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Navajos Add Bald Eagle to Endangered List

Conservation & Preservation
by Felicia Fonseca - Sept. 28, 2008 12:00 AM
Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF - The Navajo Nation has guaranteed protections for the bald eagle by adding it to the tribe's endangered species list a year after the federal government removed the bird from its list.

David Mikesic, a zoologist with the tribe's Natural Heritage Program under Navajo Fish and Wildlife, said this month's approval of protections for the bald eagle represents a move within the agency to become more of a player in the recovery of the species.

"I'm always looking to expand our abilities to manage and protect our endangered animals and plants," Mikesic said. "I suspect that since this was well-received, it could certainly open the doors for more possibilities."
The Navajo Nation updates its endangered species list every two to three years. It includes plants and animals that aren't on the federal list as well as those the federal government considers endangered or threatened.

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ND Outfitter Pleads Guilty to Shooting Eagle Decoy

From: The Associated Press

ND outfitter pleads guilty to shooting eagle decoy
By DAVE KOLPACK

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A western North Dakota outfitter who was arrested after shooting at a bald eagle decoy has pleaded guilty to a charge he attempted to kill a migratory bird.

Gary Stang, 63, pleaded guilty Thursday in a deal with prosecutors to the charge of attempting to take and kill a protected migratory bird.

He was arrested in March near his hunting excursion business, the same day investigators with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set up the stuffed eagle decoy as a way to lure him into shooting it.

"In his mind, when he pulled the trigger, it was a live bird," said Rich Grosz, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Under the plea deal, Stang was sentenced to a year of probation, a fine of more than $1,000, and the loss of hunting privileges in North America for one year. Stang also will give up a rifle, scope and ammunition. The plea was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller in Bismarck, who also imposed the sentence.

He could have faced as much as 6 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

"We made our point," Hayden said of the plea deal. "It's not always about getting a big fine."

Agents had been investigating Stang for four years as a suspect in the shootings of protected birds like eagles, owls and hawks in an area near his business. Agents wouldn't give a number on how many birds he's suspected of killing.

Stang's attorney, Tom Dickson, said his client is under the mistaken impression that raptors — including eagles, hawks and owls — are hurting his business by preying on pheasants. Pheasant hunters pay Stang to set up excursions through his outfitting company, Good Life Hunting Company Bed and Breakfast. But those raptors are protected under a migratory bird treaty.

"Some of our older farmers have an irrational attitude toward birds of prey," Dickson said. "This would be one of those situations."

Grosz said Stang was a suspect for several years, after investigators started "putting pins on the map" when looking into reports of dead raptors. The dead birds were being found in the area where Stang was known to hunt.

In 2004, undercover agents set up hunting trips with Stang, who owns the Good Life Hunting Company Bed and Breakfast in Hettinger County, and another outfitter, Warren Anderson, of Bowman.

Anderson eventually was arrested and pleaded guilty to federal charges. He was ordered to pay $60,000 in fines and restitution.

"Mr. Stang was put on a back burner, but we took another look last spring," Grosz said.

Investigators found a large bald eagle mount in the federal repository that was about to be destroyed and decided instead to put it to use.

The decoy was placed in a public area in March where Stang was known to patrol for raptors. Agents staking out the area saw Stang shoot it.

Grosz said it's the first time he has used a bald eagle decoy to catch a suspect.

"It's an alternative approach, but we had to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. "Killing one of these birds is an unacceptable thing."

Reference Link:

http://ap.google.com:80/article/ALeqM5i ... AD93EH5680
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Stiphrornis Pyrrholaemus - New Bird Species Discovered In Africa

Link to Article

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a new species of bird in Gabon, Africa, that was, until now, unknown to the scientific community. Their findings were published in the international science journal Zootaxa today, Aug. 15.

Forest Robin - Male

The newly found olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus) was named by the scientists for its distinctive olive back and rump. Adult birds measure 4.5 inches in length and average 18 grams in weight. Males exhibit a fiery orange throat and breast, yellow belly, olive back and black feathers on the head. Females are similar, but less vibrant. Both sexes have a distinctive white dot on their face in front of each eye.

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Solution Sought for North Dakota Power Line Bird Strikes

Wildlife News
Solution sought for N.D. power line bird strikes
By JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press Writer
Mon Sep 22, 5:27 AM ET

COLEHARBOR, N.D. - Death comes from above and below for birds on the causeway that separates Lake Audubon from Lake Sakakawea along the Missouri River.

Biologists believe overhead electrical power lines and car collisions make the two-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 83 through the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge one of the world's deadliest places for birds, on land or air.

Recently, biologist Darren Doderer located casualty No. 373, a mangled and bloodied double-crested cormorant that appeared to have hit one of the dozen or so unmarked overhead power lines.

"It's not fun to see these deaths," said Doderer, who estimated he's walked about 500 miles in the area searching for dead birds since April.

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National Symbol a Local Irritant for Some Alaskans

Wildlife NewsThe Tribune's Jason George visits the heart of eagle country, where many support easing restrictions on 'disturbing' the protected bird

By Jason George | Chicago Tribune correspondent

11:37 PM CDT, September 21, 2008

JUNEAU, Alaska Like an avian Rodney Dangerfield, the bald eagle often finds little respect in America's Last Frontier.

Alaskans regularly refer to the national bird as the "state pigeon," an overly abundant scavenger and common fish thief. Once, hunters even shot them for money: Alaska paid approximately 100,000 bald eagle bounties between 1917 and 1953.

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the details of a proposed permit program that would allow some "activities that may disturb eagles, require nest removal, or otherwise result in the death of or injury to a bird." Simply put, if a permitted property owner accidentally killed a bald eagle, through the process of trying to get them off their land, the resident would not be held liable for disturbing the protected bird.

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