(Washington, D.C., June 27, 2018) Nearly 100 years ago, on July 3, 1918, the United States enacted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to protect migratory birds. Passed in the nick of time, the Act helped restore populations of many birds, ranging from herons and egrets to shorebirds and waterfowl. The original Act was a means of implementing a 1916 treaty between the U.S. and Canada intended to ensure the preservation of migratory bird species.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act — now under unprecedented threat — has played an essential role in the restoration of bird populations across the country, from herons and egrets to shorebirds and waterfowl. Photo of Great Blue Herons by FloridaStock/Shutterstock

“The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been a remarkable success,” said Mike Parr, President of American Bird Conservancy. “The Act's authors responded to migratory bird declines by focusing on the threats of the early 20th century, and they would have been proud to see how the Act has been used to protect birds from modern threats.

“By keeping the Migratory Bird Treaty Act strong, we can build on that conservation success. We can avoid preventable deaths caused by human influences such as industrial development and misuse of pesticides — and ensure that future generations of Americans enjoy the same wondrous spectacle of migratory birds we do today.”

 
At 100, Successful Law is Under Attack

In a legal opinion issued December 2017, the Administration abruptly reversed decades of government policy and practice — by both Democratic and Republican administrations — on the implementation and enforcement of the MBTA. The Act's prohibition on the killing or "taking" of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to “incidental take” — meaning unintentional, but predictable and avoidable killing from threats such as oil pits that trap birds, and tall towers and power lines responsible for many bird collisions. Under the Administration's revised interpretation, the MBTA's protections will apply only to activities that purposefully kill birds. Any incidental take — no matter how inevitable, avoidable, or devastating its impact on birds — is now immune from enforcement under the law.

A coalition of national environmental groups, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, has filed litigation, challenging the Administration's move to eliminate these longstanding protections.

Opposition against the weakening of the Act is also mounting in Congress. Democrats on the House Committee on Natural Resources are holding a roundtable discussion today to discuss potential next steps to counter the Administration and to discuss the benefits of creating an incidental take permitting system.

In addition, all 10 Democratic members of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, calling on him to keep enforcing the MBTA, cited as the country's most important bird conservation law.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this opinion and to cease any corresponding efforts to change agency rules or guidance under the MBTA,” the Senators wrote in their letter to Sec. Zinke. “Instead, we ask that you continue to enforce this foundational bird conservation law as every administration from across the political spectrum has done for more than 40 years.”

In their letter, the Senators call attention to the 100-year history of the MBTA and why it remains essential. “For the 1,000 species of birds protected by the MBTA, the menace of market hunting and the plume trade have since disappeared, but the threats to birds have not,” they wrote. “The rapid industrialization of the country in the 20th century created new threats, as millions of waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds began to die tragic deaths after being trapped in oil pits, electrocuted on power lines, and more.”

ABC and a coalition of more than 500 conservation groups have called on Congress to defend the Act. And, in a remarkable show of support for keeping the MBTA strong, 17 high-ranking officials from previous Republican and Democratic administrations sent a letter to Sec. Zinke opposing the change. "This legal opinion is contrary to the long-standing interpretation by every administration (Republican and Democrat) since at least the 1970s, who held that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act strictly prohibits the unregulated killing of birds," they wrote.

The bipartisan group of signers includes several former Deputy Secretaries of Interior and several former directors of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They agreed on the effectiveness of the MBTA, stating, "The Migratory Bird Treaty Act can and has been successfully used to reduce gross negligence by companies that simply do not recognize the value of birds to society or the practical means to minimize harm.”

MBTA Needed Now to Reverse Population Declines
 

Sensitive to climate change and habitat loss, birds are among our best indicators of how ecosystems have been altered and how well we are doing at mitigating these changes. The news is not good: In the State of North America's Birds 2016 report — an unprecedented trilateral analysis of how our birds are faring across the United States, Canada, and Mexico — data revealed that many of our bird species are disappearing, hastened along by habitat destruction, climate change, pesticides, and invasive species, among other factors. Today, fully one-third of all North American bird species, including seabirds, shorebirds, and grassland songbirds, urgently need conservation action.

