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It's a Bird! It's a Plane!It's ... a New Seagull-Like Robot Spy Drone!

Wildlife News



A new robotic flying drone [1], styled like a seagull, has arrived [2] on the scene. It doesn't squawk, poop or steal french fries from your hand, but it's an example of incredible bio-mimicking design that could be the future of airborne robots.

We've met a Festo robot before [3]--a robotic manipulator/gripper arm with a design that's heavily inspired by elephant trunk muscles--and so we know about the company's penchant for using bio-inspired thinking in its robot engineering. Festo actually has a whole suite of innovations under its Bionic Learning Network umbrella, but the Smart Bird is the most eye-popping among them.

Read the rest of the story and view the amazing video here:


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National Conservation Training Center Issues Statement on Resident Eagles

Wildlife News


Caption // Photo Credit: Todd Harless USFWS


Shepherdstown, WV – Since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) has connected people to nature by streaming live video of a pair of American bald eagles to viewers across the country and abroad via a camera placed near the eagles’ nest.

The NCTC eagle cam serves as an educational tool to showcase eagle biology, including mating behavior, egg laying, incubation, and in a successful year, rearing eagle chicks until they are old enough to leave the nest. Although the NCTC campus is closed to the public (with the exception of the annual open house and occasional special events), the cam records video year round can be accessed online anytime at:

Read the rest of the story here:

Read and/or post comments about this nest in the HWF Discussion Forum here:


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Bald eagles return to Lake Ontario shore

Wildlife News

Tys Theijsmeijer, head of natural lands at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, points to a map showing where two bald eagles are nesting in Cootes Paradise in Hamilton.

Are a couple of American icons making babies in a Hamilton marsh?

If successful, the pair of bald eagles nesting in a tall white pine in Cootes Paradise just might be breeding the first homegrown young on Lake Ontario’s north shore in 50 years.


The majestic creature, whose wingspan is more than two metres, is the national bird and a patriotic symbol of the United States.

The eagles were first spotted in the wilderness area west of Highway 403 in 2009, when the male was too immature to reproduce, said Tys Theijsmeijer, head of natural lands for Burlington’s Royal Botanical Gardens.

“We’ve just been waiting for the immature one to graduate to adulthood,” he said. “In the interim they built a nest.”

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Eggs in eagle-cam nests mean newborn chicks will be in view soon

Wildlife News



It's not a fast-moving show and has only intermittent episodes of sex and violence, but it's one of the few produced-in-B.C shows that brings in viewers from all over the world.

The eagle cams are up and running in five eagle nests, including Sidney, and, to the excitement of Dave Hancock of the not-for-profit Hancock Wildlife Foundation, four out the five eagle pairs have already produced eggs.

"A lot of us get a tremendous amount of egg joy through this and, as scientists, we acquire so much understanding of how the eagles behave," Hancock said.

"We see all the intimate behaviour."

Read the rest of the story here:


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Boat Exhaust Fumes Harming West Coast Killer Whales

Wildlife News


Just 87 orcas remain in the southern gulf between Seattle and Vancouver

By Justina Wheale
Epoch Times Staff

Created: Mar 6, 2011 Last Updated: Mar 10, 2011

THREATENED BY POLLUTION: Engine exhaust from boats may be having significant adverse health effects on endangered killer whales off the West Coast of Canada and the U.S., according to a new study.

Engine exhaust from boats may be having significant adverse health effects on endangered killer whales off the West Coast, a Canadian zoologist has found.

A two-and-a-half year study by Cara Lachmuth suggests that the orcas may be struggling with carbon monoxide emissions five times higher than those found 100 meters (328 feet) from Los Angeles freeways.

Lachmuth used computer modeling and mathematical equations to recreate various scenarios of exposure to pollutants. She then proportionately compared acceptable levels of toxins on humans to whale populations.

“There are different concentrations of pollutants under a wide variety of scenarios that I was able to recreate, and then I used those concentrations to figure out health-wise what that means to a killer whale,” said Lachmuth, of the University of British Columbia’s Department of Zoology.

She found that when cold ocean surface temperatures meet warm air, an inversion layer is created that prevents vertical airflow. This means the air can only move horizontally and keeps the pollutants close to the surface, accumulating right where the whales are breathing.

Read the rest of the story here including quotes by David Hancock:

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B.C. killer whales choking on boat exhaust: Study

Wildlife News



A southern resident killer whale and her calf off Victoria. The creatures are exposed to vessels for an average 12 hours a day during the height of the whale-watching season, the study by zoologist Cara Lachmuth found.

Photograph by: Mark Malleson, Special to Times Colonist

VICTORIA — B.C.'s endangered population of southern resident killer whales face serious health issues from the exhaust emissions of pleasure and whale-watching boats, a study by a Victoria zoologist has found.

Over 2 1/2 years, Cara Lachmuth studied vehicle traffic and atmospheric conditions near the endangered southern resident killer whale population, which currently has 87 members.

What she observed is "worrying," Lachmuth said in an interview Thursday.

"We're right at the threshold of where you would expect to see health effects," said Lachmuth.

"Right now, there are no limits on the number of boats that can whale-watch. If you want to go fishing, you need a permit, but with whale-watching that doesn't exist."

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Bald Eagles Starving After Poor Salmon Run

Wildlife News


Bears also impacted

By Justina Wheale
Epoch Times Staff

Created: Feb 28, 2011 Last Updated: Feb 28, 2011

AT RISK: A pair of bald eagles perch on a tree near English Bay, Vancouver, in March 2009. A weak chum salmon run has left British Columbian eagles struggling for survival. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

As a result of a weak, late-season chum salmon run, thousands of bald eagles that normally feed on salmon in rivers from Alaska to British Columbia are starving and forced to scavenge landfills to survive.

The birds depend on late fall runs of chum, the last salmon species to spawn each year, to carry them through the winter. But the 2010 chum run was much lower than usual, and not enough to sustain

the eagles

through periods of scarcity.



, biologist, author, and founder of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, says the eagles have few alternative food sources this time of year and are in the most desperate situation he’s seen in over 40 years of studying west coast wildlife.

“The alternatives, if the salmon aren’t there, are not very good for the eagles. There’s just nothing else, so they move into the local refuse and landfills. On one day, we had 1,387 eagles at the landfill—they were in desperation,” he says.

About 7,200 bald eagles that descended near Chehalis River in the southwest corner of British Columbia quickly exhausted the salmon supply, Hancock says. Just 10 days later

the eagle

population was reduced to 348 as they dispersed to find other food sources.

He says many eagles have resorted to “stealing” food from gulls and other birds at landfills in greater Vancouver, affecting these species as well. Compounding the problem is an especially cold winter that puts additional stress on their fight to survive.

Read the rest of the story here:

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The Bald Eagle Struggles in British Columbia: Nature's Dump Versus Ours

Wildlife News

By Nick Neely

Photo: David Hancock

One afternoon last week, David Hancock, a biologist, author, and publisher, pulled off the highway to talk to me on his cell phone while making his bald eagle rounds in the Fraser Valley, outside of Vancouver, B.C. He’s been studying birds of prey there, near his home, for 50 years, and this day was no exception, except it’s not so easy to get from A to B, to check your nests, when you’re being bombarded with eagle questions from across the country (and I wasn’t the only one). But Hancock jumped into this year’s story with such enthusiasm you’d never know he’d told it before. This is precisely what I’ve come to expect of those who have made a life of birds of prey.

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