From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:
Pennsylvania Game Commission ornithologist Dan
Brauning has a simple explanation for the increasing abundance
and diversity of bird species around Philadelphia: “Human toler-
ance of wildlife is changing. People aren’t shooting things like
they were 50 years ago. Wild turkeys [for example] would not sur-
vive if kids in the suburbs all had pellet guns.”
Talking Talons Youth Leadership, formed by
Albuquerque raptor rehabilitator and retired school nurse Wendy
Aeschliman, teaches teenagers to do public presentations on civic
and environmental issues, using the birds in her permanent care to
illustrate their various points. According to Modern Maturity,
“Last year approximately 80 young educators appeared before
105,000 people,” tutored by about 50 adult volunteers.
A fund established to lure forth information about a
series of eagle poisonings in and around Burnett County,
Wisconsin, has reached $25,000 without any takers, U.S.
Attorney Peggy Lautenschlager said on February 1. Two eagles
died in 1993, 15 in 1994, and nine already this year. Contributors
to the fund include the National Audubon Society, the Humane
Society of the U.S., Defenders of Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, and
the Foundation to Protect America’s Eagles.
Six California condors returned to the wild o n
February 8, in the third attempted restoration of the species to
southern California during the past three years. In 1992, 13 were
released at intervals in Ventura County, but four were killed in
power line collisions and a fifth was poisoned by drinking
antifreeze. The eight survivors were recaptured and relocated to a
more remote area in Santa Barbara County––but made their way to
the nearest town to perch on power lines and/or the roof of a ham-
burger joint. Eventually five of them were recaptured yet again.
The latest group to be released has undergone intensive training to
teach them to avoid humans and manmade objects, including
being held upside down and thrust into dog kennels. If the aver-
sion training doesn’t work, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may
give up on releasing them in California and try instead in Arizona
or New Mexico––part of their historical range, but not within liv-
ing human memory.
The Group of 100, the leading Mexican environmental
organization, on January 9 demanded a government investigation
of the deaths of more than 20,000 migratory waterfowl during the
preceding month at the Silva Dam in Guanajuato state. The
episode could have resulted from either pollution, intentional poi-
soning, or an outbreak of a particularly virulent disease such as
A whole generation of penguin chicks starved to death
during January in three different regions of Antarctica, biologist
Steve Nichol of the Australian Antarctic Division reported on
January 26. Normally penguin parents in the affected colonies
scoop krill from the surrounding waters and regurgitate portions
into their chicks’ beaks, never staying away longer than a day.
This winter, however, a shortage of krill forced the parents to
leave the nesting area for up to a week at a time to find other food.
Even if they had adequate nutrition, few penguin chicks could sur-
vive the elements and raids by predatory skua birds without adult
help. Nichol said the krill shortage was probably a natural phenom-
enon, as humans last took krill from the area about five years ago,
and guessed the penguin population would rebound next year.