Have you been keeping up with the our ever-expanding knowledge of bird evolution? The linked summary is a good place to catch up on these fascinating discoveries and hypotheses. The findings have been, uh… flying off the fossil beds in recent years and they have turned over old certainties.
The barred pattern on the feather pictured, found recently in Green-Wood all by itself, is characteristics of most raptors and owls. That certainly reduces the possibilities. I think it might be from a Red-tailed Hawk but I’m not ruling out an Accipiter.
Such raptors, at the top of the food chain, are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. And Trump’s Interior Secretary’s first official act this week, after he dismounted from his horse? Undoing the ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle in our national wildlife refugees. Against all the science and reason, Zinke served his sociopathic and biophobic NRA masters ahead of the land, water, and citizenry.
Lead’s a particularly nasty poison. And it’s left to pollute the environment by the ton by hunters and fishers, to the detriment of millions of birds and other animals that die from lead poisoning each year. Lead-tainted carrion is the reason the California Condor recovery project is still so iffy. But that’s not all: lead-poisoned meat affects the very hunters who bag it, and their children.
Lead has devastating effects on brain development, cognition, and learning: could this be a perverse way of guaranteeing future GOP voters?