The Intersection

Overcoming Avian Bias

Introduction by Sparticus Maximus the Great

Sure, he’s landbound with arguably lackluster plumage, but get past those superficial shortcomings and Chris Mooney is alright… eh, for a human at least.

It was with great interest I read his thought-provoking piece last October on the plight of the marbeled murrelet. Aside from the obvious urgency of the situation, his article brings us one step closer to breaking down avian bias in the blogosphere. So today I introduce Sheril’s post in order to highlight her co-blogger’s brave leadership in taking on mammalism at it’s worst. Despite his concurrent inexplicable interest in pachyderms (ugly, ridiculous, bumbling creatures that they are), Chris clearly recognizes his feathered fans deserve lots of attention–and lots of land. Yes readers, as Sheril writes below, yesterday the heroic murrelet was victorious!


According to E&ENews PM, the Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to move forward with plans to shrink the threatened marbled murrelet’s habitat. Instead, they’ll continue protecting 3.9 million acres for the Pacific shorebird explaining ‘it is not appropriate at this time‘ to revise the designation.

i-f3d02585d5a752b893ebfe5afdc6aa07-juv_MAMU.jpgWhy the change of heart?

It’s possible agency folks simply wanted to protect an extremely cute shorebird… or pressure from publicized disputes over logging and old-growth forests had influence… or conflicts in court over controversial land plans were irreconcilable…

We may never know, but regardless of the motivation, don’t you just love a happy ending?

Then again, Ren Lohoefener, director of the FWS’s Pacific Region added ‘the service may decide to revisit the current critical habitat designation at a later time.’ Still, at least for now, the marbled murrelet will live to dive another day.


  1. #1 Danny
    March 6, 2008

    Where have you been Sparticus? You’re the best scienceblogger in the blogosphere! Write more and you’ll persevere at overcoming avian bias.

  2. #2 pete
    March 6, 2008

    “Sure, he’s landbound with arguably lackluster plumage, but get past those superficial shortcomings and Chris Mooney is alright… eh, for a human at least.”

    compared to sparticus maximus, all humans are plumage-challenged. that’s discrimination 😉

  3. #3 Linda
    March 6, 2008

    Good news for the Marbled Murrelet; perhaps one of my groups, like the Natural Resources Defense Council, intervened.
    It is sooo good to hear from you again, Sparticus. You always make things more interesting. Please write again soon.

  4. #4 Sparticus Maximus the Great
    March 6, 2008

    Congratulations to Danny for recognizing my greatness. Indeed, that is my middle and last name ‘Maximus the Great.’ [Note the repetition in Latin and English for added emphasis.]

    Pete, I admit it is discrimination. If it’s any consolation, I do pity you poor featherless apes.

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