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Weekly bird news roundup (June 25)

Wayward penguin faces difficult road home

An emperor penguin was found stranded on a beach in New Zealand more than 2,000 miles away from Antarctica, according to The Jakarta Post.

He was found trying to eat sand mistaking it as snow because penguins eat snow when they feel too hot. Doctors are giving the bird, named Happy Feet after the movie, a 50 percent chance of surviving the procedure to remove sand from his throat.

Even if he does survive, however, he’ll still have a difficult time getting home, as reported in the Pocono Record:

While returning him to Antarctica would be the best solution, the Post said, it wasn’t feasible because there was no transport there this time of year. Also, experts warn that large birds can suffer trauma if moved long distances.

Scientist in New Zealand predicts mass extinction within coming years

At a conference today, New Zealand scientist Mike Joy will say mass extinctions of mammals, birds and fish will happen within our lifetime at the island country.

This comes on the heel of the Department of Conservation announcing job and funding cuts. According to Radio New Zealand, Joy says that government is taking too much money and jobs out of conservation efforts, so there won’t be enough work being done to save the thousands of endangered species.

In an article at Stuff, he was quoted criticizing the retroactive effort at conservation:

He criticised the approach of focusing large efforts on a few species, such as kiwi or kakapo. “You wait till they’re at the edge of collapse and then put all this money into saving them. Meanwhile, everything else is falling off the edge of the cliff.”

If there’s not a general focus on protecting all species of birds, mammals and fish, it could be too late to save thousands of those on the brink.

Geese removed from parks near Birmingham airport

In a move reminiscent to what happened in New York City, officials removed hundreds of geese parks in the area of the Birmingham airport in Alabama to prevent against bird strikes.

While it’s important to protect passenger planes from crashing into birds and vice versa, the way they are killing the geese is unproductive.

In the Birmingham News, residents were reportedly outraged at the plan:

Victoria Nichols, an East Lake resident and photographer, said she didn’t understand why the domestic geese and ducks were removed and wondered why the public was not aware of the plan. As a frequent visitor to the park, she had been photographing the birds and their goslings in recent weeks.
Officials say that domestic geese attract migratory ones. We’ll keep watch on how this alarming trend shapes up around the country.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.