“Migratory birds are more valuable than many realize,” Holmer said. “While birds have inherent value, they are also an economic driver, with U.S. bird enthusiasts spending billions of dollars on wildlife-watching equipment, backyard birding supplies, and birding tourism. Even more important, birds contribute to the biodiversity necessary to the health of our planet. They provide essential services to people, from natural control of insect pests to seed dispersal and pollination of our crops.

“Beyond their ecological significance, birds also connect us to our environment and nature in a positive feedback loop needed for human well-being, especially at a time when many people have too few chances to connect with wildlife and the outdoors,” Holmer continued. “Birds exist all around us, easily found right in our own backyards and parks. They uplift our spirits every day with their beauty and song.”

Protecting Birds from Needless Deaths
 

The risk of liability under the MBTA has long provided the oil and gas industry, wind energy development companies, and power transmission line operators with an incentive to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize bird deaths. For example, in an effort to protect migratory birds and bats and avoid potential MBTA liability, the wind energy industry, conservation groups, and the Service worked to develop comprehensive guidelines aimed at ensuring best practices for siting and developing wind projects. The Administration's new policy eliminates this incentive for industries and individuals to minimize and mitigate foreseeable impacts of their activities on migratory birds, putting already-declining populations of our nation's songbirds and other migratory birds at risk.

"Some companies put strong conservation practices in place without needing legal incentives,” said Holmer. “But having the law in place encourages all companies to do the right thing. These changes to the MBTA would take the teeth out of the only law that protects the vast majority of our native birds."

Millions of birds are killed by preventable industrial causes each year. Hundreds of thousands are killed by wind turbines — a number that continues to grow. Millions more perish at associated power lines and towers.

“Because of the MBTA, we have seen steady progress toward reducing sources of bird mortality,” Holmer added. “Best management practices, like covering oil pits with screens, put little burden on industry but reduce the needless deaths of birds.”

In practice, enforcement of the MBTA has only occurred in a few instances when companies failed to adopt accepted industry best practices — and ignored government cautions and requests for mitigation. Only a handful of companies from across the energy sector have been prosecuted and fined, in spite of their known impacts on birds.

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds1).

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PIJAC continues to be concerned about United’s current policy and is eager to work with the responsible pet care community to encourage a revised policy that prioritizes science, animal well-being, and the welfare of handlers and passengers.


United Airlines has recently made substantial changes to its animal transportation policy to the severe detriment of the pet trade.  While their initial change banned the transport of virtually anything except a dog or a cat, they have now published an updated policy which allows for the transport of live fish (including tropical fish), mice and other rodents for laboratory purposes, amphibians, insects (including bees), day-old poultry and hatching eggs, and live animals shipped as food for consumption (including crustaceans and shellfish).

While this may appear to be a reprieve for some segments of the pet industry, others remain deeply affected.  United Cargo will not accept shipments of birds (except day-old poultry and hatching eggs), snakes and other reptiles, rabbits, sugar gliders, zoo animals, or other warm-blooded animals (except as listed under “will accept” above). 

We at the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) have expressed our deep concern over the recent changes that United Airlines has made concerning its animal transportation policy.  The lists of allowed and forbidden animals appear to lack any basis in science, animal welfare, cargo handler welfare, or even passenger welfare.  Instead, it appears to be based entirely on the perceived mainstream acceptance of the transported animal as a family pet.  As an organization with many members that handle, care for and work with these animals daily, we believe that United Airlines is grossly underestimating the popularity of many of these animals and we fail to understand the rationale for banning them.

It is critical that the entirety of the pet trade weigh in on this decision.  Even if your segment of the industry can continue to ship on United, such policies are often adopted by other airlines who make their own changes to them and you could very well be next.  We at PIJAC strongly urge all parties in the pet trade to contact United Airlines and inform them that you disagree with their new animal transportation policy.  Although our link to communicate with United Airlines does contain talking points that may be helpful in crafting your communication, we strongly recommend that you personalize this letter to describe your own situation.  If you or any of your suppliers transport products with United, please share that fact.  Please share this as widely as possible.

