Pileated woodpeckers in Seattle, USA

This is an August 2013 pileated woodpecker video.

From the American Ornithological Society Publications Office in the USA:

Woodpeckers and development coexist in Seattle

August 22, 2018

Summary: A new study tracked birds in suburban Seattle and found that as long as tree cover remains above a certain threshold, pileated woodpeckers and housing developments can coexist.

The two largest woodpeckers in North America, the Imperial Woodpecker and Ivory-billed Woodpecker, are believed to have gone extinct during the twentieth century. Can their surviving cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker, persist when standing dead trees and other crucial resources are lost to urbanization? A new study published by The Condor: Ornithological Applications tracked birds in suburban Seattle and found that as long as tree cover remains above a certain threshold, Pileated Woodpeckers and housing developments can coexist.

The University of Washington’s Jorge Tomasevic (now at the Universidad Austral de Chile) and John Marzluff trapped and radio-tagged 16 Pileated Woodpeckers at 9 sites with varying degrees of urbanization in suburban Seattle. Tracking each bird for about a year, they found that Pileated Woodpeckers used not only forested areas such as parks, but also lightly and moderately urbanized areas where some trees had been retained, taking advantage of resources such as backyard birdfeeders.

These results show that retaining at least 20% forest cover, including standing dead trees, over large suburban areas may help sustain Pileated Woodpeckers and perhaps even other species tied to them. Despite potential risks from threats such as feral cats and collisions with windows, the researchers believe that cities can play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity.

“You’d think that such large bird would be easy to find, especially when carrying a transmitter, but they did a very good job hiding”, says Tomasevic. “It was also very challenging to work in populated areas. I have so many anecdotes, good and bad, about dealing with people and people dealing with me doing my work. Some people were very friendly, but some were a little nervous with me walking around the neighborhood. I tried to look as official as possible, with University of Washington logos on my jacket, and I created a website for the project and printed some business cards. It was a great opportunity to do outreach, and I’m still friends with some of the neighborhood residents.”

“As suburban sprawl becomes more and more ubiquitous, it’s imperative that we consider which specific yard features can be promoted to share our neighborhoods with wildlife”, according to the University of Delaware’s Desiree Narango, an expert on avian urban ecology. “This paper is a nice example showing that even a mature forest specialist can use and navigate the suburban landscape if we provide the resources they need: large trees and some retained wooded areas.”

Railway disaster in Washington, USA

This video from Canadian TV says about itself:

18 December 2017

An Amtrak train derailment in Washington has killed multiple people on board. The train was making its inaugural run along a new route from Seattle to Portland when it derailed at an overpass and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below. Officials say several cars were hit by the falling train, but no motorists were killed.

At least three people were killed when an Amtrak Train 501 carrying about 83 people derailed and fell off a bridge over Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington Monday morning. The Thurston County Sheriff Department said the train cars struck several vehicles on the highway resulting in a number of injuries but no reported additional deaths. At least 77 people have been transported to local hospitals: here.

AT LEAST THREE ARE DEAD FOLLOWING WASHINGTON STATE AMTRAK DERAILMENT OVER HIGHWAY More than 100 passengers and workers were transported to local hospitals after the “train hurtled off an overpass during its inaugural run of a new high-speed service route.” The train was reportedly going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. And it turns out Congress delayed a key safeguard that could have helped prevent accidents like this one. [HuffPost]

Crows, clever birds, videos

This video says about itself:

Secret Life of Crows (full documentary) HD

3 October 2014

Corvus is a widely distributed genus of birds in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the common raven of the Holarctic region and thick-billed raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents except South America, and several islands. In Europe, the word “crow” is used to refer to the carrion crow or the hooded crow, while in North America it is used for the American crow or the northwestern crow.

This 2007 video says about itself:

Wild crows inhabiting the city use it to their advantage – David Attenborough – BBC wildlife

This video says about itself:

Are crows the ultimate problem solvers? – Inside the Animal Mind: Episode 2 – BBC Two

This video from the USA says about itself:

In Seattle, a young girl has made an unlikely group of friends – a group of [northwestern] crows who hang out in her garden and regularly bring her gifts.

Donald Trump administration news

This video from the USA says about itself:

15 February 2017

Protests erupt in Tacoma, Washington after ICE arrests immigrant ‘dreamer’ near the state’s capital.

