Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bald Eagles, Condors, and the Beach (video)

Dev, CC Liu, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Mari Wirta (via Sonocarina); NPR.org
Releasing a California condor into the wild after lead poisoning (ventanaws.org)

Black Sand Beach or Vík í Mýrdal, south coast of Iceland (Mari Wirta/epod.usra.edu)
When we were mermaids
The black sand and pebble beach near the town of Vik i Myrdal, which is the southernmost settlement in Iceland. The sand originated as basalt lava that covers much of the area. Because black sand isn’t routinely replenished like most blond beach sand when storms and tides wash the it away, black sand beaches tend to be short lived.

The geology of Iceland is comparatively young -- owing its existence to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that splits the island in half. 

Venice/Santa Monica beaches, Los Angeles
Volcanoes along the ridge, such as Katla, erupt with some regularity, continuing to add surface area and mass to the “land of ice and fire” and to augment the black sand beaches. Photographed Oct. 3, 2012, Vik coordinates: 63.419444, -19.009722

California Condors to be released today!
(Tim Huntington/Vimeo) California Condors "recycle" Gray whale that washed ashore, Big Sur

Reintroducing the Condor in Big Sur
Ventana Wildlife Society (ventanaws.org)
Baby condor in nest
Baby condor in nest (ventanaws)
By the 1980s, the California Condor population was in crisis, and extinction in the wild seemed certain. The dramatic decline of condors in the 20th century has been attributed to shooting (by killers who proudly call themselves sportsmen), poisoning, electric power lines, egg collecting, and habitat loss. In 1987, the last wild California Condor was taken into captivity to join the 26 remaining condors in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. At that time, it was uncertain whether or not North America's largest flying land bird (by wingspan, 9.5 feet) would ever again soar in the wild. More
Bald Eagles of Catalina Island, California
(Catalina Island Conservancy)
The harsh winter has caused headaches for many in the Midwest, but there's a silver lining for some bird watchers looking for American bald eagles. Jenna Dooley of NPR member-station WNIJ explains how this harsh winter is helping attract them to an unusual spot in Illinois. LISTEN

Far to the west there is a nesting population within view of the Los Angeles skyline (when its visible through the smog swirling trapped by the basin).
The dent west of LA is Santa Monica Bay (NPR)
Those birds, affected by the pesticide DDT, are offshore on a unique island full of wildlife. Catalina's flora and fauna even includes Sasquatches and buffalo. But wild inhabitants are threatened by fire and invasive species.

As Stephen Colbert must be happy about, the eagles are landing, or at least hatching, and everyone can see it live: BALD EAGLE NEST CAM

See how it follows a male pattern in the back? I blame the DDT, which...
has left me looking like George Costanza. Don't judge (Samantha Holmes).

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