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Archive for January, 2009

Government lets unapproved genetically engineered crops enter food supply

More from the Jan. 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists Food & Environment News Roundup:

AGENCIES REBUFF CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS ON ENGINEERED CROPS

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, criticized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allowing unapproved genetically engineered crops to enter the food supply.
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Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009
Under: Genetically engineered crops, Government | No Comments »

Bush takes one last shot at killing wolves

Just in time to inflict a parting blow to gray wolves before the Bush administration bites the dust, on Wednesday (Jan. 14) — for the third time — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections from these regal predators in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes regions.
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Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
Under: Endangered species, President Bush, Wolves | 1 Comment »

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin strikes again

I just received this note from Kieran Suckling, executive director, Center for Biological Diversity, about what Gov. Sarah Palin wants to do with Alaska’s endangered beluga whales:
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Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2009
Under: Beluga whales, Endangered species, Governor Palin | No Comments »

Poultry trucks spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria to cars behind them

January 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists Food & Environment News Roundup:

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that antibiotic-resistant bacteria from open-air poultry trucks can spread to cars on the road behind these trucks.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Under: Antibiotics, Bacteria, Chickens | No Comments »

Are these little screech owls cute, or what? Nest boxes really work!

Screech owl nest box. Photo by Carol Meyer, Galaxy Press, Concord, Calif.
screech nest box1

On Jan. 8, S. Sprague of Concord wrote my column, wanting to know if any of my readers have had success using screech owl nest boxes?

Yesterday, I received this note:
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Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Under: Nest boxes, Screech owls | 3 Comments »

Turkey vultures take sun baths to clean their wings

Vultures sunning themselves. Photo by Jim Klent, San Leandro
Vulture Wings

I’ve been getting reports from people who see turkey vultures perched in trees or standing on telephone poles with their wings spread and wonder what’s going on.

They are sunning themselves to clean their wings.
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Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2009
Under: Sun, Turkey vultures | 5 Comments »

Concord Naval Weapons Station: Last chance to have your say on open space

Spring in the open spaces by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.
open space1

I just received this copy of the Save Mount Diablo E-News from Save Mount Diablo:

Thanks to all of those who supported our end-of-year campaign. We surpassed our goal and are energized to start another year preserving natural lands — for example continuing our efforts on the Concord Naval Weapons Station. We hope to see you at the Concord City Council meeting or at one of our events on the mountain.
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Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009
Under: Concord Naval Weapons Station, Mount Diablo, Open space, Save Mount Diablo | 1 Comment »

They’re BACK!

Robin eating pyracantha berries. Photo by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, Calif.
robin berry1

Dear Gary:
They’re here!

Saw flocks of noisy, berry-eating robins in south Walnut Creek today!
Brian, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Under: Pyracantha berries, Robins | No Comments »

Cat uses human “facilities” on her own, without training. Does she flush?

cat uses toilet

Dear Gary:
My Siamese cat, Saki, started using the toilet on her own. I have never heard of a cat doing this without training. I have two separate litter boxes that are constantly cleaned, so I can’t figure this out.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Under: Cats | 14 Comments »

Sick pelicans causing concern. Odd behavior is a mystery.

Pelican landing. Photo by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, California
pelican01

Aquatic bird specialists at International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calif., have been receiving reports and admitting pelicans exhibiting odd behavior. Their sister facility in Los Angeles is also seeing an influx in these ailing birds.

“As wildlife rehabilitators, we’re often the first group of people to see a trend developing. We’re the first to notice unusual behavior or illnesses in a population because we’re on the front lines, receiving calls from the public. So, with these pelicans, we know something is going on, we’re just not sure what it is,” said Jay Holcomb, executive director of International Bird Rescue.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Under: International Bird rescue research Center, Pelicans | 3 Comments »