SEATTLE – A man who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child but was protected from deportation by the Obama administration has been taken into custody in the Seattle area in what could be the first case of its kind in the country.

Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, was arrested last Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Civil rights attorneys have now filed a federal lawsuit, challenging what they call the “unconstitutional detention” of Ramirez Medina.

According to court documents, ICE agents went to a Seattle area home to arrest his father. The younger Ramirez Medina was also at the home.

His attorneys say that ICE agents asked their client whether he was in the U.S. legally. He told them “Yes, I have a work permit.”

Court documents say the ICE agents responded by saying, “It doesn’t matter because you weren’t born in this country.”

Ramirez Medina has a work permit under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The program provides a reprieve from deportation as well as renewable work permits to eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States illegally when they were just children. Roughly 750,000 young people, often referred to as “Dreamers,” are DACA recipients.

Court documents say the application process to become a DACA recipient includes a thorough background check in which the Department of Homeland Security must make sure the applicant has no serious criminal history and does not pose a threat to public safety.

Ramirez Medina’s attorneys say he went through that strict screening on more than one occasion over the years.

“Our country made a promise to these young people that by coming forward and following the rules, those who have grown up with America as their home would not be deported to a country that is unfamiliar to them,” said Luis Cortes, who is one of the attorneys representing Ramirez Medina. “The administration has indicated its willingness to find solutions that don’t renege on that promise. It’s important to remember that the legal status of DACA recipients hasn’t changed.”

But attorneys say ICE agents completely ignored Ramirez Medina’s DACA status when took him into custody. He’s being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, awaiting removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Protestors gathered outside the detention center Tuesday evening, demanding Ramirez Medina be released.

“He told them he was a DACA recipient and they said it doesn’t matter,” said Rolando Avila, who helped organize the protest. “They said we’re going to take you anyway. So we’re here in solidarity, and we demand he be released, because he is someone that is valuable in this community. We are seeing this across the country, attacks on immigrants, and we don’t want to stand idle.”

An attorney with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Projects, one of many co-counsels on Ramirez Medina’s case, told KING 5 he hopes it was all a big misunderstanding and that the young man was taken into custody by mistake.

By Zaida Green in the USA:

First ICE raids under Trump arrest nearly 700 immigrants in five days

16 February 2017

Over 680 people were arrested in a five-day-long campaign of raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency last week, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A quarter of those arrested had no criminal records.

The first immigration sweep by the Trump administration also marks the first arrest of a DACA recipient, 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina.

Ramirez, who arrived in the United States at the age of seven, was granted a temporary stay of leave and a work permit under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Ramirez was arrested at his father’s house in Seattle, Washington on the morning of February 10, in a raid targeting his father.

ICE is seeking to deport Ramirez in spite of his DACA status, which he renewed last year. Ramirez has no criminal record. ICE claims that Ramirez has admitted to being a gang member, but his attorneys assert that the agents “repeatedly pressured [him] to falsely admit affiliation.”

“The agents who arrested and questioned Mr. Ramirez were aware that he was a DACA recipient, yet they informed him that he would be arrested, detained, and deported anyway, because he was not ‘born in this country,’” according to the complaint filed by his attorneys.

Ramirez is being held in an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington ahead of deportation proceedings before an immigration judge. His attorneys are arguing that his detention is unconstitutional, and are seeking an injunction against further arrests. Federal magistrate judge James Donohue has ordered DHS to justify Ramirez’s detention by today.

More than two dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Northwest Detention Center on Tuesday to protest Ramirez’s detention. “All his life is here, he has his family here, he has his dreams here,” Wendy Pantoja, one of the protesters, told the News Tribune. “But now he’s here,” she said motioning toward the detention center. In the past few days, tens of thousands of workers and young people have rallied in the defense of immigrant rights and in opposition to the recent ICE raids.

Ramirez is one of 750,000 young “DREAMers” who were brought to the United States as children and granted a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation under the DACA program. The Trump administration is now in possession of the fingerprints and addresses of all 750,000 DREAMers. Up to 8 million people are potential targets for deportation under Trump’s January executive orders, including immigrants only accused of committing a crime.

“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

A majority of last week’s raids were conducted near or around homes, in the early hours of the morning. Immigrant advocacy groups report ICE agents posing as other branches of law enforcement and arresting immigrants heading out to work.

