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One last go-round for Eskimo Curlew

Via DC Birding Blog

The US Fish & Wildlife Service announced this past week that were going to be making an effort in the coming year to seek information about and consider all recent reports of the Eskimo Curlew in order to make a formal decision as to whether the species should continue to be classified as endangered or whether it should be formally designated as extinct

The wildlife inquiry, to be conducted by the service's Alaska scientists, is the first such formal review of the Eskimo curlew under the Endangered Species Act, Woods said. The bird was listed as endangered prior to passage of the act. such reviews are typically completed within 12 months.

Brendan Cummings, senior attorney with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, said he hopes the bird continues to be listed as endangered and not written off as extinct.

Continued listing will cost little and could help protect far-north habitat home to other birds and wildlife, he said.

"While I have my doubts, I think it would be premature to close the coffin lid on the species," Cummings said.

Cummings makes a interesting point as to the importance of encouraging the protection of Alaskan (and for that matter Canadian) tundra, but one hopes that justification for conservation is not so flimsy as to be dependent on the presence of a species not convincingly recorded in nearly 30 years.  In any case, barring a sighting that would arguably be the most exciting bird record in several decades, this year will likely see the book closed for the final time for Numenius borealis.

A sad, but perhaps necessary, moment, and hopefully one not in vain.  There's certainly no shortage of birds that need help right now.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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