United States nature

Articles in ‘United States nature’

When Manhattan was wild

July 27th, 2009

Contribution of birding to the US economy

July 26th, 2009 A report recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2009 claims that a remarkable one in every five Americans watches birds, and that birdwatching contributed $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006. The original report (pdf here) says that birdwatching was worth 82 bilion dollars accounted for 671,000 jobs and reaped in 11 billlion dollars in tax revenue.  The first five US states with greatest birding participation rates were Montana (40 percent), Maine (39 percent), Vermont (38 percent), Minnesota (33 percent) and Iowa (33 percent). The study states that the average birder is 50 years old and likely to be female, with a better than average education and income. California is near the bottom of the list at 15%, a percentage greater than only four other states (New Jersey, Texas and North Dakota at 14% and Hawaii at 10%). Picked up on Wildlife Extra.

American Pika in danger

July 23rd, 2009 The American Pika (Ochotona princeps), a small relative of the rabbit, may become seriusly endangered because of global warming as rising eliminate Pikas from their alpine habitat. The US government may decide to afford them endangered status. Eco Worldly A worrying number of populations of Pikas have already disappeared. They are now believed to be extinct in some areas of the Great Basin mountains of Nevada and Oregon, where more than a third of the American Pika population has been wiped out. A 2003 study showed that 9 out of 25 sampled populations of American Pika had disappeared, causing biologists to conclude that the species is reaching extinction. Because they live in Alpine mountain regions, they are very sensitive to high temperatures, and are considered to be one of the best early warning systems for detecting global warming in the western United States. Because their regular habitat’s temperature rises, the American Pikas move higher up the mountain. Pikas can die within an hour if the outside temperature reaches above 23°C (75°F). Wikipedia (

Photos of hummingbirds in mid-flight

July 23rd, 2009 Ruby-throated hummingbird Some fantastic and rare photos of US hummingbirds in mid flight fron Environmental Grafitti. Image: John C. Stroud

Bear watching in Katmai National Park

July 22nd, 2009

Best US national parks

July 22nd, 2009

Alaska walrus survey raises alarm

July 22nd, 2009 A partial survey of Pacific walrus estimates their minimum population at just 15,164. A 1990 aerial survey estimated the population at 201,039 in the same region, but the count is likely to have missed a number of animals Anchorage Daily News See also: Canada, Greenland to do High Arctic walrus survey The movement of walrus is becoming increasingly important as the Arctic sea ice shrinks (CBC)

Florida pythons to be trapped

July 20th, 2009 The death of Shaiunna Hare, a 2-year old child from Florida in the coils of an 2.5 metre Burmese python has sparked an official crackdown to eradicate the 100,000 of these predators in the state. The Guardian The pythons are also a severe threat to the unique eco-system of Everglades.

How to save the polar bear

July 20th, 2009 New York Times editorial. “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has upheld a Bush administration finding that the Endangered Species Act is not a suitable tool for restricting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatening the polar bear and its habitat. We agree, with this codicil: There are steps Mr. Salazar can and must take under the act — steps that the Bush White House would not — to protect the bear..”

Wolverines back in Colorado

July 20th, 2009 A single wolverine has returned to Colorado for the first time in 90 years. Wolverines used to be common south of Canadian border, but there are now only an estimated 250 to 500 wolverines in the lower 48 states. Wolverines were severely persecuted in the past by trappers who prized their almost waterproof fur, ranchers who killed them with poison bait and developers who divided their range with highways and other infrastructure.  New York Times According to the Colorado Wildlife Divsion “Occasional reports of wolverine sightings were investigated, but wolverines were never officially documented. In spring 2009, researchers with the Greater Yellowstone Wolverine Program tracked a wolverine from Grand Teton National Park south into north central Colorado utilizing satellite-collar technology. The wolverine was the first confirmed in the state in 90 years.”