Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power.
The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci
The Coast Miwok are an indigenous people that was the second largest group of Miwok people. The Coast Miwok inhabited the area of modern Marin County and southern Sonoma County in Northern California, from the Golden Gate north to Duncans Point. The Coast Miwok included the Bodega Bay Miwok from authenticated Miwok villages around Bodega Bay, the Coast Miwok spoke their own Coast Miwok language in the Utian linguistic group. They lived by hunting and gathering, and lived in small bands without centralized political authority, in the springtime they would head to the coasts to hunt salmon and other seafood, including seaweed. When hunting deer, Miwok hunters traditionally used Brewers angelica, Angelica breweri to eliminate their own scent, Miwok did not typically hunt bears. Yerba buena tea leaf were used medicinally, tattooing was a traditional practice among Coast Miwok, and they burned poison-oak for a pigment. Their traditional houses, called kotcha were constructed with slabs of tule grass or redwood bark in a cone-shaped form, Miwok people are skilled at basketry.
A recreated Coast Miwok village called Kule Loklo is located at the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Coast Miwok language is no longer natively spoken, but the Bodega dialect is documented in Callaghan. The original Coast Miwok people world view included animism, and one form of this took was the Kuksu religion that was evident in Central and Northern California. Kuksu was shared with other ethnic groups of Central California, such as their neighbors the Pomo, Ohlone, Esselen. However Kroeber observed less specialized cosmogony in the Miwok, which he termed one of the southern Kuksu-dancing groups, in comparison to the Maidu, Coast Miwok mythology and narratives were similar to those of other natives of Central and Northern California. The Coast Miwok believed in animal and human spirits, and saw the animal spirits as their ancestors, coyote was seen as their ancestor and creator god. In their case the earth began with land formed out of the Pacific Ocean, in their myths, legends and histories, the Coast Miwok participated in the general cultural pattern of Central California.
The authenticated Coast Miwok villages are, On Bodega Bay, Hime-takala, Ho-takala, Tiwut-huya, in this vicinity, Amayelle, Kennekono. On Tomales Bay, Echa-kolum, Shotommo-wi, Utumia At the present-day City of Petaluma, Etem, in this vicinity, Likatiut, Susuli, Wotoki. At the present-day City of San Rafael, Awani-wi, at the present-day City of Sonoma, Huchi. Also in this vicinity, Tuli, Wugilwa, at the present-day City of Cotati, Lumen-takala. At the present-day town of Nicasio, Echa-tamal, at the present-day town of Olema, Olema-loke
Great blue heron
It is a rare vagrant to coastal Spain, the Azores, and areas of far southern Europe. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and Florida was once treated as a separate species, the great blue heron was one of the many species originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae. The scientific name comes from Latin ardea, and Ancient Greek erodios and it forms a superspecies with this and with the cocoi heron from South America, which differs in having more extensive black on the head, and a white breast and neck. It has head-to-tail length of 91–137 cm, a wingspan of 167–201 cm, a height of 115–138 cm, in British Columbia, adult males averaged 2.48 kg and adult females 2.11 kg. The feathers on the neck are long and plume-like, it has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season. Immature birds are duller in color, with a dull blackish-gray crown, and the pattern is only weakly defined, they have no plumes.
Among standard measurements, the chord is 43–49.2 cm, the tail is 15. 2–19.5 cm, the culmen is 12. 3–15.2 cm. The herons stride is around 22 cm, almost in a straight line, two of the three front toes are generally closer together. In a track, the front toes, as well as the back, the subspecies differ only slightly in size and plumage tone, with the exception of subspecies A. h. occidentalis, which has a distinct white morph, known as the great white heron. It is found only in south Florida and some parts of the Caribbean, the great white heron differs from other great blues in bill morphology, head plume length, and in having a total lack of pigment in its plumage. It averages somewhat larger than the sympatric race A. h. wardi and may be the largest race in the species. In a survey of A. h. occidentalis in Florida, males were found to average 3.02 kg and females average 2.57 kg and this is mainly found near salt water, and was long thought to be a separate species. Birds intermediate between the normal morph and the white morph are known as Würdemanns heron, these birds resemble a normal great blue with a white head.
