Fine Levied in Eagle Wind Power Deaths

golden eagle usfwsLong before bats had a problem with wind turbines, raptors had a problem with wind turbines. The problem seemed particularly bad in Altamont, California, which was one of the nation’s first utility-scale wind power operations. The lessons learned there were supposed to prevent similar problems happening elsewhere.

It didn’t. Last week Duke Energy plead guilty to killing eagles and other birds at its Wyoming wind farm. The fine of $1 million was the very first levied against a wind power company, The Christian Science Monitor reports. The Monitor story also says that the case was the first prosecuted against a wind company under the Migratory Bird Act. It also says that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has 18 more cases in the works. Six of those have been referred to the Justice Department.

Read the entire story in The Christian Science Monitor.
Find more stories on the case, here.

Photo: Golden eagle by Donna Dewhurst, from USFWS

No News This Week

It’s not that there is no state wildlife research news out there this week  (although actually, the great bulk of press releases I’m receiving are about hunting), but other things have come up, so it’s another week without posts. Sorry.

There will be more later in the week, which will run in next week’s newsletter.

Decline in Bee Diversity Leaves Gap

A Colorado study showed that when a single species of bumblebee was removed from an area, the remaining bumblebees foraged more generally. That would be good news, except for none of the bumblebees were interested in one of the flowers, the tall larkspur.

Read the abstract from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, here.
Read an article on the paper in the New York Times, here.

The Farm Bill… Again

Eleven months ago I wrote a very brief post about why you should care about the Farm Bill. Among other things, the Farm Bill pays farmers not to plow prairies and not to drain wetlands, therefore providing wildlife habitat for ducks and grassland species. This is particularly important because native prairie has all but disappeared.

Well, Congress is still at it. This week the Senate Ag Committee passed a version of the bill that would not reward farmers who plow up prairie with crop insurance. That resulted in a tiny sigh of relief from some.

Here’s Dall Hall, former director of US Fish and Wildlife, and now CEO of Ducks Unlimited discussing the issues in the Grand Forks Herald.

Here’s what Grist has to say about the bill that will not pass, but will not die.

And here’s an update from the New York Times blog on this week’s events.

News Briefs: Swallows, Conferences and more

Ohio misses out on 2011 Pittman-Robertson funds.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has begun surveying for prairie chickens using both an aerial survey and road-side listening survey.

A YouTube video of a paraglider chasing and then kicking an owl in flight has prompted federal and Utah state wildlife officials to investigate.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to euthanize 50 wild bighorn sheep to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma pneumonia.

Highway construction safety netting snags and kills swallows in Petaluma, California. The highway department is working on fixing the situation.


There is still time to register for the 31st Annual Native American Fish & Wildlife Society National Conference. It will take place at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort at Scottsdale, AZ from May 7-9, 2013. Links to more info, here.

The deadline for papers and posters for The Wildlife Society annual conference (this year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is midnight tonight (4/12). Decisions will be announced in early June.

CWD Spreads to Wild Deer in Pennsylvania

white_tailed_deer_buckThree hunter-killed, wild deer were found to have chronic wasting disease (CWD) the  Pennsylvania Game Commission announced in March. The disease had first been discovered in the state last October, but it was only  found in a single captive deer.

The state sampled nearly 3,000 deer from around the state in addition to about 2,000 collected near the site of the first case to test for CWD, a Pennsylvania Game Commission press release reported.

Meetings by the Game Commission about the discovery drew standing-room only crowds, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WJAC-TV.

Read the Pennsylvania Game Commission press release here.

Photo: white-tailed deer, courtesy of Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission