Any day in late August, September, or October, vast numbers of little birds are heading southward during hurricane season. When they fly into one of these systems they have no way of detecting what’s ahead.
You’ve probably heard about the radio-tagged whimbrel story: The bird flew through the recent storm Irene and made it out the other side. They’re pretty tough birds—one of the larger shorebirds. I’d doubt that little warblers and thrushes could do that. There are probably substantial numbers of little migrants that just get taken out during the storm. Storms can also drop a lot of exhausted birds back to some point that presumably they’d left a day or two before.
If you were to choose a route through which to move toxic, highly corrosive, sludgy crude oil, would you place it on the same narrow corridor used by one of the world’s most endangered birds? The Canadian energy company TransCanada did and the Obama administration is on the verge of approving that absurd proposal.
Ode to Martha, the last passenger pigeon One of eastern North America’s most iconic animals vanished forever on Sept. 1, 1914. Now, 97 years later, the passenger pigeon has become an icon for something else: manmade extinction.