Masked Bobwhite

23MaskedBobwhite-caseygirard

About Them: These are a subspecies of the Bobwhite Quail often lumped with the Northern Bobwhite. Their distinctions are really only visible in the males, having a mostly black head instead of the white supercilium and lower white face markings of the Northern. Their differences do seem to go DNA deep and they make different choices for habitat than the Northern Bobwhite. Looking for low shrub and grass and semiarid desert. They have only ranged in the South West now in the Sonoran Desert area in Southern Arizona and into Mexico. By the time they were set apart in description for science in the 1800’s their population was already struggling. They were believed to have gone extinct in the 1920’s. Then a small population was found in the 1960’s and only through captive breeding do they still exist in healthy numbers.

Their plight: Cattle herds graze across the land Masked Bobwhite’s use for habitat making it inhospitable for their needs. This grazing removes the grasses and shrubs that the Bobwhites use for cover and finding food, while leaving space for trees to gain space and time to grow too large. Fire suppression has also lead to plants not maintaining the original habitat Bobwhites evolved to work within.

What we should consider: First how interesting that hunters are part of the group hoping to see these birds gain a healthy population. Bobwhites are a favored game bird and it is in the best interest of hunters to have healthy populations. The more people you can get involved to protect and save a species the more likely you will see it succeed even if you don’t agree with everything they do, within reason. You never know where the seed of similarity will go. 

This is a species that uses land between two countries. It does not understand a border wall. As the population does grow and it wants to expand that range are we really going to have a barrier like a wall in its way to continue healthy breeding? Perhaps it would be better to recognize our continued work with Mexico to help both of our countries even in these small instances and see how in larger venues that may be a better path.

What is being done: A breeding program was set up in Maryland to rebuild the population originally in the 1960’s. After a quota of birds were reached they were no longer an applicable species for this location and the breeding program was moved to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. They now also have begun breeding through George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center as well as recently partnering with Mexico at Africam Safari to continue efforts to make a wild sustaining population. Having the Masked Bobwhite on the Endangered Species Act helps to bring in the funds to support these breeding efforts as well as habitat rehabilitation that is very difficult. Fires are no longer enough for some Mesquite Trees, they have to be cut back to bring them to the appropriate number for this range.

How to help: Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://fws.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=637adcdb1ae74448aecbf5d35a4db7d4

https://www.suttoncenter.org/conservation/saving-species/masked-bobwhite/

http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/the-masked-bobwhite/

https://abcbirds.org/article/arizona-masked-bobwhite-habitat-to-get-extreme-makeover/

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Bobwhite/lifehistory

https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/science-magazines/masked-bobwhite

https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/science-magazines/masked-bobwhite

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Miami Blue Butterfly

21MiamiBlueButterfly-caseygirard

About Them: These are a small blue butterfly which used to range the lower half of Florida and now only reside in Key West within the US. They have also been seen in islands of the Caribbean Islands, but are rare even there. They rely on the Grey Nickerbean plant for food as do a few other Blue Butterflies all in the family Lycaenidae.

Their plight: A wide array of issues have caused this butterfly to lose its population. Spraying for mosquitos, habitat loss and fragmentation via human development/urban sprawl, non-native species, such as the green iguana, which eat the plants the butterflies rely on for food, and with such limited populations one bad hurricane can wipe out the remaining colony. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew wiped out the only known population in Key Biscayne. 

What we should consider: When you live in a rural area or any area that seems to have plenty of wildlife to it consider if the plants you see are native. Take a moment to count how many butterflies, bees, or birds you see. If these numbers are low the ecosystem you are around is probably suffering. It is easy to believe things are fine if you see green.

We are in a serious battle with mosquitos. It has become very common for insecticides to be sprayed throughout human populated areas. This does not only harm mosquitos it harms all insects. Insects are the base of the animal food chain. We need to consider alternatives to spraying as our means of controlling mosquito populations.

Do NOT release unwanted exotic pets into the wild. Most places are not safe habitat for the animal, it will most likely die. If it does not it is almost certainly going to cause trouble for the native species.

What is being done: When the latest population was found a year occurred with a healthy enough population to gather some eggs for captive breeding through the Florida Museum of Natural History. They are attempting to release some back into the wild.

