s practices earlier this year, the Agriculture Department commenced an audit of its wildlife control activities. Due to the lack of any regulatory framework to govern the program, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a comprehensive petition for reform in December 2013.

Wildlife Services has never conducted either an analysis of the statewide environmental impacts of its activities or of the impact of beaver dam destruction.

“Wildlife Services–what a euphemism–has never shown itself to be biologically or fiscally sound,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “In fact, in the case of coyotes, the killing program seems to be a never-ending bloodbath that harms other species as well.”

Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Friends of the Clearwater are represented by Boise-based law firm Advocates for the West.

Western Watersheds Project is a nonprofit conservation group founded in 1993 with 1,400 members whose mission is to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

WildEarth Guardians is a nonprofit conservation organization working to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and health of the American West.

Friends of the Clearwater is an Idaho-based nonprofit conservation organization that works to protect the wildness and biodiversity of the public wildlands, wildlife, and waters of Idaho’s Clearwater Basin.

Advocates for the West uses law and science to restore streams and watersheds, protect public lands and wildlife, and ensure sustainable communities in Idaho and throughout the West.

Source: Lawsuit Launched to Stop Out-of-control Wildlife Killing by Secretive Federal Agency in Idaho.

Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora — The Tico Times

1 Jun

Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora — The Tico Times.


Jairo Mora Sandoval’s murder  got a lot of people riled up last year.  I’m a bit disappointed that  the criminals on the beach have  taken over the beach, turtles nest are still being robbed and the local police aren’t really helping very much. The police have arrested 7 people but their trial is still pending.

Read about the current situation on Moin Beach in Costa Rica:

Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora — The Tico Times

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Seismic Airgun Testing: Overview

9 Feb
Humpback Whale Spouts as seen from Morro Strand State Beach, Morrow Bay, California by Mike Baird

Humpback Whale Spouts as seen from Morro Strand State Beach, Morrow Bay, California by Mike Baird


Everywhere we look, our oceans and land are under attack by big oil companies that want to drill or explore. Their proposed method using airguns are not healthy for the oceans nor for the marine mammals that live there. The seismic airgun testing on the Atlantic was defeated but unfortunately the Pacific is still under consideration. We can’t let them do this on the west coast! Big oil’s business interests should not be considered more important than destruction of habitat!

“Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These dynamite-like blasts—which are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time—are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine. Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates.”

Read the rest of the story at: Oceana: Seismic Airgun Testing: Overview

Take action and send your comments on Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals  to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) BEFORE March 13, 2014. 

Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals click HERE

Humpback whales are well known for their songs...

Humpback whales are well known for their songs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Withering Whales

2 Feb

Wake up people! Humans are poisoning the world! Animals are dying and species are going extinct because of the greed manifested in many people (er I mean corporations) that continue to exploit all the natural resources to fill their bank accounts with something that can not be taken to their graves! Oceans should not be a dumping ground – directly or indirectly! Keep in mind that the pollution we put into the air will come back down into the oceans. Oceans cover 71% of the world and is the largest habitat!


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Walking with the Alligators


A Long-finned pilot whale spyhopping
Picture credit:  Barney Moss


An update to this story

The news is worse yet today, even more Whales have been found dead and again their stomachs were empty, but the thing that is most disturbing is the fact that these whales normally  live in very deep waters and that they are probably coming into shallower waters now because something is terribly wrong where they live in the Gulf. Once again my suspicions are toxins from either the BP oil spill or the chemicals used to clean it up. These family oriented mammals will all follow even one sick member to their own deaths. It is tragic.  Regardless of what is the cause this time,  we are killing our  sea life and poisoning the sea. God help us all.

About 25 pilot whales found dead in southwest Florida


Each day as I watch our local news, I keep hoping that this will all end…

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#Blackfish! What More Can You Do? | #CyberWhaleWarrior

19 Dec

#Blackfish! What More Can You Do? | #CyberWhaleWarrior.

December 19, 2013 by 

They should be free!

They should be free!

The documentary Blackfish is as big a phenomenon as The Cove movie ever was. Being aired on CNN, however, it has been broadcast to a much larger audience and it is taking the world by storm.  Both films are incredibly powerful in that they leave the viewer vowing to never visit a marine mammal attraction facility. With many of us, they also strike a chord deep inside causing us to wonder what more can we do to help these poor souls.

As with any cause, spreading awareness is the key to attaining a favorable outcome. This can be done in a number of ways.

TELL your family, friends and neighbors about BlackfishWhile you may be able to adequately convey the premise of the film, nothing could be more effective than having them watch it themselves. Tell them just enough to peak their curiosity so that they will be intrigued and want to learn more.

SHARE Blackfish with most everyone you come in contact with. Wherever you go, you will find yourself in a position to speak to someone. Whether it be at school, work or in line at a checkout, this is the perfect opportunity to spread awareness. Even at a convenience store, you can get the clerk wanting to watch the documentary. See “How to Share ‘The Cove’ Movie in 30 seconds.

You don’t always have to start the conversation. Wearing shirts, hats and jewelry that display orcas or dolphins will attract compliments from people. Even tattoos are a way to show your support for these incredible beings that are on death row. If you want, you can go all out and buy the official Blackfish shirt which looks really cool! Get yours here.

