As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

This Beautiful Bird Might Thwart the Oil and Gas Industry's Drilling Plans

Aquarter-century ago, a fight over the fate of a nocturnal bird came to symbolize the standoff between environmentalism and industry. In 1990, the federal government declared the northern spotted owl a threatened species, thwarting timber operations on millions of acres in California and the Pacific Northwest where the bird nests in trees. Conservationists cheered. The timber industry jeered. A cultural icon with feathers was born, and a culture war over ecology erupted. 

Sometime in the next two weeks—likely on November 12, a legal deadline that happens to fall a week after the midterm elections—the Obama administration is scheduled to announce whether it will put another imperiled critter on the Endangered Species List. The Gunnison sage grouse, a chicken-like bird, roams the range of Colorado and Utah. Its numbers have dwindled over the years due, scientists say, to many factors, from wilder wildfires to increased development. A move by the government to put the bird on the Endangered Species List would, in turn, threaten many other things in the grouse’s habitat: among them, surging oil and gas production.

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