The theory that great white herons may be a species from great blue heron has again been given some support by David Sibley. The great white heron could be confused with great egret, but is larger, the reddish egret and little blue heron could be mistaken for the great blue heron, but are much smaller, and lack white on the head and yellow in the bill. In the southern reaches of its range, the great blue sometimes overlaps in range with the closely related, the cocoi is distinguished by a striking white neck and solid black crown, but the duller juveniles are more easily confused. More superficially similar is the slightly smaller grey heron, which may sometimes vagrate to the coasts of North America
The osprey —also called fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk—is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a raptor, reaching more than 60 cm in length and 180 cm across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head, the osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant, as its other common names suggest, the ospreys diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey, as a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus and family, Pandionidae. Four subspecies are recognized, one of which has recently been given full species status. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the osprey is not classed as a sea eagle, the osprey was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae, and named as Falco haliaeetus.
The genus, Pandion, is the member of the family Pandionidae, and used to contain only one species. The genus Pandion was described by the French zoologist Marie Jules César Savigny in 1809, the osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey. Its toes are of length, its tarsi are reticulate. The osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible and this is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy has placed it together with the diurnal raptors in a greatly enlarged Ciconiiformes. The osprey is unusual in that it is a living species that occurs nearly worldwide. Even the few subspecies are not unequivocally separable, there are four generally recognised subspecies, although differences are small, and ITIS lists only the first two. P. h. carolinensis –, North America and this form is larger, darker bodied and has a paler breast than nominate haliaetus. P. h. ridgwayi – Maynard,1887, Caribbean islands and this form has a very pale head and breast compared with nominate haliaetus, with only a weak eye mask.
Its scientific name commemorates American ornithologist Robert Ridgway, P. h. cristatus –, coastline and some large rivers of Australia and Tasmania. The smallest and most distinctive subspecies, non-migratory, recently, P. h. cristatus has been given full species status as eastern osprey
North Bay (San Francisco Bay Area)
The North Bay is a subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, United States. The largest city is Santa Rosa, which is the fifth-largest city in the Bay Area and it is the location of the Napa and Sonoma wine regions, and is by far the least populous and least urbanized part of the Bay Area. It consists of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, several ferry routes operate between the North Bay and San Francisco, from terminals located in Sausalito, Larkspur and Angel Island. Commuter rail service from Fairfield to Sacramento and Oakland is provided by Amtrak on its Capitol Corridor line, plans for the development of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, a fourteen station commuter rail line from Larkspur to Cloverdale, were approved by voters in November 2008. The area is said to have populated by Pomo Native Americans before European intervention. The Russians first settled the area at Fort Ross as a fur-trading post, the Bear Flag Revolt took place in the town of Sonoma, which is the location of the last of the California Missions.
The North Bay remained isolated and rural well into the 20th Century, the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930s transformed Marin County from a dairy farming region into an upscale suburban area. Until the 1990s, the growth was at a gradual pace, with significant restrictions on development being imposed in Marin. The largest city in the North Bay is Santa Rosa, other major cities include, Vallejo San Rafael Fairfield Napa Novato Petaluma Rohnert Park North Coast AVA North Coast San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Migration carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans and it occurs mainly in the northern hemisphere, where birds are funnelled on to specific routes by natural barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Caribbean Sea. More recently, Johannes Leche began recording dates of arrivals of spring migrants in Finland in 1749, threats to migratory birds have grown with habitat destruction especially of stopover and wintering sites, as well as structures such as power lines and wind farms. The Arctic tern holds the long-distance migration record for birds, travelling between Arctic breeding grounds and the Antarctic each year, shorter migrations are common, including altitudinal migrations on mountains such as the Andes and Himalayas. The timing of migration seems to be controlled primarily by changes in day length, migrating birds navigate using celestial cues from the sun and stars, the earths magnetic field, and probably mental maps.
Records of bird migration were made as much as 3,000 years ago by the Ancient Greek writers Hesiod, Homer and Aristotle. The Bible notes migrations, as in the Book of Job, the author of Jeremiah wrote, Even the stork in the heavens knows its seasons, and the turtle dove, the swift and the crane keep the time of their arrival. Aristotle noted that cranes traveled from the steppes of Scythia to marshes at the headwaters of the Nile, pliny the Elder, in his Historia Naturalis, repeats Aristotles observations. Aristotle however suggested that swallows and other birds hibernated and this belief persisted as late as 1878, when Elliott Coues listed the titles of no less than 182 papers dealing with the hibernation of swallows. It was not until the end of the century that migration as an explanation for the winter disappearance of birds from northern climes was accepted. Bewick describes an experiment which succeeded in keeping alive in Britain for several years. He concludes, These experiments have since been confirmed by.
