LaPre to speak on Mojave Desert birds

The Kerncrest Audubon Society will present “Inconvenient Truths About Mojave Desert Birds,” a program by Larry LaPre on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m. in the Maturango Museum.

LaPré received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California in 1979 and worked as a biological consultant for 19 years. In 1998, he enlisted in a yearlong position with the Bureau of Land Management, which led to a permanent BLM position. He retired in 2015 and is now a board member of the Desert Tortoise Council.

In his presentation, he will review his work monitoring construction and operation of all the major solar projects and several new transmission lines in the California desert. Avian issues included collisions with wires and fences, use of contaminated wastewater ponds and fatalities from flying through superheated zones around power towers. Nesting birds were displaced over thousands of acres on these facilities.

LaPré will also discuss the population increase of common ravens, which prey on hatchling and juvenile desert tortoises. He’ll explain how human subsidies support ravens in an otherwise hostile desert environment, contributing to the increase in raven numbers and decrease in tortoise numbers.

The public is invited to attend.

Story First Published: 2017-03-10