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'The Hoff' crab is new ocean find

By Jonathan Amos

Science correspondent, BBC News

UK scientists have found prodigious numbers of a new crab species on the Southern Ocean floor that they have dubbed "The Hoff" because of its hairy chest.

The animal was discovered living around volcanic vents off South Georgia.

Great piles of the crabs were seen to come together.

The creature has still to be formally classified, hence the humorous nickname that honours the often bare-chested US actor David Hasselhoff.

It is, however, a type of yeti crab, said Professor Alex Rogers who led the research cruise that found the animal, and it will be given a formal scientific name in due course.


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Whooping cranes grounded by FAA


A flock of whooping cranes guided by an ultra-light to Southern climes, part of Operation Migration's conservation efforts. (Operation Migration)

January 7, 2012


WASHINGTON — Ten young whooping cranes and the bird-like plane they think is their mother had flown more than halfway to their winter home in Florida when federal regulators stepped in.

Now the birds and the plane are grounded in Alabama while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates whether the journey violates regulations because the pilot was being paid by a conservation group to lead the cranes on their first migration instead of working for free.

FAA regulations say only pilots with commercial pilot licenses can fly for hire. The pilots of Operation Migration's plane are instead licensed to fly sport aircraft because that's the category of aircraft that the group's small, open plane with its rear propeller and bird-like wings falls under. FAA regulations also prohibit sport aircraft — which are sometimes of exotic design — from being flown to benefit a business or charity.

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Montreal puffin set for release on Grand Banks


This small puffin was flown to Newfoundland by jet on Dec. 23, and is set to be released at a large seabird colony on the Grand Banks. This small puffin was flown to Newfoundland by jet on Dec. 23, and is set to be released at a large seabird colony on the Grand Banks. (CBC )

A wayward puffin that had been found on the streets of Montreal and made national headlines when a rescue operation flew it to Newfoundland will be released Friday in the ocean.

Stan Tobin, who has been nursing the small puffin back to health at a wildlife response centre at Ship Cove, in Newfoundland's Placentia Bay, said the seabird is strong enough to be released at the southern Grand Banks.

The area is home to the largest puffin colony in North America, and is warmed by the Gulf Stream. Tobin determined that the frigid inshore waters in Placentia Bay were too cold for the bird, which is now substantially larger than just two weeks ago.

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Birds fall dead in Arkansas town again

Wildlife News


Posted: Jan 1, 2012 12:52 AM ET

For the second New Year's Eve in a row, hundreds of birds like this one that died a year ago have fallen dead in Beebe, Ark. For the second New Year's Eve in a row, hundreds of birds like this one that died a year ago have fallen dead in Beebe, Ark. (Warren Watkins/Associated Press file photo))

Blackbirds have fallen dead from the sky in a central Arkansas town for the second New Year's Eve in a row.

KATV showed a radar image that it said showed a large mass over Beebe a few hours before midnight Saturday. The Little Rock television station reported that hundreds of birds had died.

Hearst Taylor, an animal control worker in the Beebe, told KATV the reason for the bird deaths isn't yet known.

Last year, fireworks were blamed for the death of thousands of birds.

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Eagles and more eagles: 1600 still on the Harrison

Wildlife News


Today, December 27, I took my staff on a tour of the Harrison River with Fraser River Safari Tours - and in spite of the dreary weather it was a typical wondrous day on the Harrison.  Somewhere between 1300 and 1600 eagles were still feasting along the river.  This is more than I hoped as the fish supply was surely running out - meaning the spawned out salmon carcasses were simply eaten out by the wintering eagles.  However, over 1500 eagles were still savaging the remaining carcasses and a great exhibition was witnessed by all.  In short, while I might be spoiled having seen over 7300 eagles on previous occasions, very few people have ever witnessed 1500 eagles in such a small area.

The day was dreary with some rain but the Safari Tour boat is so warm and enclosed that this does not matter.  Some additional 75 magnificent trumpeter swans were also present on the Chehalis Flats along with a thousand waterfowl -- a memorable site.  But the numbers of eagles is still something very few people have ever seen.

The Fraser River Safari Tours will be offering the last tour of the season on Thursday, Dec 29, so if you have an 'unused moment' or gift this would be a great way of spending it.  Call Jo at 604 -302-9679, or toll-free at
1-866-348-6877, for a trip of a lifetime.   I will be aboard as the guide to talk about these incredible birds.

Have a great festive season and I hope I meet a few more of you on Thursday.


David Hancock

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Ronnie Miranda's Outstanding Panorama of Eagles

Wildlife News

Check this out:

Picture taken by Ronnie Miranda on the Fraser River Safari, Dec. 17. 2011.  There will be one more safari with David Hancock as the guest tour guide on Dec. 29th.  Don't miss this chance to see thousands of eagles in the Fraser Valley.


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Bird photo contest to award $10,000 to winner

Wildlife News


Lynx Edicions, publisher of the Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) and the Internet Bird Collection (IBC) has announced the launch of the First Edition of the HBW World Bird Photo Contest with valuable prizes for the winners, including a first prize of US$10,000.

The competition closes on 26 March 2012. Images must be submitted online at Each participant can submit up to eight images, free of charge.

“The contest has been created with the aspiration of becoming the most important bird photography competition at the international level and thus promoting bird photography and bird watching, which we decidedly believe are amongst the best tools for the conservation of nature.” said Josep del Hoyo, Senior Editor of the HBW series.

The HBW World Bird Photo Contest aims to encourage and disseminate knowledge about birds, while at the same time inspiring creativity in the art of photography. To these ends, the contest’s focus is on photography that is ethical, grounded in the utmost respect for the conservation of birds and their habitats, and without unnecessary digital manipulation.


To learn more please visit:

HBW World Bird Photo Contest

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Save a third of fish for birds, scientists urge

Wildlife News


Scientists say human fishing boats must leave a third of sardines, anchovies and other small fish in the ocean to save seabirds from declining.

A new study has found that one third of maximum fish populations is consistently the threshold around the world needed to keep populations of puffins, penguins, gannets, albatrosses and other seabirds stable.

The new findings published Thursday in Science could be "used as a guide to limit the amount of fish taken from the sea in order to maintain seabird populations in the long term," said Philippe Cury, a researcher at the French Research Institute for Development and the University of British Columbia fisheries centre who led the project.



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