40,000 bluebirds housed in Idaho, USA

This 25 July 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

The Birdman of Idaho Has Built Homes for Over 40,000 Bluebirds

He just might be the biggest bluebird landlord in Idaho. Al Larson has built and placed more than 350 wooden nest boxes throughout the state’s southwest. The birdwatcher started the project in the late 1970s after reading how important the shelters are to the survival of bluebirds. Today, at the age of 97, he is still at it. Larson monitors the little houses to record vital data about the number of eggs and nestlings. To date, Larson has helped fledge over 40,000 bluebirds.

Bernie Sanders wins Utah, Idaho primary elections

This video from the USA says about itself:

Arizona, Idaho & Utah Democratic Primary Election: TYT Summary

22 March 2016

Cenk Uygur, Jordan Chariton and Jimmy Dore of The Young Turks break down the results of the latest primary election. Cenk discusses the delegate counts in Arizona, Utah and Idaho on the Democratic side.

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 March 2016

Cenk Uygur, Jimmy Dore and Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks breakdown some key differences between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump speeches.

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 March 2016

Wednesday, March 23rd at 6pm eastern Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks will interview BERNIE SANDERS! You don’t want to miss this interview!

Arizona’s Primary Problems Go Way Beyond Long Lines. “Finally find somebody I want to vote for, and they deny me”: here.

Gyrfalcon catches rodent, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

A Gyrfalcon flying above the snow, catches a small rodent in Idaho. Though these large falcons may take mammals, they usually hunt birds, especially ptarmigan.

Northern shrike video from Idaho, USA

This video from Idaho in the USA is called Northern Shrike – Avimor – 26 February 2015.

Northern shrikes are called great grey shrikes in Europe.

Ravens and hawks in the USA, new study

This video from the USA says about itself:

Raven’s nest with 6 eggs on window ledge of office building located in West Los Angeles.

From Wildlife Extra:

Raven populations rise in US as they turn man-made structures to their advantage

A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), US Geological Survey (USGS) and Idaho State University (ISU) has revealed how man-made structures affect the nesting of a variety of avian predators.

The study took place on the sagebrush landscapes of the US Department of Energy‘s Idaho site and surrounding areas in the state, locating nest sites for all four species over a three-year span.

Researchers compared common ravens, red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, and ferruginous hawks.

This video from the USA says about itself:

A family of wild Swainson’s Hawks (adults & juveniles) in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona encounter a lone coyote

The Wildlife Extra article continues:

Overall, the analysis showed that energy transmission towers and other artificial substrates (e.g. mobile phone towers, billboards and buildings) are overwhelmingly preferred by ravens as nesting sites, and are not at all favoured by any of the three hawk species.

“Raven populations have increased precipitously in the past four decades in sagebrush ecosystems, largely as a result of fragmentation and development of anthropogenic structures,” said ecologist and study lead author Peter Coates.

“Our study shows that in addition to habitat fragmentation, the addition of human-made structures benefit ravens, whereas some species of raptors like the ferruginous hawk have been impacted and limited in nesting areas.”

Why the difference in nest selection between ravens and large hawks? The answer may be linked to the availability of preferred prey.

“Ravens are opportunistic foragers, eating just about anything, including carrion,” said co-author and USGS ecologist Kristy Howe.

“In addition, they tend to be highly intelligent birds that adapt quickly to changing environments and have been shown to transmit learned behaviours from one generation to the next.

“Conversely, hawks tend to be strongly territorial, intolerant of human disturbance, and prefer prey like jackrabbits that occupy similar habitats.”

Ravens were classed as an uncommon breeder within this area as recently as 1986. They are now the most pervasive predatory species nesting in this area, accounting for 46 per cent of nests among the four.

Transmission towers are the tallest objects in the study area. Nesting on or near them may afford ravens myriad advantages, including a wider range of vision, greater attack speed, and greater security from predators, range fires, and heat stress.