Multimillionaire fast-food boss Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to head the Department of Labor Wednesday, in another sign of the deepening political crisis of the Trump administration. He is the first one of Trump’s 16 cabinet picks to fail to win confirmation: here.

A growing number of activists are calling for a general national strike against President Drumpf on February 17, 2017: here.

United States police kill pregnant Native American woman

This video from the USA says about itself:

Pregnant Woman Shot By Police During ‘Wellness Check’

24 October 2016

Renee Davis was pregnant when she was shot and killed by police officers, during a ‘wellness check.’ Cenk Uygur, Grace Baldridge, and Hasan Piker, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Washington woman who was five months pregnant was shot and killed by King County Sheriff’s deputies Friday night on Muckleshoot tribal lands. Now her loved ones want to know why.

The dead woman’s former foster sister Danielle Bargala told the Seattle Times that Renee Davis, 23, had struggled with depression and mental illness before her fatal run-in with police on Friday.

“It’s really upsetting because it was a wellness check,” said Bargala, who is a Seattle University law student. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”

A relative of Davis called the sheriff’s department on Friday after receiving an alarming text from the mother of three. Police records show that officers responding to a call about a potential suicide encountered a woman with a handgun and two small children in the house when they arrived at 6:30 in the evening.

What happened next, Bargala said, is still in question, but at the end, Davis — who was an avid outdoorswoman of Native American heritage — lay dead of gunshot wounds. The children, 2 and 3 years old, were unharmed. Davis’ third child, a 5-year-old boy, was at a neighbor’s house.”

Read more here.

American nazi arrested for triple murder in Washington

This video from the USA says about itself:

Neo-Nazi Arrested For Triple Murder In Washington State

19 July 2016

A white supremacist was taken into custody on Saturday on suspicion of a triple murder in Washington.

Brent Luyster, 35, was arrested after one woman drove to a convenience store in Woodland on Friday night with a gunshot wound to the face, alerting police that three others had been shot.

Police released a photo of Luyster and the tattoos covering his arms, torso and back in an appeal to the public as they launched a manhunt warning he was ‘armed and extremely dangerous’.

Read more here.

‘Black girls matter’ anti-police brutality protest in Washington, USA

This 30 May 2016 video from Washington state in the USA is called “BLACK GIRLS MATTER” POLICE BRUTALITY PROTEST IN TACOMA.

POLICE TASER 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL Police in Cincinnati, Ohio, are reviewing policies after an officer used a Taser stun gun on an 11-year-old girl accused of shoplifting. [HuffPost]

Bernie Sanders’ Alaska, Hawaii, Washington victories

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sanders Gains Momentum With Big Wins in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State

27 March 2016

Next up for the Democrats are key contests in New York and Wisconsin.

Once again, Bernie Sanders has demonstrated, with a trifecta of big wins in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington State, that he has broad and enthusiastic support, especially among the young. Equally astonishing is the large percentage of voters who say they are attracted rather than repelled by Sanders’ embrace of socialism. But if you bother to conduct your own focus group among Americans under 40, neither phenomenon should be surprising. Except for those graduating from elite universities, with either full scholarships or wealthy tuition-paying parents, this is the stunted generation — young adults venturing into a world of work, loaded with student debt, unable to find stable jobs or decent careers: here.

Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton’s Fundraising Is ‘Obscene’. He took a swipe at her “big-money” connections: here.

Bernie Sanders scored landslide victories over Hillary Clinton in Democratic Party caucuses held Saturday in Washington state, Hawaii and Alaska. The scale of the defeats for Clinton, the presumptive front-runner in the contest for the presidential nomination, was overwhelming in all three states. In Washington’s caucuses, Sanders beat Clinton by 73 percent to 27 percent. In Alaska, the margin was 82 percent to 18 percent. Sanders won the Hawaii caucuses by 70 percent to 30 percent. The Vermont senator has won six of the last seven Democratic Party contests, including last Tuesday’s victories in Utah and Idaho. Clinton won in Arizona the same day. … Sanders, who has had far less media coverage than the other major candidates, has received 1.5 million votes from those under 30 in the primary process prior to Saturday, 300,000 more than Clinton and Trump combined.: here.

Little bird brings Bernie Sanders big election victories

This is another video about the Portland, Oregon, female house finch’s appearance at the Bernie Sanders United States presidential election rally. Where one sees the bird at closer range than in the other videos in my earlier blog post.