Also, please forward any response that you receive from United Airlines to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

(Washington, D.C., March 22, 2018) The $1.3 trillion spending agreement reached by Congress this week contains good news for birds and bird conservation. Legislators increased funding for State of the Birds activities to $3 million, giving a boost to the conservation of endangered forest birds in Hawaii, including the creation of safe nesting areas. Congress also indicated that funding levels for work to support migratory bird conservation will remain at or be set above 2017 levels.

"This agreement boosts funding for critically endangered birds in Hawaii and supports programs essential to migratory bird conservation," said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for American Bird Conservancy. “Our thanks to Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and to Representatives Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), for their support and leadership to restore State of the Birds funding.”

Other positive steps for birds include preservation of conservation programs supported by the Farm Bill, America’s largest single source of conservation on private lands; full funding for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund; and $425 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Greater Sage-Grouse will continue to receive $60 million in conservation funding. However, the species is still exempted from listing under the Endangered Species Act in the new budget agreement — at a time when this iconic species is at greater risk than ever.

"The agreement leaves the Greater Sage-Grouse in peril by eliminating the safety net of the Endangered Species Act,” Holmer said. “Given the renewed threat to priority sagebrush habitat from oil leasing, this rider should be eliminated.”

Forest habitat conservation will see some positive gains under the spending bill. It includes a “fire funding fix” for the U.S. Forest Service, which will prevent over-budget fire-suppression efforts from being funded at the expense of other agencies’ conservation projects.

It also includes an extension of the Secure Rural Schools program that supports sustainable forest management in Northern Spotted Owl habitat, as well as rural development and restoration. However, the bill also features provisions weakening the protection of endangered species in federal forests by allowing development projects to proceed without review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

(Photo: 'I'iwi by Robby Kohley)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

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Talkin' Pets News

March 17, 2018

Host - Jon Patch (The birthday boy today)

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestrial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guest - Dr. Mitsie Vargas, author of Alt-Vet: The Revolutionary Pet Care and Longevity Solution by Dr. Vargas will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 03/17/18 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away her new book

Cat Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

A gift of pure pleasure for the cat lover, Cat Gallery Calendar is a year of enchanting photographs in color and black-and-white, printed to the exacting standards of a fine art book. Each image showcases the beauty, grace, and mischievous spirit of a unique cat: A beautiful tabby exploring a rocky seashore. A wide-eyed black cat peeking out from behind the couch. An elegant Siamese sunbathing by a patch of flowers. It’s a loving, day-by-day tribute to our most beguiling and delightful animal companion.

The Rolex of calendars, the Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar elevates what a calendar can be, incorporating engaging content with the weight, style, and visual richness usually reserved for art books. A sophisticated gift for collectors, connoisseurs, and aficionados—and an aesthetic upgrade for any desktop.

 

Dog Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

 

The ultimate gift for the dog lover: a year of extraordinary canine portraits, in color and black-and- white. A joyous spaniel bounding across an open field. A Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound standing in the falling snow. A Goldendoodle waiting eagerly by the front door for his morning walk. Plus a Shar-Pei enjoying a day by the ocean, a German Shorthaired Pointer with her favorite tennis ball, and a Corgi playing in a pile of autumn leaves. Each image captures its subject in beautiful detail, reminding us why the dog is man’s best friend.

The Rolex of calendars, the Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar elevates what a calendar can be, incorporating engaging content with the weight, style, and visual richness usually reserved for art books. A sophisticated gift for collectors, connoisseurs, and aficionados—and an aesthetic upgrade for any desktop.

The Dogist Wall Calendar 2018

 

Nobody captures dogs like The Dogist, aka photographer Elias Weiss Friedman. Author of the New York Times bestselling book The Dogist and Instagram phenomenon with over 2 million followers and climbing, Friedman has a gift for getting down on a dog’s level and, in a few quick snaps of his camera, finding the indelible, individual spirit of the animal he’s photographing. The result: warm, heartfelt, arrestingly beautiful candid portraits of dogs on the street in all their variety and glory. Now in its second year, with each month featuring a new themed collection of main and supporting images, including Portable Pooches, Dogs of Summer, Besties, Two of a Kind, and more.

