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Posted Thu Sep 1 2011: from Scientific American:
Newly Discovered Hawaiian Bird Could Already Be Extinct
Here's something amazing: a new bird species has been discovered in the U.S. for the first time since 1974. Unfortunately, the discovery wasn't a live bird. It was actually a museum sample collected in 1963, and the scientists who discovered it fear it may already be extinct or threatened with extinction. The specimen was collected on Midway Atoll nearly 40 years ago, at which time it was identified as a little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis). But Peter Pyle, an ornithologist at the Institute for Bird Populations in Marin County, Calif., examined the sample several years ago while assembling a monograph on Hawaiian birds and thought it might be another species, the Boyd's shearwater (P. boydi). But even that assessment didn't seem right to Pyle, since the sample had a shorter wingspan and tail than the Boyd's.... The discovery of this new species reveals less information than is needed for effective conservation, unfortunately. No one knows where the birds live or breed, how many there are, or what could be done to preserve them.
[Read more stories about: sixth extinction]
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