U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Proposes To List Hummingbird As Endangered

Friday, January 04, 2013
Honduran Emerald
Honduran Emerald
- photo by Greg Homel, Natural Elements Productions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed to list as endangered the Honduran Emerald hummingbird, a species endemic to five small valleys in Honduras and whose population is estimated to be fewer than 1,500 and decreasing.

The announcement follows the completion of a species status review (also known as the 12-month finding) by FWS. The announcement seeks information and comment from the public over the next 60 days on the proposed listing for this species. The action was prompted by an October 28, 2008 petition by two hummingbird conservation organizations and others, requesting the endangered listing. While an endangered listing would draw attention to the plight of the bird and the threats it faces, the practical benefits are limited since the U.S. Endangered Species Act has no force of law beyond U.S. borders.

The proposal specifically requests comments or information from the Government of Honduras, the scientific community, or any other interested parties concerning the bird, including: information on the species’ taxonomy, distribution, habitat selection (especially breeding and foraging habitats), diet, and population abundance and trends (especially current recruitment data); information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land uses on the distribution and abundance of this species and its principal food sources over the short and long term; information on whether changing climatic conditions (i.e., increasing intensity of hurricanes or drought) are affecting the species, its habitat, or its food sources; and information on the effects of other potential factors, including live capture and collection, domestic and international trade, predation by other animals, and diseases of this species or its principal food sources over the short and long term.

The most obvious factor threatening the continued survival of this species is a significant loss of habitat (90 percent) over the past approximately 100 years due to land conversion to plantations, agriculture, and cattle pastures. As of 2012, the population was estimated to be between 350 and 1,500 birds with a decreasing trend. For example, the Honduran Emerald’s habitat formerly encompassed a large extent of the Aguán Valley, a once pristine plain of nearly 1,800 square miles. However, as a result of the agricultural reforms of the 1960’s and 1970’s ninety percent of its original habitat in that area no longer exists in its original form due to the conversion of its habitat to banana plantations and cattle pasture. Much of the Honduran Emerald’s habitat is now on privately owned land and is often planted with non-native grasses for cattle foraging. Now, only a single forest remnant larger than 247 acres that is suitable for this species is known to exist in this valley.

On a positive note, the Honduran Emerald Habitat Management Area has been expanded by about 2060 acres and was reclassified as the Honduran Emerald Wildlife Refuge in 2011 by the Honduran Government. Further, between 2007 and 2008, this species was detected in five valleys of Honduras including two valleys in the Santa Barbara Department: the Quimistán Valley and Tencoa Valley where it had not been recorded since 1935.

The Honduran Emerald is one of more than 338 hummingbird species. It is a medium-sized (average length 3.7 inches) hummingbird with an iridescent green back, iridescent blue-green throat and red bill.
Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2009-0094.

- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2009-0094, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, Va. 22203.


Fishing Report From The TRWA

Here is the fishing report from the TWRA: Chickamauga Reservoir:  Reservoir Conditions: Summer normal elevation: 682.0 feet. Winter normal elevation: 676.0 feet. Current elevation: 681.0 feet. The water surface temperature is 62 degrees. Largemouth Bass: Grass mats and grass edges along large flats seem to be better than other areas. Frogs, buzzbaits, plastic ... (click for more)

2015-16 Sport Fish Regulations To Be Set During October Commission Meeting

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will establish the 2015-16 sport fish regulations during its October meeting. The meeting will be held in Greeneville on Wednesday-Thursday, at the General Morgan Inn.  The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division presented changes in the sport fish proclamation during a preview at the August TFWC meeting. The proposals ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)