Bad Cat Wall Calendar 2018

 

Bad Cat is a rude walk on the feline wild side. Here are cats going rogue in places where they shouldn’t be—in sinks, in toilets, in houseplants. Here are cats plotting escapes, warding off children, scamming their owners, yet still expecting to be spoiled rotten! Sneaky cats, fat cats, naughty cats, bored cats, and—perhaps worst of all— cats plotting revenge for all those costumes they were forced to wear during the holidays. With bonus features such as Bad Cat Beauty Secrets, Least Wanted Bad Cats, Bad Cat Diet Secrets, Who’s Who in Bad Cats, and Bad Cat Early Warning Signs.

Unlikely Friendships Wall Calendar 2018

 

The Unlikely Friendships book series has charmed readers with its tender tales of love between animals of all shapes and sizes. The Unlikely Friendships Calendar features 12 stories of heart-tugging interspecies friendship, each accompanied by a charming, full-color photograph of the pair. A large capybara is groomed by a crew of monkey stylists. A dachshund snuggles up to a hedgehog. A Belgian Malinois and an owl defy expectations and find common ground in play. A calendar that the whole family will love.

Audubon Nature: A Birder's Wall Calendar 2018

 

Audubon Nature is the definitive wall calendar for nature lovers, birders, environmentalists, and travel enthusiasts alike. Here are glorious sites in nature—and the birds that inhabit them—across seasons and locales. Discover the beauty of a Trumpeter Swan gliding in Wonder Lake, Denali National Park. Behold the amazing Dalmatian Pelicans at Lake Kerkini, Greece. Take a peek at the secretive Northern Goshawk sitting among aspens in Dixie National Forest, Utah. Printed on responsibly sourced paper, this wall calendar provides transporting and awe-inspiring views of the great outdoors.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar 2018

 

It’s a yearlong journey of a lifetime, and your expert guide is Patricia Schultz, author of the phenomenally successful 1,000 Places to See Before You Die® travel series. Each month, discover a new extraordinary location, from the Czech Republic to Buenos Aires to Italy’s glorious Amalfi Coast. Exceptional full-color photographs—one large image at the top of each page and smaller ones throughout the grids—are accompanied by detailed trip itineraries, maps, and captivating text that highlights local history, travelers’ tips, and more.

365 Cats Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

The all-time bestselling cat calendar is packed with full-color photographs to feed the cat lover’s obsession. Here they are: the playful, mischievous, and lovable winners of the 2018 Cat Calendar Contest. A gray cat with striking orange eyes. A Ragdoll-Himalayan living the good life on a tropical beach. A patriotic tabby posing with Old Glory. Plus a cat hitching a ride on a donkey, oodles of adorable kittens, the spotted Savannah, and other unusual breeds; trivia—Did you know that when a cat blinks or looks away, it is feeling affectionate?—and cat lover quotes: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”—Edgar Allan Poe

365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

Starring the charming winners of the 2018 Dog Calendar Contest, 365 Dogs Page-a-Day Calendar is the bestselling calendar that provides season after season of poodles romping in the snow, retrievers fetching in flower beds, Rottweilers doggy-paddling through pools, and terriers diving into leaf piles. A Cocker Spaniel basks in the sun. A Lab dives underwater in pursuit of a ball. Plus, meet shiny-coated Dobermans, fluffy Samoyeds, pouty Pugs, mutts of all kinds, and even lesser-known breeds like the adorable and spirited Japanese Chin.

Audubon Birds Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

 

The Audubon BirdsPage-A-Day Calendar is a celebration of gorgeous and diverse species from around the world, photographed in their native habitats. Whether it’s the grace of a swan gliding across the water, the sleek outline of a hunting hawk’s wings, or the striking palette of a painted bunting, each photograph captures the unique spirit and beauty of the featured bird.