While this is good news for ravens, it could be bad news for sensitive prey species, including the greater sage-grouse.

Howe speculates on the study’s other implications and directions for future research: “Since ravens are important predators of young birds and eggs, and hawks are predominantly predators of adults, these landscape changes could shift ecosystem dynamics.

“Predation risk would now likely be greater for sage-grouse eggs and young, and correspondingly lower for adult sage-grouse and other prey species.

“This adds new insights for ecosystem managers who seek to understand the complex relationships between ravens, hawks, sage-grouse populations, and habitat changes.”

“Industrial development, wildfires, invasive plant species, and other disturbances are changing sagebrush landscapes throughout the western United States,” concluded Peter Coates.

“Our results shed light on how these avian predators might change with them.”

American kestrels, new research

This video from the USA says about itself:

Northern New York American Kestrel Nest Box Project

Adirondack Raptors started the American Kestrel nest box project in 2002. We have been managing for the American kestrel ever since. This documentary aired on WPBS-TV on 3 January 2011.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Growing Up Kestrel

Those who monitor American Kestrel nests know that these petite raptors are feisty and adaptable. But do the young kestrels that grow into handsome little falcons in your nest boxes ever return as adults? Or, do they strike out for parts unknown in some distant corner of the continent? The answers, from a new study in Idaho, may surprise you.

Since most kestrels breed in their first year after hatching, researchers did not have to wait long to see whether the kestrels were leaving home. Perhaps surprisingly, only 4% of the banded nestlings returned to nest in the study area, while the majority dispersed out of the study area. Of those that stayed put, females moved farther than males, about 6 miles (9.8 km) compared to the males’ 3.3 miles (5.3 km). Researchers think that although males are certainly capable of long-distance moves (one kestrel is known to have dispersed more than 1,200 miles!), they typically do not move as far because they need to defend territories. Females, on the other hand, are free to wander and choose the best available mate. Interestingly, juveniles whose parents were raised in the area were three times more likely to stay in the same area than those whose parents were immigrants. Two “local” sons even came back a few years later to nest in the very boxes from which they fledged.

How do American Kestrels compare to American people when it comes to leaving home? According to a 2008 Pew Research Center survey, the percentage of Americans who resided in the same town in which they were born was 37%, compared with just 4% of the studied kestrels remaining in their area of origin. The popular idea that most kestrels stay in the same “hometown” in which they were raised is more likely a reflection of our own human dispersal patterns—people are almost an order of magnitude more likely to stay!

Deciding whether to move or stay always involves tradeoffs. Kestrels leave their hometowns for some of the same reasons people do: to seek out new opportunities, to learn what’s out there, and to start a family. However, those that stay do so for reasons that we can also relate to: the climate is favorable, they know the area, and it’s a good place to raise kids. If you don’t yet have a kestrel nesting box available in your area, why not provide one in case this beautiful little falcon finds its way to your hometown?

Reference: Steenhof, K., and J. A. Heath. 2013. Local recruitment and natal dispersal distances of American kestrels. The Condor 115(3):584-592.

Prehistoric Canadian and Idaho animals research

This video says about itself:

7 March 2013

Scientists find a giant camel fossil in the Arctic.

Most of us know what a modern day camel looks like.

But around 3.5 million years ago, giant camels roamed the arctic forests, and today their remains have been found in Canada.

30 bone fragments were found in the tundra.

The remains were mummified, rather than fossilized, and had remnants of collagen proteins.

Protein analysis of the bones shows that the animal is related to present day camels.

Scientists have been aware of the fact that camels evolved in North America, but this is the northernmost latitude that evidence of ancient camels has been found.

Doctor Mike Buckley, an author of the study from the University of Manchester, said: “It suggests that many of the adaptations that we currently think of, in terms of camels being adapted to warm desert-like environments, could have actually originated through adaptation to quite the opposite extreme… cold, harsh environments.”

