The beautiful Juan Fernández Firecrown is surely one of the world’s most isolated hummingbird species. Unlike mainland birds such as theChilean Woodstar, this hummingbird is found on just one far-flung Pacific island in Chile’s remote Juan Fernández Archipelago, more than 370 miles west of the South American mainland. That island, Isla Robinson Crusoe, has been designated anAlliance for Zero Extinctionsite because it contains this species’ entire global population.
The female Juan Fernández Firecrown may not be quite as flashy as the male, but she is still a brilliant dark green above and white below, spangled with iridescent green spots, and topped with an iridescent blue-green crown. (See photo below.) In contrast, the male is a uniform rufous-orange, with a fiery reddish-yellow crown.
The Sierra Club’s Santa Monica Mountains Task Force (SMMTF) was created in 1972. Our initial efforts were to bring attention and support to the Santa Monica Mountains as a great natural, cultural and recreational resource.
The SMMTF has long played an active role in campaigning to purchase significant open space in these mountains. We have worked to elect political leaders who fight to obtain new parkland and who endorse the highest level of protection for natural resources.
The “little devil,” or Black-capped Petrel, is among the rarest and most secretive seabirds in the Western Hemisphere. Extremehabitat losson their breeding grounds was thought to have driven the bird extinct until its rediscovery in 1963. This species remains in danger ofextinction, with fewer than 2,000 pairs in existence.
These seabirds spend most of their lives in flight over open water, returning to land only to breed. One reason Black-capped Petrels remain little known is that their breeding sites are hidden in the rugged mountains of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Chauna torquata POPULATION: 100,000–1,000,000 individuals. TREND: Stable HABITAT: Freshwater tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, including lakes, marshes, flooded grasslands and lagoons.
The Southern Screamer (also known as the Crested Screamer) may look ungainly at first glance, with its big body, disproportionately small head, and thick legs. But this large, gray marsh bird, closely related to geese and other waterfowl, is actually a strong swimmer and flier.
The Canadian government has banned commercial hunting of these vulnerable white pups since 1987 and established strict rules for tourist interaction. That helped to protect the population, but climate change brings new uncertainty to their future. Already the Magdalen archipelago is experiencing stronger storms like Hurricane Dorian, which tore away parts of the islands in 2019. And a diminishing ice barrier no longer protects against winter storms. One study shows that temperatures around the islands have “warmed 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, twice the global average.”
The difficulty in reaching harp seals is not for lack of seal numbers. According to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), they are 7.4 million strong in three population groups (Northwest Atlantic, Greenland Sea, and White Sea/Barents Sea). The problem is retreating ice resulting from warming waters. This ice loss affects both the seals, who pup on the ice to avoid predators, and the humans on Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, who rely on the ice for protection from winter storms.