Officials in the Florida panhandle looking to build a $330 million airport not far from where Geoff Hill has been searching for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker have removed the bird from their list of concerns. They had to cool their heels while officials from the FAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies tried to determine whether the planned Panama City/Bay County International Airport would affect the bird. But the answer, we learned this week, is apparently no. The hardhats still have to wait for the Corps of Engineers to assess the impact the airport might have on one other minor thing... what was it? Oh, yeah, wetlands. But that didn't stop them from saying "earthwork construction" would begin in January and that all construction would be done by November or December 2009.
A Wilson's Phalarope put on a show in
Cape Town, South Africa, far, far away from its usual breeding grounds. The bird, a female, was only the third record of the species in
Cape Town and the 15th in southern Africa. Whooping Crane No. 309, a four-year-old female known to Operation Migration officials as a "bit of a traveler," turned up in Ottawa, far from Wisconsin, its intended breeding grounds. The bird was one of five cranes that spent the summer of 2004 in Michigan and has also gone sightseeing in southern Ontario, Vermont, and New York. And Sen. Tom Coburn, a nobody from Oklahoma, blocked a resolution to honor Rachel Carson, a 1952 National Book Award winner, a 1980 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and one of the 20th century's most influential people, on the 100th anniversary of her birth (May 27). Way to go, Tom! Now you're somebody! -- C.H.