Some evolutionary traits that work well for both types of environments include flat feet for walking on sand and snow, and the camel’s hump, which stores fat to help the animal survive through harsh conditions.

The ancient camels were about 30 percent larger than modern day camels, and scientists think that they only had one hump.

So, these ancient camels are from the Pliocene epoch.

From the Seattle Times in the USA:

Friday, August 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Scientists, students study ancient camel tracks in NW

Tracks left in the earth tens of thousands of years ago by camels, llamas and wolves offer scientists a trove of information about prehistoric life in Southeast Idaho.


Idaho State Journal

AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — To the untrained eye, the tracks along the western shore of the reservoir look fresh — odd in shape, but recent.

The fact is they were made by an ancient North American camel some 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, and the trail of tracks contains a treasure trove of information for paleontologists like Mary Thompson of the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the Idaho State University Campus.

Thompson was beaming with excitement recently as a dozen ISU scientists and graduate students explored the trackways discovered along the edge of American Falls Reservoir this month.

Preserved tracks found in the hardened sands included those of camels, llamas and a large dire wolf or Canis dirus. All lived during the Pliocene epoch when the large lake above American Falls provided water for creatures who enjoyed a cooler climate and a forested Southeast Idaho.

Earlier this article said: “some 20,000 to 50,000 years ago”. Now, it says Pliocene. Both can’t be right at the same time. The Pliocene ended 2,5 million years ago. Camelops hesternus, the fossil camels discovered, became extinct about 11,000 years ago. So, they were Pleistocene animals; not Pliocene.

“Camels originated in North America, as did llamas,” Thompson said.

Animals like camels and llamas provided a food source for predators like the dire wolf. This ancient canine was about 5 feet long and weighed about 130 pounds — slightly smaller than today’s timber wolf.

Thompson said determining the origin of predator tracks is more difficult because there were so many during that time period. Ancient bears and coyotes shared territories with the North American lion and two types of saber-toothed tiger.

The llama tracks discovered by ISU’s team are Hemiauchenia macrocephala or “bigheaded llamas.” The camels are Camelops hesternus or “yesterday’s camel.”

“This is one of the top locations in the nation for Pliocene vertebrates,” Thompson said about the area upstream from American Falls. “It’s just behind the La Brea Tar Pits.”

The La Brea Tar Pits, like apparently the new discoveries, are from the Pleistocene, not the Pliocene. A paleontologist like Ms Thompson will certainly know that. Probably, the journalist misquoted her.

Her enthusiasm for the so-called “trackways” was shared by Robert Schlader, manager of the Idaho Virtual Lab at ISU’s museum. He was busy setting up sophisticated 3-D imaging equipment with two graduate students.

Schlader explained how the equipment uses lasers and a rotating mirror to create a three-dimensional image of the walkway.

“It’s essentially doing the same thing as policeman’s radar gun, except instead of measuring speed it measures distance,” Schlader said.

The grad students set up white balls along both sides of the walkway to serve as targets. Once the equipment has gathered all the data, Schlader will take it back to his lab and use it to create a virtual environment as it existed 20,000 or more years ago when the ancient animals were making tracks to the water’s edge.

“Our big goal today is to try to capture and document as much as possible of this,” Thompson said. “The trackways tell us a lot more about what the animals were doing,” Thompson said. “We’ll be at this for several days.”

And those several days of field work will translate into a more accurate glimpse of life in Southeast Idaho when a lava flow blocked the Snake River at American Falls and formed a large inland lake long, long before modern engineers did the same for irrigation.

Japanese-American internment camp discovery

This video from the USA says about itself:

1 July 2013

Footage of the first week of the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project Field School: June 22-29.

From Associated Press in the USA:

Kooskia Internment Camp Discovered In Mountains Of Idaho


Deep in the mountains of northern Idaho, miles from the nearest town, lies evidence of a little-known portion of a shameful chapter of American history.

