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Archive for the ‘Alabama Conservation’ Category

Audubon Christmas Bird Counts will be held throughout Alabama and the rest of the nation in the coming weeks, an annual event almost 120 years old that helps with research data-gathering and getting folks oudoors.

The bird counts began as part of an effort to tally and watch trends during a time of heavy commercial hunting. Due to demands for meat in restaurants and plumage for women’s apparel — most of both coming from the biggest cities of the nation — commercial hunting was wild and untamed.

sandhill-crane-fws

Sandhill cranes are among the most popular species spotted at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in north Alabama during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. These stately birds migrate each year and are growing in number thanks to conservation efforts. (Photo: USFWS)

Between a great conservation movement of many people, the formation of state wildlife agencies, federal bird treaties and other events including the Audubon bird counts, regulations, limits and controls were imposed. The tides shifted and today one part of the conservation success story of the 1900s still continues.

In Alabama, you can find several Audubon bird counts throughout the state. One of the most popular, and one I’ve attended, is on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. It’s based at the refuge visitor’s center in Decatur but volunteer counters visit property on the refuge, Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area and other sites.

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Southeastern Bat
This southeastern bat was confirmed to have white-nose syndrome. (Photo: Dottie Brown.)

Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome (WNS) in the southeastern bat (Myotis austroriparius) for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease. 

The diseased bat was found in Shelby County, Alabama, at Lake Purdy Corkscrew Cave by surveyors from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Nongame Program; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Alabama Ecological Services Field Office; Ecological Solutions, Inc.; and the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.

The cave is owned by the Birmingham Water Works and managed by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. The conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting cave and karst environments across the Southeast through conservation, education and recreation. 

WNS in the southeastern bat was confirmed in the laboratory by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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