INVITE people over for dinner and a movie. You could treat your friends to a meal and educate them at the same time. You may even want to have a raffle for Blackfish poster. But whatever you do, don’t serve fish! I don’t think that would go over too well.

GET Blackfish on DVD or Blu-ray. I suggest you keep a copy on hand but you may also want to donate copies to anyone who would be likely to share the news of the movie to others or have a screening. Give a copy to your local school or library. Your hairdresser is a good candidate and so is a taxi driver. Whoever comes in contact with a lot of people and does a lot of talking needs to see Blackfish!

Have a stare-down. Imagine pulling up to a busy intersection and seeing people on every corner wearing the Blackfish t-shirt. They aren’t chanting or waving signs. They are just looking at you and making eye-contact. You wouldn’t be able to get it out of your head. All day you would be thinking of nothing but: “Blackfish. Blackfish!”

Blackfish T-shirt

During the winter months, you may want to have your stare-down indoors. A shopping mall is the perfect place. You and your friends could be standing at strategic intervals throughout the mall or you may just decide to walk laps. People will see your Blackfish shirts again and again as they do their shopping. You can even get a poster and lay it on the floor. You and your friends could stand in a circle looking down at the poster while wearing your shirts. Be ready for people to ask questions. This will be your opportunity to shine. Also, try to get photos and video of your events to share online. I, for one, would love to see them.

RIDE AND READ. You and your friends could ride the bus or the train wearing your Blackfish shirts while each reading a copy of Death At SeaWorld. Your destination could be a place like Starbucks or a park. There’s a lot you can do to spread awareness for this cause. Use your imagination! Once again, be sure to document it for the world-wide web.

USE the #Blackfish tag. Whether you are on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ or Twitter you can use the tag when sharing pictures, videos or information about dolphins and/or orcas. After you use the tag, click on it to see who else is using it. If you are on Twitter, for example, you will want to ReTweet other people’s comments. By doing this, you are helping to trend the tag and you will be joining the ranks of other cyber whale warriors worldwide. Click here now to see who’s using the tag on Twitter. For more on this subject, read #Blackfish and the #CyberWhaleWarrior Cry and Why Tweet? Why ReTweet?

HOOK-UP with other Blackfish supporters. One of the best places to do this is on Facebook. Organizations and people like yourself are fighting to see dolphins and orcas free from captivity. I recommend you start connecting via Save Japan Dolphins and Fins and Fluke. Save Japan Dolphins is the official page for the organisation that was the focus of the academy award-winning documentary The Cove. With more than eighty-thousand supporters, you are bound to make some friends at Save Japan DolphinsFins and Fluke, on the other hand, has a dedicated crew that will be happy to address your needs and answer your questions. They are also a hub of information for events and rallies, both online and in your neck of the woods.

Organize a protest near you. You don’t have to be near a marine mammal theme park to have a rally. There are businesses that support SeaWorld and other dolphin prisons that you can target. For example, Georgia Aquarium proudly displays a list of its supporters. Click here to see who likes dolphins in captivity. Just do a little research to find out who supports SeaWorld, Marineland or any other dolphin hell hole.

START your own blog, website or vlog. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and you don’t have to be a skilled writer. We simply need as many anti-captivity websites as possible so that people can’t go online without hearing of Blackfish or The Cove. Be sure to link back to organizations like Save Japan DolphinsSea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Animal Welfare Institute.

JOIN SEA SHEPHERD. If you are serious about doing something epic, here is your chance! There are Sea Shepherd chapters throughout the globe. You can start off as an onshore volunteer and eventually you may be able to actually serve in a local campaign or on one of their ships at sea. To learn more about SSCS, visit their site at

Watch The Cove PSA below!


Blackfish (Photo credit: howardignatius)


▶ EXPOSED – USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife

4 Dec

Predator Defense has just released a new film where three former federal agents and a Congressman blow the whistle on the USDA’s barbaric and wasteful Wildlife Services program and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife.


Photo of whistle-blower Gary Strader

GARY STRADER Former police officer & Wildlife Services trapper

Dec. 1, 2013 – An agency within the USDA called Wildlife Services—a misnamed entity if there ever was one—has been having their way for almost a century, killing over 100,000 native predators and millions of birds each year, as well as maiming, poisoning, and brutalizing countless pets. They have also seriously harmed more than a few humans. And they apparently think they are going to continue getting away with it.

But in our new documentary, EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, whistle-blowers go on the record showing Wildlife Services for what it really is—an unaccountable, out-of-control, wildlife killing machine that acts at the bidding of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby, all with taxpayer dollars.

Our call for reforming this rogue agency is getting serious attention. A teaser of EXPOSED was just featured on CNN Headline News and is slated for an upcoming special segment. We’re also working to get a CBS “60 Minutes” exposé.

Photo of whistle-blower Rex Shaddox

REX SHADDOX Former Wildlife Services trapper
& special investigator for Wyoming Sting operation

In January 2014 we’ll kick off a nationwide film screening tour. Whistleblower Rex Shaddox will attend some of our screenings, including one planned for members of Congress at the Capital building in D.C. We hope to have other speakers tour with us if we can raise enough funds.

Learn more and support efforts to end America’s war on wildlife at


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