The Miami Blue was finally placed on the Federal Endangered Species Act in 2012 after repeated efforts from the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). They were able to get Florida to list them on the State Endangered Species list in 2002. These listings help provide funding for recovery and research.

Capture programs for the green iguanas are being implemented.

How to help: Plant native plant gardens. This helps to mitigate human development by still providing habitat for native insects and animals.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs: https://www.uff.ufl.edu/give-now/?fund_id=019481&appeal=G4SOQA1
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISkD5a57tPE

https://www.naba.org/miamiblue.html

https://www.nps.gov/bisc/learn/news/miami-blue-butterflies-reintroduced.htm

http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/imperiled/profiles/invertebrates/miami-blue-butterfly/

https://emeraldsapphire.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/goodbye-blue-butterflies/

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/miami-blue/

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/miami_blue.htm

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/Miami_blue_butterfly/

http://www.startribune.com/researchers-help-rare-butterfly-take-flight-in-florida-keys/489366911/

https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/kidsyouth/hardwood-hammock.htm

https://www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.asp?tx=Vachfarnpine

https://www.butterfliesofcuba.com/cyclargus-ammon—nickerbean-blue.html

https://www.butterfliesofcuba.com/cyclargus-thomasi—miami-blue.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Casey’s June Beetle

19 CaseysJuneBeetle-caseygirard

About Them: These are burrowing beetles that only come to the surface for breeding between March and June. Males fly while females stay on the ground releasing a pheromone to attract the males. After the encounter the females go back under ground. They live in a very specific location of California, the Coachella Valley just below the Santa Rosa Mountains because the soil is perfect for them. Given their limited population and time above ground not a lot is known about them.

Their plight: The Coachella Valley is in Palm Springs a town that has become a luxury destination and narrow enough that urban sprawl has taken over all of it. These Beetles sadly don’t live on the side that holds Joshua Tree National Park which, I’m sure it why locals would feel frustrated to need to leave any other land of the limited amount they have in the valley for a Beetle. As long as land is protected these Beetles seem to persist, but by the time they got onto the Endangered Species List a very limited amount of acres were left to set aside as critical habitat.

What we should consider: Even beetle’s matter. Generally when you get to a species late like this the land left is near or is somehow more impactful to lower class people. Then the burden of limited land use falls to people with life limits of their own. One of the locations where the Beetles reside is near a mobile home park that is looking for flood relief with a drain pipe being put it. This project is basically stalled because of the Beetle. Is there another pathway to getting needed land for a species survival once we have built up residential and recreational areas? How do you encourage land owners to want to make their land habitable for endangered species? Is it possible in tightly packed residential areas? Native gardens are on the rise would that be enough? Can you make native plant centric golf courses?

What is being done: The Casey’s June Beetle was put on the Endangered Species List in 2011 which allowed Fish and Wildlife to formally allocate land to be saved as critical habitat for the beetle. Now yearly surveys and more research are being done to see what else can help this species recover.

How to help: When you visit a place like Palm Springs, visit the nearest Wildlife Refuge or Preserve and donate a little cash. This is a vote, a check mark saying, people care and it is economical and wanted to save native species.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/6153408817/in/album-72157627464944770/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/34106844045/in/photolist-TXUv32-TXUuYz-TXUuLR-TXUutg-TUhRn1

https://cnlm.org/caseys-june-beetle-surveying-this-elusive-and-imperiled-species/

http://bio227-9.blogspot.com/2015/03/caseys-june-beetle-oscar-rodriguez.html (photo is of a similar beetle)

http://bio227-3spring2015.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-little-burrowing-beetle-caseys-june.html

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=I0TG

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2009/07/09/E9-16282/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-listing-caseys-june-beetle-dinacoma-caseyi

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/210770-Dinacoma-caseyi

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2017/09/14/palm-springs-has-its-own-endangered-insect-and-its-delayed-drainage-project-years/661906001/

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Sonoran Pronghorn

sonoranpronghorn-caseygirard

About Them: Sonoran Pronghorn are one of five subspecies of the Pronghorn. The Sonoran only live in the Sonoran Desert between the US and Mexico.