Migration is the seasonal movement, often north and south. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, sometimes, journeys are not termed true migration because they are irregular or in only one direction. Migration is marked by its annual seasonality, non-migratory birds are said to be resident or sedentary. Approximately 1800 of the worlds 10,000 bird species are long-distance migrants, many bird populations migrate long distances along a flyway. The most common pattern involves flying north in the spring to breed in the temperate or Arctic summer, of course, in the southern hemisphere the directions are reversed, but there is less land area in the far south to support long-distance migration. The primary motivation for migration appears to be food, for example, the longer days of the northern summer provide extended time for breeding birds to feed their young
An egret /ˈiːɡrət/ is a bird that is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets, the distinction between a heron and an egret is rather vague, and depends more on appearance than biology. Several of the egrets have been reclassified from one genus to another in recent years, several Egretta species, including the eastern reef egret, the reddish egret, and the western reef egret have two distinct colours, one of which is entirely white. The little blue heron has all-white juvenile plumage, media related to Ardeidae at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Ardeidae at Wikispecies Great egret Ardea alba—USGS
In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is defined as the largest group of organisms in which two individuals can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. While this definition is often adequate, looked at more closely it is problematic, for example, with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, or in a ring species, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear. Other ways of defining species include similarity of DNA, all species are given a two-part name, a binomial. The first part of a binomial is the genus to which the species belongs, the second part is called the specific name or the specific epithet. For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the Boa genus, Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped that species could evolve given sufficient time, Charles Darwins 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection.
Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal transfer, and species may become extinct for a variety of reasons. In his biology, Aristotle used the term γένος to mean a kind, such as a bird or fish, a kind was distinguished by its attributes, for instance, a bird has feathers, a beak, wings, a hard-shelled egg, and warm blood. A form was distinguished by being shared by all its members, Aristotle believed all kinds and forms to be distinct and unchanging. His approach remained influential until the Renaissance, when observers in the Early Modern period began to develop systems of organization for living things, they placed each kind of animal or plant into a context. Many of these early delineation schemes would now be considered whimsical, animals likewise that differ specifically preserve their distinct species permanently, one species never springs from the seed of another nor vice versa. In the 18th century, the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus classified organisms according to shared physical characteristics and he established the idea of a taxonomic hierarchy of classification based upon observable characteristics and intended to reflect natural relationships.
At the time, however, it was widely believed that there was no organic connection between species, no matter how similar they appeared. However, whether or not it was supposed to be fixed, by the 19th century, naturalists understood that species could change form over time, and that the history of the planet provided enough time for major changes. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, in his 1809 Zoological Philosophy, described the transmutation of species, proposing that a species could change over time, in 1859, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace provided a compelling account of evolution and the formation of new species. Darwin argued that it was populations that evolved, not individuals and this required a new definition of species. Darwin concluded that species are what appear to be, ideas
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles, as ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces. Energy, water and soil minerals are other essential components of an ecosystem. The energy that flows through ecosystems is obtained primarily from the sun and it generally enters the system through photosynthesis, a process that captures carbon from the atmosphere. By feeding on plants and on one another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and they influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. Ecosystems are controlled both by external and internal factors, other external factors include time and potential biota. Ecosystems are dynamic entities—invariably, they are subject to disturbances and are in the process of recovering from some past disturbance.
Ecosystems in similar environments that are located in different parts of the world can have different characteristics simply because they contain different species. The introduction of species can cause substantial shifts in ecosystem function. Internal factors not only control ecosystem processes but are controlled by them and are often subject to feedback loops. Other internal factors include disturbance and the types of species present, although humans exist and operate within ecosystems, their cumulative effects are large enough to influence external factors like climate. Biodiversity affects ecosystem function, as do the processes of disturbance, classifying ecosystems into ecologically homogeneous units is an important step towards effective ecosystem management, but there is no single, agreed-upon way to do this. The term ecosystem was first used in 1935 in a publication by British ecologist Arthur Tansley, Tansley devised the concept to draw attention to the importance of transfers of materials between organisms and their environment.
He refined the term, describing it as The whole system, including not only the organism-complex, but the whole complex of physical factors forming what we call the environment. Tansley regarded ecosystems not simply as natural units, but as mental isolates, Tansley defined the spatial extent of ecosystems using the term ecotope. G. Raymond Lindeman took these ideas one step further to suggest that the flow of energy through a lake was the driver of the ecosystem. Most mineral nutrients, on the hand, are recycled within ecosystems. Ecosystems are controlled both by external and internal factors, external factors, called state factors, control the overall structure of an ecosystem and the way things work within it, but are not themselves influenced by the ecosystem
The great egret, known as the common egret, large egret or great white heron, is a large, widely distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer regions of the world. It builds tree nests in close to water. Like all egrets, it is a member of the heron family, traditionally classified with the storks in the Ciconiiformes, the Ardeidae are closer relatives of pelicans and belong in the Pelecaniformes instead. The great egret—unlike the typical egrets—does not belong to the genus Egretta, in the past, however, it was sometimes placed in Egretta or separated in a monotypic genus Casmerodius. The Old World population is referred to as the great white egret. This species is confused with the great white heron of the Caribbean. The scientific name comes from Latin ardea heron, and alba, there are four subspecies in various parts of the world, which differ but little. Standing up to 1 m tall, this species can measure 80 to 104 cm in length and have a wingspan of 131 to 170 cm, body mass can range from 700 to 1,500 g, with an average of around 1,000 g.
