Justine HausheerDuring eight years of rowing, Justine was often distracted during her workouts by the herons, ospreys, and eagles on the lake. Now an intern at Audubon, it's her job to get really excited about birds and the environment. Justine has a bachelor’s degree in English & Environmental Studies from Princeton University and is currently earning her master’s in Science, Health, & Environmental Reporting from New York University. She enjoys hiking, cooking, and picking up strange rocks. Follow her on Twitter @justinehausheer.
Justine E. Hausheer's blog
One of the many winged residents of the Center for Birds of Prey. Photo credit: Justine E. Hausheer
Here comes Trouble. He’s perched on Matt Smith’s arm, cocking his head left and right as the summer cicadas buzz high in the oaks. His eyes are a fierce yellow, the plumage on his head and tail is a vivid white, and the feathers on his back and wings are a deep, glossy brown. Suddenly he breaks into a round of flapping, losing some of his characteristic avian grace as he lurches between wingbeats. After a few seconds Trouble quiets down, cocks his head, and shoots an imperious glare in my direction.
Trouble the bald eagle is aptly named, for his school bus-yellow bill almost landed him in big, big trouble. The top and bottom curves of his bill cross abnormally, instead of fitting neatly together. He would have died without human help.
A federal judge just signed a potential death warrant for the straggling population of endangered right whales. On September 6 the judge gave the U.S. Navy the go-ahead to build an undersea warfare training range close to the right whales’ only known calving ground in North Florida. The facility will inundate the surrounding waters with sonar, which has disastrous effect on whales and other marine mammals.!--/end tags-->
It happens every year: a handful of unsuspecting national park tourists don’t survive their vacation. In California’s Yosemite National Park, bad weather, deceptively swift river currents, and steep, perilous trails all pose risks to the nearly four million people that visit the park each year. But this summer visitors to Yosemite face a more unusual threat—the rare and deadly hantavirus.!--/end tags-->
Update: On August 31 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the final delisting rule for Wyoming gray wolves is approved. The state’s wolves are considered officially recovered under the Endangered Species Act and will no longer receive protection. The state will officially take over wolf management on September 30. Wolf hunting within the designated Trophy Area will begin the next day, and the state has approved a seasonal harvest of 52 wolves.!--/end tags-->
Footage from NASA’s Landsat satellites shows a unique overhead view of the infamous Mount St. Helens volcano. The time-lapse sequence documents the immense scale of destruction and the remarkable recovery in the three decades following the 1980 eruption. Collected by four different satellites, these images document the volcano and surrounding forest beginning just before the eruption. (Vegetation is shown as red in the first few images.)!--/end tags-->
When we think of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, we remember slicks iridescent oil lapping against the rugged, pine-bordered beaches. We remember shorebirds and sea otters struggling helplessly to rid themselves of the toxic sludge. We remeber the disbelief, the outrage, and the heroic effort it took to mitigate the damage.
But few remember what happened to the ship that lent its name to the disaster. Twenty-three years after the spill, the Exxon Valdez’s story is finally finished. A July court ruling decided that the ship will be dismantled for scrap metal in an Indian ship-breaking yard.!--/end tags-->
The wind blows constantly across Florida’s Merritt Island, carrying the scent of Atlantic salt into the scrubland and slash pines. The dense palmettos are buffeted together, their rattle adds to the roar of the wind, the scream of the ospreys, and the distant sputtering of motorcycles. Then the low roar is broken by a flash of blue and a bright, rasping call. Perched on a thin oak branch above the palmettos, a jay sways in the wind. He twitches every few seconds, peering around as he shrieks a warning.!--/end tags-->