As Ducks Die in OC, Are Gnatcatchers Next?

California-gnatcatcher_200.jpg
Small but deadly to land developers.
Readers of the Weekly before there was a Weekly may recall the California gnatcatcher, a cute little bird who managed to stop development in its tracks in Orange County in the early 1990s, cause Donald Bren to forever be saddled with a menacing Mr. Burns squint and, if memory serves, carve out future right-wing radio blabberer Hugh Hewitt's early career as a mouthpiece for Big Pavement.

Anyway, there's a move afoot to no longer protect via federal law the small songbird--that's the gnatcatcher, not Hewitt. Meanwhile, mallard ducks, who no one wants to protect unless it's from the fork across your table at Peking Pete's, are falling like, uh, dead ducks in Lake Forest.

Has the whole world taken crazy pills?

Pacific Legal Foundation, the Sacramento law group that opposes all that's pure and wholesome, has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "delist" the gnatcatcher as a threatened subspecies. That's, of course, the same douchey law firm that successfully sued to remove the bald eagle from Endangered Species Act protections years ago.

gnatcatcher-habitat-in-oc-map_ramas.org.jpg
Ramas.org
OC's gnatcatcher habitat
States a Pacific Legal Foundation press release about the suit that you could imagine being read out loud by Rick Perry, protection of gnatcatcher's coastal sage scrub habitat under federal law is an example of "unjustified, job-killing regulations."

The protected habitat for the gnatcatcher currently stretches across 197,000 acres of land in six Southern California counties. The foundation's suit was filed on behalf of Riverside County landowners, a San Diego County homeowner who could not subdivide her land because of gnatcatcher protections and a coalition of labor, business and agriculture interests in Santa Barbara County.

(Sidebar: Has anything good ever come from a coalition of labor, business and agriculture interests? Just asking.)

What's not mentioned in the suit are estimates that the gnatcatchers, which only grow to 4 inches long, have lost 90 percent of their habitat to condos, hotels, TJ Maxxes and other stucco mounds. But Pacific Legal Foundation has an answer for that anyway, maintaining "new science" shows a healthy population of the California gnatcatcher's genetic relatives live in Mexico so there is no need to protect the silly little birds here in Alta Cali.

Do you suppose if they plowed your house into a California Pizza Kitchen on grounds that plenty of humans reside in TJ that you and Barbara Coe would finally see eye to stink eye?

mallard-duck.jpg
Spare the bread.
As moves are afoot to kill off one species of bird, more than 30 mallard ducks have recently been found floating dead in Lake 1, Lake 2, Village Pond Park and the twinkling waters of Forest Gardens Mobile Home Park in Lake Forest.

Orange County Animal Care has picked up some dead birds, while sickly ones have been taken by residents to the nonprofit Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach. Care center officials confirm that the ducks they have seen exhibit symptoms of botulism poisoning.

Some residents fear the ducks are dying because of people feeding them bread, despite signs warning folks against it. Besides creating pollution, overcrowding and poor nutrition, bread meals have been linked to a form of botulism. Hot weather and high amounts of algae in the water also contribute to the growth of botulism, so the mallards could be getting even higher, deadly doses.

Of course, that's what we get for manufacturing nature in planned communities. New science would dictate we pave over those damn dead mallard attractors. Surely there's plenty of live ones to make up for 'em south of the border.

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13 comments
20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Okay, this one is personal.  Two years ago, I found a beautiful 13 acre lot in SD that I couldn't buy because this focken bird restricted where a house could be built.  Stoopid bird. 

mitch young
mitch young

Once again, where do you open-borders progressives want everyone to live? 

Or heck, I'll even come at it the other way -- you think that the overabundance of 'resorts' that have popped up in South Orange County might have something to do with the ready availability of labor that has little to offer an advanced industrial economy other than a good work ethic while making beds, cleaning toilets and trimming shrubs? 

With mass immigration, you simply have to say goodbye to open space and good wages for the less 'book learning' inclined.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Cry me a river. You wanted to build on what precious little open space is left in this state and couldn't because it's (gasp!) already home to a protected species. There are so many homes built already with nice lots...why not buy one of those?

MeToo
MeToo

"Once again, where do you open-borders progressives want everyone to live? "How about your house? You seem to have all the answers. There is plenty of existing places for people to live without paving over what open space we have left. If it were not for that pesky aversion white folks have to living in the same neighborhood as Blacks and Hispanics that is.  

909Jeff
909Jeff

Because fish.... that doesn't make anyone except the Realtor any money!  I'm sort of with you though with record numbers of foreclosures go pick up a previously enjoyed spot for a song, otherwise people also need to ultimately realize you cant stop progress.  Eventually homes will be built there all we are doing is prolonging the inevitable 

mitch young
mitch young

Uh, do you want that family immigrating from Zacatecas to actually live *in* my house (apartment, in my case). 

909Jeff
909Jeff

All I can say is fight the good fight I lived in HB from.... well I wont give dates but when I was a kid for about 8 years and we used to go on field trips to the wetlands I'm glad they remain but not completely untouched... As far as the land next to Central park, didn't there used to be oil wells there about 20 years ago?  If its the land I remember then it shouldn't be suitable to build on anyways lest you end up with 50 forms of cancer. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

I would rather "prolong the inevitable" than roll over so a few more rich people can build on pristine wilderness...and then complain about the wildlife in their back yard! But consider this...

I live in Huntington Beach where some capitalist pigs wanted to dredge the Bolsa Chica wetlands and build a marina in its place. Vigilance on the part of environmentalists and citizens alike helped to save those wetlands...and scaled back the number of homes slated to be built on the upper mesa. Now some fools want to build a senior center right by Central Park on some open land when I'm sure there are other buildings/spaces to build available...but that was a proposal approved by the voters (sigh).

909Jeff
909Jeff

I was listening to Rome on my computer when you posted that.  I actually remember that when it was on!  Classic!  But at the same time everyone craps on someone else... The 951 is to the 909 what the 909 is the the 949. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Itsactually too late! the Diamond bar flood gates are wide.Which I guess is a good thing since Asians and Mexicans don’t really mix... Imean who would you rather have in your neighborhood Doctors and random Mathematiciansor the gardeners? However in keeping with the topic the Local Duck populationat the parks has been going down. coincidence? I think I'll go check the new 99 ranch that just opened up and find out if the peking duck is "Locally sourced".

I JOKE PEOPLE! I JOKE!  I'm sure Gustavo will still come after me!

P.S. Davy Crockett lost at the Alamo... Run dude!

mitch young
mitch young

LOL. But someone has to hold down the fort here, or else Santa Ana will be coming after you. I'm like Davy Crockett at the Alamo!

909Jeff
909Jeff

Mitch,

I fled the overinflated housing prices and fake ass people of south OC a few years ago and settled in a little garden of eden known as the 909... The only thing protected out here is Natty Ice, flat billed trucker hats and neck tattoos. Come on out people we need the tax revenue to widen the 15 so we can get to the Fontana raceway faster!

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