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eNewsletter June 2015

Birds of Prey Series Revisited with Volume V

Steller's Sea Eagle

Steller's Sea Eagle with it's massive beak headlines "Birds of Prey Volume 5: Falcons, Hawks & Eagles"

 While II was on a small vacation, I've found myself creating some new birds for fun.  These birds magically  turned into a 5th volume of Birds of Prey featuring many of the Falcons, Hawks and Eagles I had to cut to make the first four volume manageable sizes.  This set includes Falcons: Laughing Falcon, African Pygmy Falcon (m/f), Red -headed Falcon and Red -necked Falcon. Hawks: Scissor-tailed Kite, Black Baza, Ferruginous Hawk (light and dark morphs), Rough-legged Hawk, Black-collared Hawk and Red Goshawk. Eagles: Eastern Imperial Eagle, Bateleur, Steller's Sea Eagle and the White-bellied Sea Eagle. It is now currently on sale until July 9th for $17.47 (or less using Reward Points).

Real Birds: Cornell Labs unveils Bird ID Software

by Cornell Labs of Ornithology

Cornell Labs has been working on a new bird photo recognition ID software and want you to beta test it on their website. Just upload a photo, click on the bird’s bill, eye, and tail, and let computer vision help you ID the bird. It currently recognizes 400 common North American bird species. Because it's powered by machine learning techniques, it gets “smarter” the more people use it. Help them improve the accuracy so they can add it to their Merlin Bird ID app. Try Photo ID.

Photo: Blackburnian Warbler by Christopher L. Wood

Congress nullifies the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA)  is a United States federal law, first enacted in 1916 in order to implement the convention for the protection of migratory birds between the United States and Great Britain (acting on behalf of Canada). The statute makes it unlawful without a waiver to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds listed therein ("migratory birds"). The statute does not discriminate between live or dead birds and also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs and nests. Over 800 species are currently on the list. There are some exceptions made for certain "Game" birds for hunting.

This treaty has protected birds for almost a century after Americans felt something needed to be done with the extinction of the most populous bird on the planet, the passenger pigeon. 

This month, the Republican majority in Congress has voted to ban all implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The vote was Yeas: 242 (230 of them, GOP); Nays 183 (173 of them, DNC)).  In addition, they have other pending legislation aimed at weakening both the MBTA and the Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940), Golden Eagle Protection Act (1962), along with the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act (which were brought into law by the Nixon adminstration in 1972-3).

The primary goal in banning the implementation of the MBTA is to allow companies like British Petroleum, Duke Energy and other polluters not to have to pay for the harm caused to birds caused by their spills and negligence.

Enough is enough! Let your lawmakers know that harming birds and our drinking water is unacceptable and doing so will put their political careers on the endangered list.

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