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View Diary: When it comes to Hydrofracking Cows are the New Canaries (55 comments)

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  •  We've had no shortage of (5+ / 0-)

    vultures, ravens or hawks this year in mountainous western NC. Or owls, or eagles. Even though our summer has been really odd - and almost three weeks long (should we expect a winter with real snow?). Then again and come to think of it, they don't frack around here.

    This certainly deserves serious further research, survey documentation, and government attention. Could be that birds of prey/scavengers have simply shifted their pattern to an area with more to eat. But that means somebody needs to be looking for possible associated small rodent, reptile, amphibian and songbird shortages as well. And encourage the public to report any dead raptors and salvage the bodies for autopsy.

    It is likely that the kind of organ and systermic damage being seen in cattle is even more pronounced in the small critters, and all of them drink and/or live in water. For many, the same water the cows are drinking (or from the same source). This could harm raptors and ravens because they'd be eating toxic prey/carrion. But since the smaller critters would die quicker (and suffer reproductive issues), they'd likely be long gone by the time cattle are dying.

    Moles, gophers, field mice, rats, groundhogs, rabbits, prairie dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, voles. Frogs, toads, salamanders, lizards, snakes and turtles. The spectrum of birds normally preyed upon by raptors. If the raptors have gone, these may well be in short supply.

    •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
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      Living where I do, I pay attention to all sorts of things. There is no shortage of amphibians, at least on my place. I have a swampy area and a couple spring ponds and I've been hearing the frogs every night when the temps are high enough. Bullfrogs have been a little quiet lately, but that may be temperature related, or I might have a black snake.

      Certainly no shortage of rabbits, moles, mice or groundhogs! There's a fair number of squirrels, but it's a big hunting area and they wax and wane. Lots of crows. Everything, it seems, is pretty normal except the redtails and vultures... and this year's weather.

      Redtails aren't too much of a concern. I know they'll switch hunting areas when the pickin's get slim.

      But the problem seems to be that, for as many as there usually are around here, no one seems to know much about the habits of vultures. I mentioned that, when I have seen them this summer, I see only one or two and they appear to be young. From my observation they usually hang together in groups - like maybe family groups. These guys didn't know.

      I know to many people they're just big ugly birds that eat dead stuff, but when any species exhibits a change in long-standing habits we need to ask why. Hopefully my bringing it to their attention will cause them to look more closely and ask around.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:12:42 PM PDT

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