David Bittner

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE VANISHING ACT

 

By Laurie Baker

February 2, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--There's a Vanishing Act that's been going on in East County for decades.   Critics say it's a bad show because the actors don't reappear.   They just disappear . . . Forever.

WIND ENERGY COMPANY SUES TO BLOCK RELEASE OF BIRD DEATH DATA TO MEDIA

 

Photo: Hawk at Ocotillo wind farm; photo by Jim Pelley

By Miriam Raftery

December 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A lawsuit filed by Pacificorp, a wind energy corporation, seeks an injunction to halt the Associated Press from obtaining reports filed by the company with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service documenting deaths of eagles and other protected bird species at its wind energy facilities. Pacificorp, which is owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, claims disclosure would cause “irreparable harm” to the company.

STATE REPORT: ONLY A HANDFUL OF GOLDEN EAGLE NEST SITES REMAIN IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

 

Disturbing data suggests Golden Eagles appear on verge of extinction in our region

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –A state inventory of California’ rarest animals, birds and plants reveals that Golden Eagle populations have suffered a precipitous decline statewide, including here in San Diego County.  Statewide, only 141 element occurrences (eagle nests and foraging habitat) are listed in all of California. Locally, the inventory lists just 14 “occurrences” countywide—with only one nest remaining in East County.

“So much for Bittner’s estimates,” wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand with Save the Eagles International told ECM.  David Bittner is the so-called eagle expert hired by major energy companies to justify wind projects locally. Bittner was convicted in federal court and sentenced in August to charges of failing to file data reports with the federal government and illegal taking of an eagle.

Wiegand has previously estimated local nesting sites at 10--a fraction of Bittner's recent estimates.

FEDERAL RULE CHANGE WILL HARM EAGLES, CHARGES LOCAL CONSERVATION GROUP

 



San Diego and Imperial County Eagles Are at Risk

January 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)  -- In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its final decision to weaken a key rule that protects Bald and Golden Eagles, in order to more quickly develop renewable energy.

The Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC), a nonprofit community organization in San Diego’s East County, opposes this rule change stating it would harm eagles, has not been adequately studied, and violates federal law. Two local  wind projects would be affected by the change.

“Eagles symbolize America’s national heritage and deserve more protection, not less. This rule change will make it harder to protect the remaining eagles that San Diegans love,” said Donna Tisdale, POC’s Secretary.

HAWK WATCH PROGRAM CANCELLED IN RAMONA FOR 2014

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2013 (Ramona)--After 20 years, Hawk Watch, a popular wildlife educational program in Ramona featuring  hawks, owls and eagles, has been cancelled for 2014 .  Visitors can still go birdwatching on their own at the Ramona Grasslands  Preserve, but there will be no organized presentations or up-close looks at captive birds of prey.

 Wildlife Research Institute, which ran the program, announced the cancellation on its website with no explanation.  But the decision likely stems from trouble raising funds for the nonprofit after news broke that its founder, David Bittner, was sentenced in federal court  in August after pleading guilty to unlawful taking  a Golden Eagle without a permit and failing to file any data reports for a four-year period on birds that he had banded.

USFW SAYS RAPTOR KILLED BY TRUCK IN BOULEVARD WAS HAWK, NOT EAGLE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2013 (Boulevard) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its examination of a raptor euthanized after it was struck by a semi- truck in Boulevard on November 27. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the species of bird  as a red-tailed hawk, said Jane Hendron, Public Affairs Division Chief with the USFWS in Carlsbad.