Cat Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

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Dog Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2018

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The Dogist Wall Calendar 2018

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Bad Cat Wall Calendar 2018

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Unlikely Friendships Wall Calendar 2018

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Audubon Nature: A Birder's Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/audubon-nature-a-birders-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

1,000 Places to See Before You Die Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/1-000-places-to-see-before-you-die-picture-a-day-wall-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

365 Cats Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/365-cats-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/365-dogs-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price:$14.99 (US)

Audubon Birds Page-A-Day Calendar 2018

Link: https://www.workman.com/products/audubon-birds-page-a-day-calendar-2018

Price: $14.99 (US)

(Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2017) Conserving Greater Sage-Grouse requires more habitat protection, not less. That’s the message conservation groups are delivering to the administration as it considers potentially devastating revisions to the landmark 2015 Greater Sage-Grouse conservation planning initiative. The revisions, if enacted, would come at too high a cost to the sage-grouse and the remaining sagebrush habitat on public lands, sending the future of both the bird and its iconic landscape back into uncertainty.

More habitat protection is needed to conserve sage-grouse. Photo by Warren Cooke“Because of these proposed backward-looking changes and new development plans for public lands in the region, the grouse is once again at risk of extinction and in need of stronger protection,” said Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President of Policy. “The stability and certainty provided to local communities and land users by the federal management plans and other grouse conservation measures are also now at risk of being lost if these changes are put into place.”

Instead of changing direction, the federal government should live up to promises it made in 2015 to ensure sage-grouse protection — promises that formed the basis for not listing the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The coalition of conservation groups, which includes those most focused on sage-grouse protection over the past decade, are gravely concerned about the recommendation made in the Interior Department’s Sage-Grouse Report to roll back those vital protections and eliminate Sagebrush Focal Areas.

“We oppose the administration's plan to roll back these protections, and also oppose efforts to reduce sage-grouse habitat by further reducing protected habitats, reversing adaptive management that occurs when habitat or population triggers are tripped, or eliminating general habitat management areas in Utah,” said Rebecca Fischer of WildEarth Guardians. “It's also appalling that the planning effort is occurring on a state-by-state basis. This ignores the need to consider the species’ needs at a range-wide scale and will result in the failure to apply strong and consistent protections.”

The Greater Sage-Grouse has become a wildly popular and iconic symbol of the American West and its wide-open sagebrush basins. Year after year, sage-grouse gather in the spring at small arenas in the sagebrush called leks to dance, display, and mate. Their mating dance is one of the great natural spectacles of the West.

“The protections which the administration appears ready to eviscerate are essential, not just for sage-grouse but for a broad diversity of wildlife and the health of public lands in the West,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “Sagebrush Focal Areas are the only habitats where the land-use plans even come close to the protections recommended by scientific experts, so at minimum all of the priority habitats should receive this level of protection.”

The groups are urging Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to adopt the scientific recommendations of the Bureau of Land Management’s own science team on sage-grouse. Those recommendations include refraining from fluid-mineral leasing in priority habitats, buffering leks by four miles to prevent any impacts from known disturbances, ensuring that all grazing allotments are meeting science-based standards for sagebrush habitat integrity, ceasing vegetation treatments that degrade sagebrush habitat, preserving winter habitats, limiting disturbances to one per section and 3 percent of each square mile of priority habitat, and withdrawing sagebrush habitats from mining. The agencies’ analysis should preserve priority habitats through a network of areas of critical environmental concern and zoological areas managed to protect sage-grouse, according to the groups.

John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said: “This ill-timed revision of federal sage-grouse management plans, before they have had a chance to work, runs counter to the best available science.”

Instead of balancing development with conservation, the administration has adopted a policy of “energy dominance,” prioritizing fossil fuel development over other uses on western public lands.

“This attack on sage-grouse conservation is part of a larger trend of plundering public lands and resources,” said Michael Saul of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Secretary Zinke’s proposed gutting of the sage-grouse plans reads like an oil and gas industry wish list, and is a recipe for accelerating the decline of Greater Sage-Grouse across the West.”

Photo of Greater Sage-Grouse by Warren Cooke

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.

Western Watersheds Project works to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives, and legal advocacy. WWP works to influence and improve public lands management throughout the West with a primary focus on the negative impacts of livestock grazing on 250 million acres of western public lands.

WildEarth Guardians is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. Guardians has worked for years and continues to work to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse and the Sagebrush Sea so that future generations might continue to enjoy this spectacular species.