This video says about itself:

Bird At Bernie Sanders Rally Feels The Bern

26 March 2016

Bernie Sanders was giving a speech at a rally when a bird flew on stage. Then onto his lectern. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, Jimmy Dore, and Jordan Chariton (TYT Politics), hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Portland literally “put a bird on it” at a Bernie Sanders rally in Oregon … .

A bird landed on the Democratic presidential candidate’s podium during his speech, and the crowd went wild.

“That bird really is a dove asking us for world peace,” Sanders said.

The “put a bird on it” slogan was made famous by the sketch comedy show “Portlandia.”

Read more here.

The Young Turks commenters mention that this songbird would have been received far less kindly at a Donald Trump rally, deducing from the habitual violence against interlopers at Trump meetings (and, one may say, the enmity between Trump and birds; especially between Trump and bald eagles).

The name of the bird at the Sanders rally is house finch in English. In Dutch, it is ‘Mexicaanse roodmus’; literally, Mexican red sparrow. Their scientific name, Haemorhous mexicanus, means roughly the same. A name for it in Spanish is pinzón mexicano, Mexican finch.

The ‘Mexican’ provides another reason why this songbird would have been very unwelcome to Donald Trump. The ‘red’ is more ambiguous. Red is the colour of Trump’s United States Republican Party. But red is also the colour of international socialism; so, an unwelcome reference to Trump’s rival Sanders.

Bernie Sanders’ Bird Shows Us How Great Our Politics Can Be. As Donald Trump gives us the bird, the Bern brings us a dove: here.

Sanders and house finch

Today, there is news of big victories of Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in Democratic party caucuses in Alaska, Washington state and Hawaii.

The Huffington Post in the USA reports that in Alaska Sanders won 81,6% of the vote with victories in all counties.

In Hawaii (most votes counted, but not all yet), Sanders had 70,6% of the vote. And in Washington state 72,7%; with victories in all counties.

Good Pacific lamprey news

This video from the USA says about itself:

Why Pacific Lamprey Matter to Columbia Basin Tribes

5 November 2012

Pacific lamprey have been on earth for around 450 million years but in the past 50 years, they’ve been pushed to near extinction in the Columbia River Basin. Lamprey have been a part of the cultures of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest since time immemorial and in this video they share their feelings on this amazing creature as well as what they are doing to help keep them from going extinct.

From the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the USA:

Partnership Powers Pacific Lamprey Return Upstream of Former Condit Dam Site

March 10, 2016

HUSUM, Wash. – Pacific lamprey have been found above the former site of Condit Dam on the White Salmon River, signaling an important step forward in habitat restoration, lamprey conservation, and partnership in the Columbia River Basin.

Removed in 2011, Condit Dam blocked passage of upstream migrating fish for over 100 years. Lamprey have a unique life history and important ecological role and their presence should broaden the natural diversity that improve conditions for other aquatic species. “Because of the critical ecological role that lamprey play in rivers of the northwest and the strong tribal cultural importance, the return of lamprey to the White Salmon make this a brighter day,” says Howard Schaller, USFWS.

“This is a good day,” agrees Patrick Luke, Yakama Nation Tribal Councilman. “We are recognizing asum (lamprey) making their mighty return to Mitula Wana (White Salmon).”

Joined by concern for this vital fish, staff from The Yakama Nation and the Service began monitoring lamprey distribution in the basin in 2007. Prior to removal of the dam, surveys by Service biologists found no Pacific lamprey above the dam, only below. Non-migratory western brook lamprey were detected both above and below the dam.

In the summer of 2015, as part of the post dam removal monitoring, the Service surveyed for lamprey in several watersheds as well as the mainstem of the White Salmon River above and below the former dam site. Pacific lamprey were found at three locations upstream of the former dam site, around river mile four, in areas previously inundated by Northwestern Reservoir.

The larvae, which are the size and shape of a small earthworm, are likely offspring of adults spawning in previously inaccessible habitat. This is one of the few documentations of Pacific lamprey natural recolonization after the removal of a dam.

These findings give us a unique opportunity to monitor a potentially naturally-recolonizing population of Pacific lamprey and the aquatic community’s response to dam removal. “All lamprey need is a chance to recolonize on their own,” Councilman Luke confirms. Further monitoring is planned to document if the Pacific lamprey continue to use new areas over time.

Photos available on the USFWS Pacific Flickr set.