renders differentiation between
these crows nearly impossible.
Studies continue, and the
pendulum may yet swing back
toward lumping the northwestern crow with American crow.
But, yes, right now you can still
“count” them both.
Guam Snake Solution?
In the mid-1940s, the brown
tree snake was accidentally introduced to Guam. Until then, this
Pacific island was snake-free, but
the brown tree snake soon became
an apex predator, eating its way
through the island’s bird community. As a result, 9 of the 11 species
of native forest-dwelling birds have
been extirpated from the island.
Five of these were endemic at the
species or subspecies level and no
longer occur on Guam. Two of
these species, the Guam rail and
the Micronesian kingfisher, have
been bred in zoos with plans for
release into the wild.
Since 1999, when scientists
discovered that the household
pain reliever acetaminophen was
deadly to the snakes, researchers
have been trying to find the best
way to deliver this common over-
the-counter analgesic to the snakes
on a large scale in the canopy of
the island’s forests. Placing the
acetaminophen, even with the right
lure, directly on the forest floor
would be nonproductive. Last fall,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture
began dropping specially equipped
dead mice by helicopter over
the forests of Naval Base Guam.
Each was accompanied by a small
amount ( 80 mg) of the generic
equivalent of Tylenol.
Tar-sands Oil Problems
April 20 will mark the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic BP oil accident. There
clearly should be reflections
over the offshore-drilling lessons learned and actions taken
since that awful event, including
consideration of birds and bird
In the meantime, much of the
oil extraction in Canada—where
enormous tar-sands reserves are
virtually hidden in the boreal
forest and wetland region—
proceeds almost unabated. Most of