NEW YORK – November 2, 2017 – Siestas are key, especially in the fast-paced lives of some of the world’s most active animals. The fascinating sleeping habits of the animal kingdom hint at a complexity humans are only just beginning to unlock. From birds that take micro-naps mid-flight to dolphins who half-snooze while underwater, Smithsonian Earth examines the myriad ways animals sleep with the new animated, short-form series, THE SECRET WORLD OF ANIMAL SLEEP. Narrated by journalist and science communicator Cara Santa Maria, this new series offers a captivating glimpse into the way animals restore energy and get ready for their next day or night on the prowl – all through a series of beautiful picture-book, hand-drawn animations. The premiere episode, SLEEPLESS ON THE SAVANNA, is now available for free at SmithsonianEarthTV.com/Sleep. The five additional episodes will be available on Smithsonian Earth tomorrow, November 3rd. Smithsonian Earth is available on Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and SmithsonianEarthTV.com.

Episodes of THE SECRET WORLD OF ANIMAL SLEEP are:

SLEEPLESS ON THE SAVANNA

The higher up on the food chain you are, the more sleep you get. That’s why prey species like giraffes can only afford mere minutes of sleep at a time, while lions revel in over 20 hours of luxurious slumber a day. Take an eye-opening look at sleep as a survival strategy.

DOZING DOLPHINS

Marine mammals like dolphins need air to breathe, but what happens when they rest? The solution is a fascinating form of half-sleep that allows them to emerge for air without waking up. Dive into the weird world of underwater slumber.

ASLEEP ON THE WING

When birds need sleep, they do it on the fly – quite literally. They’re able to enter a special kind of half-sleep state that lets them rest midair, which is especially important for migratory birds, like the Alpine swift, clocking thousands of miles at a time. Glide into the astounding world of avian sleep.

SLEEPING LIKE A BABY

Owls and foxes are born with undeveloped brains. To grow, they need a special kind of deep sleep known as REM, or rapid eye movement – a state marked by brain regeneration, memory development and a lot of movement. Take an intriguing look into the role of sleep in helping different species develop into adults.

MYSTERIES OF HIBERNATION

Arctic ground squirrels survive harsh Canadian winters through skilled hibernation. Entering a state of controlled hypothermia, their body temperatures drop to 27°F – the lowest ever recorded in a mammal. This suspended animation isn’t sleep exactly, but it’s an equally vital part of their unique survival plan.

STRANGE SLUMBER

All animals sleep – but few do so in exactly the same way. Horses snooze standing up and snakes sleep with their eyes wide open. As for some species of jellyfish, they sleep despite lacking a brain. Uncover some of the more unusual features of animal slumber, many of which still remain a mystery.

Cara Santa Maria is a Los Angeles Area Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, producer and podcaster. She is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria and cohosts the popular Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She is a founding member of the Nerd Brigade and cofounded the annual science communication retreat #SciCommCamp.

Smithsonian Earth is a subscription streaming video service specializing in original nature and wildlife programming shot in stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution that’s available through Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and at SmithsonianEarthTV.com.

Smithsonian Networks™ is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Networks operates Smithsonian Earth, through SN Digital LLC. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel, the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook//twitter.com/@SmithsonianChan">Twitter, and Instagram.

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“America Loves Pets” Study Finds Most Talked-About Pets on Social Media 
To learn more about the relationship between Americans and their pets, TrustedHousesitters analyzed a year’s worth of social media conversation, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (March 2016-March 2017) to identify the most popular pets in each state. Visit the interactive graph to learn which pets are most popular in your state. Key findings include: 
- Californians talk the most about pets on social media
- Dogs hanging out with donkeys, cats nuzzling up with hamsters, budgies perching on the house rabbit and other harmonious pairings received more than 124,000 mentions  
-  The hashtag #crazycatlady has been used nearly 3.5 million times worldwide on Instagram
-  The most popular pet across the United States is the bulldog. However, most popular varied by states—in California and Texas, the most popular pet is the chihuahua; in Maine and South Carolina, it’s the Labrador; in Alaska and Ohio, it’s the husky
-  Nevada’s most popular pet: lizards
-  Cats are the second most talked-about pet in nearly every state, with Persians most popular overall (though, in Maine, the Maine coon is tops) 
 
About TrustedHousesitters.com 
TrustedHousesitters is a global community of pet lovers helping each other travel the world by connecting pet owners with a network of verified pet sitters. Since its 2011 launch in the U.K., TrustedHousesitters has grown into the world’s largest house sitting business, facilitating over two million nights of house and pet sitting globally and saving its members an estimated $218 million in accommodation and pet care costs. The site’s community of nearly half a million members is spread across 140 countries.