These are incredible animals that lived through the last ice age. They evolved to live with the animals before that ice age which, caused them develop their unique traits. They can run over 50 mph, this was to get away from Dire Wolves and Saber Toothed Cats. They are able to do this because of their tiny powerful legs and their huge lungs, heart, and trachea that allow for air to flow quickly. They have huge eyes, they are the same size as an elephant’s, these are high on their head on both sides.

Their plight: These are long range migrators. They need vast open space without fences or roads. Because much of their territory crosses ranch land and country border walls they get trapped. As fast as these pronghorn can run they can’t jump, so a fence is a major barrier. They are over hunted. Their habitat is changing as the climate changes. Lack of yearly rains causes the food produced to be scarce. In the past they would migrate to better locations, but they are now hemmed in to these limited ranges.

What we should consider: What are ways we can allow for their migration across the land? Are there ways to implement fences that still make way for the Pronghorn? Given that they managed to live through a the mass extinction, the Ice Age, there is possibly much we could learn from them on how to deal with climate change.

What is being done: Captive breeding programs are in place and they are preserved on the National Wildlife Refuges in the US. There are between 80-160 left in the US (range given to date range within found reference material).

How to help: Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, national land and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/p/pronghorn/

https://www.desertusa.com/animals/pronghorn.html

https://defenders.org/sonoran-pronghorn/basic-facts

https://www.nps.gov/orpi/learn/nature/pronghorn.htm

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170403-americas-pronghorns-are-survivors-of-a-mass-extinction

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2008/2008-05-22-01.html

https://medium.com/usfws/rare-sonoran-pronghorn-are-rebounding-5de9c5343ded

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Kofa/wildlife/pronghorn.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Piping Plover

pipingplover-caseygirardAbout Them: Piping plovers are one of the adorable little birds you see running about in the surf. They spend most of there time on the ground to move about and they are able to blend into the environment so well it can be almost impossible to see them. This is unfortunately part of why they are having such a hard time surviving. Their bodies and their eggs aren’t seen until it is too late.

Their plight: They are trying to share the same beach and waterway space as humans and their pets. These birds used to use most of the states east of the Rocky Mountains, 37 states, for breeding and wintering. Now that space is very limited where it is free of human encounters such as damming, purposeful flooding, dogs off leash running through nests or chasing the birds, car driving on beaches, humans walking through or chasing the birds.

What we should consider: There are many people that would be content to use the beach so they can enjoy watching wildlife. As a birder, I actually try to get off the beaches by 10-11 on weekends because it is so unsettling to watch how most people use the beach. It hurts watching people and dogs chase birds. It is beautiful to watch birds fly suddenly in a flock, but making them do this is not ok. Birds on a beach are resting, some have just migrated 1000s of miles and are worn out. They deserve to use the beach how they want to, it’s their only home. Dogs need to be on a leash when in a public space that is for multiple uses. There are designated dog runs and fenced in fields. Also, why does anyone other than a lifeguard/coast guard need to be driving on a beach?

What is being done: Advocacy groups are doing there best to get beach activities controlled and limited. They are setting up physical barriers between nesting pairs and beach goers. They are helping to create legislation that puts in place formal protections and by defining what is safe beach and coastal land use by humans.

How to help: Protect the dunes and coastal habitats by staying off them and keeping dogs on leashes so, they aren’t destroying habitat or wildlife.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and coastal lands. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Piping_Plover/overview

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/pipingplover/pipingpl.html

https://www.fws.gov/plover/facts.html

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/piping-plover

http://defendersblog.org/2014/07/turtles-tourists-thrive-cape-hatteras-national-seashore/?_ga=2.198515951.1954249476.1538766560-1514208625.1538766560

https://defenders.org/piping-plover/basic-facts

https://defenders.org/success/cape-hatteras-protections-upheld

http://defendersblog.org/2014/07/turtles-tourists-thrive-cape-hatteras-national-seashore/?_ga=2.198515951.1954249476.1538766560-1514208625.1538766560

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/off-road_vehicles/index.html

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/piping_plover/index.html

http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/pipingplover.htm

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]