Audubon to Send Field Guide to Secretary of the Interior

Lauren Braden LaurenB at
Thu Sep 19 10:05:28 PDT 2002

Can someone forward this to Birdchat? (I am not on it).

Interior Secretary Norton
Misinformed on Forest Birds and Fire

Audubon to Send Field Guide to Secretary of the Interior

The National Audubon Society is shaking its head at an editorial defending
the President's misguided fire plan by Secretary of the Interior Norton,
which appeared in the Tuesday edition of The Washington Post.

In her op-ed, Secretary Norton argued that America's environmental laws
should be suspended in order to allow widespread commercial logging in
untrammeled parts of the National Forest system. Her rationale:
"White-crowned sparrows, western bluebirds, Rufous hummingbirds,
white-headed woodpeckers, Lewis's woodpeckers and other forest birds
historically common to the West are being pushed out of many forests. Their
problem isn't too few trees, it's too many trees."

Unfortunately for Secretary Norton, many of the species she names are not
even forest birds.
White-crowned Sparrows, Rufous Humming birds, and Western Bluebirds, for
example, are more likely to be found in a garden, orchard or farm field than
they are in a forest. Other species, such as Lewis's Woodpecker, will not
nest around the kind of human disturbance caused by logging, but benefit
tremendously from fire as insects, upon which they feast, move into scorched
timber areas.

"Advocating for increased logging in America's wild forests in order to
improve habitat for non-forest bird species is bizarre," says Bob
Perciasepe, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the National Audubon
Society. "Clearly, the Secretary and her staff need better access to basic
bird conservation material, so we are sending over an Audubon Society
handbook on western birds to help."

The National Audubon Society has been at the forefront of American bird
conservation for over 100 years, and is firmly opposed to the Bush
Administration's proposal to engage in wholesale logging in areas far from
human settlement. Audubon agrees with Forest Service research that
concludes that the best way to protect lives and property in the American
West is to remove small trees and brush adjacent to homes and communities.
This is the kind of forest "thinning" that addresses a real problem, and it
is in marked contrast to the kind of commercial logging being proposed by
the Bush Administration.

Fast Facts on Five Birds

Named by Interior Secretary Gayle Norton

* White-crowned Sparrows are common birds, breed in high mountain
areas of willow thickets, wet meadows and along watercourses. It is a
species tolerant of human activity and has adapted to wintering in
residential areas and parks. Its normal habitat is a patchwork of bare
ground, shrubs, conifers, and water. For more information, see: <>
<> and

* Rufous Hummingbirds are found in every state of the U.S. except
Hawaii. These long-range migrants depend on profusions of flowers in order
to feed, and are normally found in gardens, orchards and burned-over areas
where flowering plants can be found in abundance. Again, this is not a deep
forest bird. For more information, see:
<> and

* Western Bluebirds: The Western Bluebird is dependent upon savanna
and grassland habitats that require periodic fire for maintenance. The
preferred habitat for the western bluebird is open grassland, farm or
rangeland with sufficient tree and shrub cover for nesting and perching.
Western bluebirds also occupy oak woodland, pine parkland, and cleared areas
within forest stands and transition zone forests. For more information,
see: see:

* White-headed Woodpeckers depend on mature old-growth ponderosa
pine forests for nesting sites and are harmed by selective logging, which
removes these trees from the forest. Poor habitat for White-headed
Woodpeckers includes previously logged land where thick secondary growth
reduces seed production. For more information, see:
<> and

* Lewis's Woodpecker: Lewis's Woodpeckers depend on commercially
valuable large trees and snags and typically breed in burned forest areas
with heavy insect infestations. Lewis's woodpeckers are sensitive to human
disturbance at nest sites and conservation of this woodpecker requires
restrictions on commercial and recreational timber cutting and development
(roads, trails, campgrounds) in areas with known nest cavities." For more
information, see:
<> and

Kristen America McClure Berry
National Audubon Society
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
Office: 202.861.2242
Fax: 202.861.4290
Cell: 202.549.1032
"The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea" Isak Dinesen

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