 

U.S. Senate to Consider Issue for the First Time

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472

(Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2017) The U.S. Senate will have an opportunity to act to make all new federal buildings safer for birds. This week, Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act (S. 1920) — the first time such a bill has been proposed in the Senate. A version of the legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

https://abcbirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Wood-Thrush_Ryan-Sanderson_U_PR.jpgAmerican Bird Conservancy (ABC) thanks Sen. Booker and Reps. Quigley and Griffith for encouraging the federal government to lead by example in addressing one of the biggest human-caused threats to birds. As many as a billion birds a year are killed in the United States when they collide with glass on all kind of structures, from skyscrapers and office buildings to homes and bus shelters.

Many existing federal buildings already feature bird-friendly design. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill call for the General Services Administration to require new federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.

“While this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs elsewhere,” said Christine Sheppard, Director of ABC’s Glass Collisions Program.

“Now is the time to proactively avoid continued impacts to bird populations from building strikes, which only compounds losses from other threats such as habitat loss and climate change,” said Eric Stiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Audubon. “We applaud Cory Booker for introducing the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act.”

Many species of birds fall victim to collisions. The species most commonly reported as building kills in the United States include White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and Song Sparrow. Several other species of national conservation concern suffer disproportionate casualties, including Painted Bunting, Canada Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Wood Thrush. Learn more about bird collisions and bird-friendly building design here.

(Photo: Wood Thrush by Ryan Sanderson)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

 

Dangerous Pesticides Kill Wildlife, Harm Unique Ecosystems

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7475, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Staff Attorney, Earthjustice, 415-217-2000

(Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2017) On behalf of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice has petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt a statewide prohibition on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the more than one million acres of wildlife habitat under its jurisdiction. “We need to be sure that these lands remain safe havens for birds and other wildlife,” said Cynthia Palmer, ABC’s Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation.

Neonics are a relatively new class of chemicals with the potential to derail California’s efforts to safeguard its unique ecosystems. Neonics are deadly to pollinators and other wildlife, including birds. For example, a single seed coated with neonics is enough to kill a songbird, and exposure to just one-tenth of a coated seed per day during the egg-laying season is enough to impair reproduction. Even tiny doses can cause birds to lose coordination and the ability to fly. Neonics are also lethal to many of the terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates — including butterflies, bees, earthworms, and mayflies — that are critical food sources for birds and other wildlife.

“What’s so stunning about these pesticides,” said Palmer, “is the fact that they can actually exacerbate the pest problems they were meant to solve. By harming pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as natural pest control agents like birds and beneficial insects, neonics are sabotaging the very organisms on which we all depend.”

Europe has enacted a moratorium on the use of neonics, and Canada has proposed a nationwide ban on the most widely used neonic, imidacloprid, given the risk it poses to birds, insects, small mammals, and other wildlife. In addition, many U.S. companies such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, True Value, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, as well as state and local legislatures, are reining in the use of neonics. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned neonic use on National Wildlife Refuge lands as of last year.

“We hope that the California Fish and Game Commission will follow the lead of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and prohibit any use of neonicotinoid pesticides on the important network of wildlife refuges it oversees throughout California, one of the nation’s most biodiverse states,” said Trent Orr, the Earthjustice staff attorney who worked on the petition.

“It’s time for the agencies managing state refuges across the nation to join in protecting our endangered species and other wildlife from these poisons,” Palmer stated. “California has long been an environmental standard-bearer for the other states on everything from auto emissions to building codes. We urge the California Fish and Game Commission to lead the way on pesticides, as well, by adopting a statewide prohibition on neonicotinoid insecticides.”

(Photo: Banning the use of neonics on Califonia's public lands would benefit songbirds such as Horned Lark and many other species. Photo by Tom Grey)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

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