Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brown Tree Snakes

March 25, 2007 I realize Brown Tree Snakes are predators and a particular threat to some birds, especially the Guam Rail. I live in DC and have seen that bird at the National Zoo. Here’s what the zoo’s Web site has to say about the Guam Rail and the Brown Tree Snake:

The introduction of brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) in the 1950s almost spelled doom for the rails. Snakes feeding on the rails’ young and eggs caused the Guam rail population to crash to only 21 birds by 1985. Other birds on Guam have been similarly affected by the brown tree snake. Guam Micronesian Kingfisher.

I have to admit that in the years I was on Guam, almost three years in the mid-1970s and for a return visit about five years ago, that I have never seen a Brown Tree Snake. I spent much of my time living off base in the southern end of the island. The snakes are largely out of sight.