Having such an unwieldy name is the least of the ashy storm-petrel’s worries. The bird, whose habitat includes the Channel Islands and Baja Mexico, is being considered for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to a news release today from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A smoke-colored member of the storm-petrel family of seabirds, it faces predation by the Western Gull and Burrowing Owl as well as less natural dangers relating to lights on fishing boats and introduced species like cats and rats. A petition received by Fish and Wildlife in October 2007 asked that the ashy storm-petrel be classified as threatened or endangered. Today, Fish and Wildlife took steps toward addition research into whether this will happen, including a 60-day public comment period on the matter. (It closes July 15. Comments will be posted here and can be submitted here.) A staff review on the matter is expected to be complete on February 16, 2009.


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