There are no buildings, signs or markers to indicate what happened at the site 70 years ago, but researchers sifting through the dirt have found broken porcelain, old medicine bottles and lost artwork identifying the location of the first internment camp where the U.S. government used people of Japanese ancestry as a workforce during World War II.

Today, a team of researchers from the University of Idaho wants to make sure the Kooskia Internment Camp isn’t forgotten to history.

“We want people to know what happened, and make sure we don’t repeat the past,” said anthropology professor Stacey Camp, who is leading the research.

It’s an important mission, said Charlene Mano-Shen of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle.

Mano-Shen said her grandfather was forced into a camp near Missoula, Mont., during WWII, and some of the nation’s responses to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 evoked memories of the Japanese internments. Muslims, she said Thursday, “have been put on FBI lists and detained in the same way my grandfather was.”

After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the nation into the second world war, about 120,000 people of Japanese heritage who lived on the West Coast were sent to internment camps. Nearly two-thirds were American citizens, and many were children. In many cases, people lost everything they had worked for in the U.S. and were sent to prison camps in remote locations with harsh climates.

Research such as the archaeological work underway at Kooskia (KOO’-ski) is vital to remembering what happened, said Janis Wong, director of communications for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

People need to be able “to physically see and visit the actual camp locations,” Wong said.

Giant sites where thousands of people were held – such as Manzanar in California, Heart Mountain in Wyoming and Minidoka in Idaho – are well-known. But Camp said even many local residents knew little about the tiny Kooskia camp, which operated from 1943 to the end of the war and held more than 250 detainees about 30 miles east of its namesake small town, and about 150 miles southeast of Spokane, Wash.

The camp was the first place where the government used detainees as a labor crew, putting them into service doing road work on U.S. Highway 12, through the area’s rugged mountains.

“They built that highway,” Camp said of the road that links Lewiston, Idaho, and Missoula, Mont.

Men from other camps volunteered to come to Kooskia because they wanted to stay busy and make a little money by working on the highway, Camp said. As a result, the population was all male, and mostly made up of more recent immigrants from Japan who were not U.S. citizens, she said.

Workers could earn about $50 to $60 a month for their labor, said Priscilla Wegars of Moscow, Idaho, who has written books about the Kooskia camp.

Kooskia was one of several camps operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that also received people of Japanese ancestry rounded up from Latin American countries, mostly Peru, Camp said. But it was so small and so remote that it never achieved the notoriety of the massive camps that held about 10,000 people each.

“I’m aware of it, but I don’t know that much about it,” said Frank Kitamoto, president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial Committee, based in Puget Sound, Wash., which works to maintain awareness of the camps.

After the war the camp was dismantled and largely forgotten. Using money from a series of grants, Camp in 2010 started the first archaeological work at the site. Some artifacts, such as broken china and buttons, were scattered on top of the ground, she said.

“To find stuff on the surface that has not been looted is rare,” she said.

Camp figures her work at the site could last another decade. Her team wants to create an accurate picture of the life of a detainee. She also wants to put signs up to show people where the internment camp was located.

Artifacts found so far include Japanese porcelain trinkets, dental tools and gambling pieces, she said. They have also found works of art created by internees.

“While it was a horrible experience, the people who lived in these camps resisted in interesting ways,” she said. “People in the camps figured out creative ways to get through this period of time.”

“They tried to make this place home,” she said.

This Japanese-American graduated from high school 72 years after being held in an internment camp.

Five 2009 wildlife successes

This video is called Inside Nature’s Giants: The Leatherback Turtle.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society in the USA:

Top Five Hits of 2009

Before we ring in 2010, we’d like to thank you for all of the conservation successes you helped us achieve this year. With your support, we made big strides for wildlife throughout the world’s coral reefs, rainforests, rocky shores, savannahs, and mountains. Below are five of our favorite headlines from 2009.

Dr. Howard Rosenbaum Interview

Watch an interview with Dr. Howard Rosenbaum on a 2009 victory for sea turtles.


