May 2021
moss ball oregon USFWS


Almost two months after invasive zebra mussels were discovered in imported “moss balls” (actually algae) in a Seattle PetCo store, federal and state agencies are still trying to track the Trojan moss balls and keep the mussels out of vulnerable water bodies, including California’s. So far, contaminated moss balls have been found in 46 states (Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Hawaii are the exceptions) and most of Canada’s provinces. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has issued detailed guidance for getting rid of the moss balls, summarized as “Destroy, Dispose, Drain,” and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has followed suit.  The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Customs and Border Protection, and the US Geological Survey are also...
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northern harrier-hull lab-UC Davis


Northern harriers, long-winged rodent-hunting hawks, make impressive migrant journeys. Research by UC Davis’ Hull Lab sheds new light on these journeys. Harriers are a familiar sight in California’s wetlands, especially in winter. Researchers captured fifteen female harriers–ten in winter, five in spring–in Suisun Marsh and equipped with 14-gram GPS backpack transmitters, too heavy for use with the smaller males. Telemetry data from seven of the ten winter females revealed migrations of up to 600 miles, to nesting sites from the San Joaquin Valley to Washington State and Idaho.  The eighth, nicknamed Blanca for her pale yellow eyes, flew through British Columbia and Alaska all the way to the Arctic tundra, a 7,000-mile round trip that set a distance record for...
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Photo of bird watchers by Rick Lewis

Three Great Migration Stories -Tracking the Birds

Like water rains down and flows, spreads and seeps through an Estuary, touching the land along its path, so too do birds migrate across our planet.  ESTUARY loves a good bird story, and our reporter Joe Eaton writes most of them with great care for both birds and words, while photographer Rick Lewis always has his lens aimed at the feathers flying overhead or dipping in the water (see above). Read three great migration stories ….
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