Federal agents kill two federally protected hawks

Yes, you heard that correctly.  While originally brought to my attention by mArniAc with this story, I was glad to see my favorite avian advocate, Grrlscientist, take on the dilemma with this post on her blog.

It appears that the USDA killed two red-shouldered hawks in Florida because they were nesting on a golf course for the rich and intolerant.  They had already removed the birds’ nest and eggs, the very reasons the raptors were being a nuisance to humans in the area: protecting their home and young.

It is quite disappointing that the federal government chose not to relocate the birds as had been done successfully with many others.  Instead, because clueless, witless and selfish humans demanded they be removed by any means necessary because they were an inconvenience to golfers, they chose to shoot them both with a shotgun.

Is this the level of protection that animals can expect when the federal government claims they require protection?  Once they become a problem for intolerant haters encroaching on their natural domain, the government itself will sweep in and kill them despite their protected status?  And all because those with money cry foul and demand, I’m sure based on continued donations, that attention be paid to their unreasonable and selfish mandates?

I am horrified that we displace these animals, declare them protected because of that, and promptly kill them when humans continue to invade their space and threaten their offspring and habitats.  Even more disheartening is the precedent set by the federal government that inconvenience and encroachment is reason enough to kill animals we already threaten and endanger.  Like the death penalty, we tell people one thing and do another, yet “we” become exacerbated when the population continues doing precisely what our officials are doing because of the example and implied approval.

And you wonder why I hate people…

Could you pass the US citizenship test?

This week’s internet quiz is only interesting if you’re from America, although I suspect most non-Americans would score higher on it than their Yankee counterparts given our general ignorance of history, civil service, the law, and a great many other topics.  So, go find out if you could pass the US citizenship test.  I thought it was rather simple but have been amazed by how many respondents I’ve seen who scored less than 100%.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test
You passed the US citizenship test

Congratulations – you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Carnival barking

Grand Rounds Vol 2 (27) is rather incredible this time around.  Don’t miss the best of the medical blogosphere.

Tangled Bank #50 is full of great science blogging.

I don’t normally point these out because I don’t advocate political carnivals (I’d spend too much time covering all the various ideologies were I to do such a thing).  That said, Carnival of the Liberals #9 is actually quite good because it focuses on science and philosophy.  This may be the only time I proffer a political blog carnival, but I think you’ll find this version worth the effort.

The 31st Meeting of The Skeptics’ Circle is quite extensive and very good.

I and the Bird #20 may be birdicious, but this iteration seems a bit lacking — on the presentation level, that is.

Birds in the News 53 once again has some great bird photos, an interesting update on avian influenza, a story from the UK reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and a very intriguing story about an American robin who was blown across the North Atlantic and now lives in the UK.

Friday Ark #80 is simply animalicious this week.

Weekend Cat Blogging 42 has links to some great cat photos.

105th Carnival of the Cats will satiate all your finicky feline tastes.


Today’s gratuitous kitten pictures: kittens in a pot or a handful of kittens.

Residents of East Brunswick, NJ, take their salamanders seriously and, at least based on this year’s activities, it would appear their efforts have been successful.  [via Biomes Blog]

Real suicide notes.  It’s very disturbing, very much like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

If you like viewing the cosmos, you’ll find What’s Up 2006 – 365 Days of Skywatching worth the download as a fantastic daily reference of what’s showing.  I’ve found this to be a wonderful companion to my telescope and astronomy software.

The recent solar eclipse as seen from the International Space Station.  That’s a very cool photo.

And speaking of the eclipse…  Go read No Stars For The Eclipse.  It’s quite humorous if not heretical.

Reebok wants your children to die.

Deep-Sea News has a great article on ocean habitats.

It’s your tax dollars hard at work in the DHS.  They’re subsidizing billion-dollar-profit oil companies in the name of security.

An extensive study on prayer shows it doesn’t work, and in fact often made patients worse if they knew they were being prayed for.  Oops.