It is thus only slightly smaller than the blue or grey heron. In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on the back and females are identical in appearance, juveniles look like non-breeding adults. Differentiated from the intermediate egret by the gape, which extends well beyond the back of the eye in case of the great egret and it has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, the great egret walks with its neck extended and wings held close. The great egret is not normally a vocal bird, it gives a low croak when disturbed. The great egret is generally a successful species with a large and expanding range, occurring worldwide in temperate. It is ubiquitous across the Sun Belt of the United States, in North America, large numbers of great egrets were killed around the end of the 19th century so that their plumes could be used to decorate hats. Numbers have since recovered as a result of conservation measures and its range has expanded as far north as southern Canada.
Nevertheless, the species adapts well to human habitation and can be seen near wetlands
The black oystercatcher is a conspicuous black bird found on the shoreline of western North America. It ranges from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to the coast of the Baja California peninsula, the black oystercatcher is the only representative of the oystercatcher family over most of its range, overlapping slightly with the American oystercatcher on the coast of Baja California. Within its range it is most commonly referred to as the oystercatcher, although this name is used locally for the blackish oystercatcher. Its scientific name is derived by John James Audubon from that of his friend John Bachman, although the species is not considered threatened, its global population size is estimated between 8, 900–11,000 individuals. S. Fish & Wildlife Service focal species for priority conservation action, the black oystercatcher is a large entirely black shorebird, with a long bright red bill and pink legs. It has a yellow iris and a red eye-ring. Its plumage varies slightly from north to south, being further north.
The black oystercatcher is restricted in its range, never straying far from shores and it has been suggested that this bird is seen mostly on coastal stretches which have some quieter embayments, such as jetty protected areas. It forages in the zone, feeding on marine invertebrates, particularly molluscs such as mussels, limpets. It will take crabs and barnacles and it hunts through the intertidal area, searching for food visually, often so close to the waters edge it has to fly up to avoid crashing surf. It uses its bill to dislodge food and pry shells open. The black oystercatcher is a bird during the nesting season. Some pairs have been recorded staying together for many years, nests are small bowls or depressions close to the shore in which small pebbles and shell fragments are tossed in with a sideward or backard flick of the bill. Around 2 to 3 eggs are laid in this nest, these are very hard, the chicks are capable of leaving the nest after one day, and will stay in the territory for a long time after fledging.
The fledged juveniles will stay in the territory until the breeding season. If the parents migrate, that years chicks will migrate with them, blackish oystercatcher Black Oystercatcher, The Birds of North America No 155 B
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency of the federal government within the U. S. Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish and natural habitats. The mission of the agency is working with others to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The leader of the FWS is the director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Daniel M. Ashe, of Maryland, bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory Landscape Conservation Cooperatives The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is on non-federal lands. The FWS employs approximately 9,000 people and is organized into an administrative office, eight regional offices. Spencer Fullerton Baird was appointed its first commissioner, in 1903, the Fish Commission was reorganized as the United States Bureau of Fisheries. In 1885–1886, the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy was established within the United States Department of Agriculture, in 1896 it became the Division of Biological Survey.
Its early work focused on the effect of birds in controlling pests and mapping the geographical distribution of plants. Clinton Hart Merriam headed the Bureau for 25 years and became a figure for improving the scientific understanding of birds. Under Darlings guidance, the Bureau began a legacy of protecting vital natural habitat throughout the country. The USFWS was finally created in 1940, when the Bureaus of Fisheries, these exceptions often only apply to Native Americans that are registered with the federal government and are enrolled with a federally recognized tribe. Therefore, many people that wish to practice their religion continue to face persecution. This has become a source of conflict between many tribes and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the USFWS began to incorporate the research of scientists into conservation decisions. Additionally, other natural resource agencies within the United States government, such as the USDA, have taken steps to be inclusive of tribes, native people.
This has marked a transition to a relationship of more cooperation rather than the tension between tribes and government agencies seen historically, these agencies work closely with tribal governments to ensure the best conservation decisions are made and that tribes retain their sovereignty