Division of Bird Habitat Conservation

Birdscapes: News from International Habitat Conservation Partnerships

Editors' Page

AND THE WINNER IS. . . . There is no doubt that people who read Birdscapes know their birds. One hundred thirty-one people from Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean entered the Winter 2003 Issue’s Name That Bird Contest, and all but a handful correctly identified the white woodpecker as Melanerpes candidus. According to Handbook of the Birds of the World, the bird is “sometimes placed in the monotypic genus Leuconerpes,” so we accepted that as a correct answer, too.

The 10th person in the United States to send us the bird’s correct scientific name was Brenda Best from New York. Otte Ottema of Suriname was the 9th and last person to give the right answer for the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the 10th Canadian to answer correctly was Nathan Hentze from British Columbia. We received no entries from the “Other Countries” geographic region. Congratulations to our winners. We hope you enjoy reading your grand prize: Flyways, Pioneering Waterfowl Management in North America. Thanks to all of you who entered the contest and for letting us know that you enjoyed ferreting out the mystery bird’s name.

UPDATE: Ben Ikenson’s article “Taking the Hard Road” in Birdscapes’ Fall 2002 Issue, Species at Risk department, told us of the plight of the Sonoran pronghorn. We have an update.

The Sonoran pronghorn is now running neck-and-neck with extirpation in the United States. Along with range fragmentation and habitat degradation, recent drought conditions have seriously exacerbated problems for this subspecies. The most recent aerial survey, conducted in December 2002, puts numbers in the United States at only 21 individuals, down from an estimated 138 a year earlier.

While 8 years of continuous pronghorn monitoring have shown that dry conditions often result in low fawn recruitment, this was the first year adult animals have died in large numbers due to drought. From the first of June to mid-August 2002, 80 percent of the radio-collared sample of pronghorn died from drought related causes.

There is a recovery strategy in place: 1) new wells and existing wells will be used to provide water for an above-ground sprinkler system to create small areas of forage enhancement; 2) part of the population will be placed in an enclosure measuring about 1 square mile, where they will be protected from predators and provided water and forage (every attempt will be made to prevent habituation); and 3) water will be deposited in temporary structures in key areas.

The 1998 recovery plan is posted at http://endangered.fws.gov, and a draft copy of the 2002 Supplement and Amendment is found at http://arizonaes.fws.gov. Dr. John Morgart, head of the recovery team, can be reached at (520) 387-4989 or john_morgart@fws.gov.

Correction: The caption accompanying the image of the mist-netter on page 27 of the Winter 2003 Issue should have identified the bird as a red-legged thrush and the location as Andros Island.

Front cover: Black tern/© Elinor Osborn
Back cover: It’s the great stare down: ruby-throated hummingbird versus Ned Therrien./© Richard Day, Daybreak Imagery