Victory for penguins

With support from WCS, Argentina declares a new coastal marine park to protect half a million penguins, cormorants, oystercatchers, and other rare seabirds. The region’s Magellanic penguins represent about a quarter of the entire population in Patagonia.


Afghanistan’s national park

Afghanistan establishes its first national park, with aid from WCS. Band-e-Amir will protect one of the country’s best-known natural areas, renowned for its spectacular series of six deep blue lakes separated by natural dams made of travertine, a mineral deposit.


Irrawaddy dolphin discovery

WCS marine researchers discover 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins alive and swimming in the Sundarbans mangrove forest and adjacent waters of Bangladesh. Prior to this study, the largest known populations of Irrawaddy dolphins numbered in the low hundreds or fewer.


Tiger poachers busted

WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit plays a key role in the arrests of illegal wildlife traders attempting to sell Sumatran tiger skins in Indonesia. The island’s populations of tigers and other endangered species are under siege by poachers.


Pronghorn migration route

WCS-North America researchers discover a group of pronghorn antelope living in Idaho that have one of the longest overland migration routes in the Western Hemisphere. The antelope make an annual round-trip exceeding 160 miles.

April 2011: America’s pronghorn population is being tracked by satellite to find out more about their perilous annual migration: here.

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US electric company killed 232 eagles

This is a golden eagle video.

From Wildlife Extra:

US Electric company guilty of killing 232 eagles – Must pay $10.5 million

20/07/2009 13:46:24

Utility Giant to Pay Millions for Eagle Protection

July 2009. PacifiCorp, one of the largest electric utilities in the USA, pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing golden eagles and other migratory birds. The company was ordered to pay over $10.5 million for killing eagles and other protected birds.

PacifiCorp were charged with 34 counts of unlawfully taking golden eagles, hawks, and ravens in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. PacifiCorp has killed 232 eagles in Wyoming from January 2007 to the present day. The company, which pleaded guilty to all 34 counts, has been sentenced to pay a $510,000 criminal fine and an additional $900,000 in restitution and will spend the next five years on probation. During this period, PacifiCorp has been ordered to spend $9.1 million to repair or replace its equipment to protect migratory birds from electrocution in Wyoming.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigation, which began in 2007, linked excessive eagle mortalities to PacifiCorp’s electrical distribution and transmission facilities in six Wyoming counties. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming filed Federal charges against the company based on this probe. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to kill a protected bird (including eagles and other raptors) by any means without first obtaining a permit.

Avian Protection Plan to be implemented

Until this past year, PacifiCorp had failed to use readily available measures to address bird electrocutions in Wyoming – measures that could have saved numerous eagles and other birds. Under the terms of its plea agreement, the company must implement an Avian Protection Plan for the State that will include retrofitting and modernizing its electrical distribution and transmission system to reduce eagle mortalities.

Restitution paid by the company will support research and projects to conserve golden eagles and other birds of prey in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Conservation organizations slated to receive funding include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Hawk Watch International, the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Wyoming, the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, and the Murie Audubon Society of Casper, Wyoming.

Electrocution of eagles or other large birds can occur when a bird perches on the cross arm of a power pole and completes an electrical circuit by touching two energized wires or an energized wire and a ground.

1,031 eagle electrocuted in Wyoming since 1991

Avian electrocution and collision problems are not new: the first documented collision of a bird with a telegraph line occurred in 1876, and the first reported eagle electrocution on a transmission line was in 1922. Problems persist in many parts of the United States, including Wyoming, where Service special agents documented at least 1,031 eagles killed by electrocution since 1991.

Towers, Turbines, Power Lines, and Buildings – Steps Being Taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Avoid or Minimize Take of Migratory Birds at These Structures: here.

As we await a verdict in the first trial of a building owner over bird collision deaths, a second trial over the same issue has just begun in Toronto. Cadillac Fairview Corporation, the owner of three office buildings in the city, has been charged with violating Canada’s Species at Risk Act: here.