Spokane Audubon Society
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                                          FAIR TRADE? CORN FOR FALCONS?


Across the border of

Texas, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexicothere is a population of Aplomado Falcons, the last remnant of the larger population that extended northward and eastward into the U.S.   In the 1990s there were about 35 pair but a long drought reduced those to 25 pair by 2005.  When rains finally came they were ready for a comeback.  However, in 2006 farmers began buying up grassland from ranchers and converting them to irrigated cropland.  The push to grow corn for bio-fuel has created a sharp rise in the price thus a rush to convert native grassland to irrigated corn.  If the trend continues and the ranchers agree, the falcon population in Mexico will be lost altogether.  Tragically, the wells the farmers are drilling in the Tarabillas Valley are not sustainable over the long term according to studies by the Mexican government hydrologists.  By the time the wells run dry the falcons will long be gone.  All the more reason to support the Peregrine Fund’s Aplomado Falcon restoration sites in West Texas

 

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CANADIAN THREAT TO WHOOPING CRANES AND OTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES: 

 

Canadahopes to profit to the tune of $2.4 trillion between 2010 and 2030 by excavating their Albertatar sands which contain oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia . About half of our migratory birds fly north to nest in Canada ’s boreal forest which happens to lie above the tar sands.  The excavation of the tar sands could reduce the region’s migratory bird population by almost half, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian environmental groups.  They estimate that over 30 to 50 years the excavation will reduce bird populations by 6 million to 166 million, including several endangered and threatened species.  The world’s only natural breeding ground for whooping cranes lies north of the Alberta tar sands and the Athabasca River which feeds the cranes’ wetland habitat and flows north through the sands.  The president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers thinks the environmental groups misrepresent and exaggerate the environmental impacts.  The mining of the gooey crude oil destroys habitat, dries up and contaminates wetlands, creates large toxic tailing ponds that can entrap resting waterfowl.

 

 


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