Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Send-Off: Three Lifers and a Nemesis

2013 ended with a nice Saturday of birding. The whole family made a trip out to Revere Beach to participate in what was being call "Gullapalooza." Thousands of gulls had descended on the beach because of millions of Atlantic Surf Clams that had been washed up on the shore. My targets were Iceland and Glaucous Gulls and I was able to locate both:


 From there we headed to Ipswich to track down previously seen Ross's Goose and Cackling Goose(Nemesis Bird). Neither were at the location that they were previously reported. Luckly we were flagged down by a friendly birder who directed us to Argilla Road. The Ross's was easy to pick out in the sea of Canada Geese. The Cackling was harder and took some time and the help of Jeffrey Offerman. I can finally check that Nemesis off my list. Thanks Jeff!



Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to the petitions to stop the culling of Snowy Owls in NY/NJ. It seems to be getting a lot of traction and the unintended consequence of the Port Authority's actions seems to be a whole of free press for the Snowy Owls and a ton of interest from birders and non-birders alike. This is great for conservation/preservation. Because I am from New York and now live in Boston I am acutely aware of the importance of wildlife in and around our cities. We have continually fragmented and destroyed habitat. Allowing animals like the Snowy Owl to coexist is our duty to them and to future generations. I am thrilled that everyone's effort has been successful and has seemingly effected change.  Here's some of the good press:

The New York Times
The Boston Globe
The Today Show
The LA Times
USA Today

Your response has been overwhelming. Here are the numbers as of 12/11 on the change.org petition:
  • 8,662 signatures
  • Signers from 73 countries
  • Signers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, The US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico

Monday, December 9, 2013


Thanks to everyone who has signed this petition. After 7 hours and over 3,500 signatures, the latest report is that the Port Authority has agreed to work with the Department of Environmental Conservation to relocate Snowy Owls captured at NY/NJ airports. This is great news! 

I suggest we all keep the pressure on and follow through to make sure that this issue stays fresh in everyone's minds.  Every year we fragment habitat more and more. Many stewards are fighting to restore and protect that habitat. Meanwhile, the least the rest of us can do is allow these magnificent animals to coexist along side us. There are proven methods for dealing with a conflict like this and the Port Authority’s solution of shooting the Owls was barbaric, antiquated, and idiotic. We need to take a stand and demand that the more expensive and more involved solution to perceived problems like this not be ignored or discounted.

I am thankful for all of you who have stood up to be counted amongst those who won't stand for such ridiculousness. Please continue to be protectors of our wildlife and environment.  Being from New York and now a transplant in Boston, I would argue that nowhere are our natural resources more important, awe inspiring, and vulnerable than in our cities. 


Shooting of Snowy Owls at JFK Airport

Today I was made aware of the shooting of Snowy Owls at JFK Airport. Being a native New Yorker I was totally ashamed that they were taking this approach to "managing" the birds at NY/NJ airports. You can sign a petition at http://www.change.org asking The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to halt the slaughter of the beautiful animals. Boston Logan Airport has a great method for trapping and relocating Snowy Owls that might otherwise become a problem for air traffic and vice/versa. I have included links for the petition and information for the Mass Audubon Snowy Owl Project. Let's all hope this comes to a happy conclusion for the sake of these birds and for those of us who love to watch them. 

NY News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/snowy-owls-added-port-authority-kill-list-article-1.1541823

Mass Audubon: http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/blue-hills/snowy-owl-project

Please join this campaign: Petition

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Greater White-fronted Goose - Dorchester

Thanks to the report from Tim yesterday, I located the Greater White-fronted Goose at Franklin Field in Dorchester around 8:30am this morning. As Tim said, its mixed in with hundreds of Canada Geese but happened to be right next to the path when I arrived.
Tim suggested this was a Greenland breeder so I spent some time looking at Sibley. It seems a bit confusing but my I agree with his ID based on my cursory review.