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Heath Hen

The Heath Hen is a relative of the Prairie Chicken. They use to be found in the

Atlantic seaboard from Massachusetts to Virginia. The Heath Hen was hunted, because

it tasted good, was an easy shot, and available. Numbers quickly dropped as their were

no bag limit. When conservationist realized numbers were falling they set up regulations

and limits, but the help came a little to late. Looking back at the actions to save these

birds, we should have set up backup populations in their historic range. Martha’s

Vineyard was the last place they were seen in 1932. The Heath Hen had been reduced

to a single population on the Island. They numbered fewer than 100 individuals in 1896.

In 1908, they had set up a refuge for Heath Hens. Numbers started to climb

reaching 2,000 birds by 1915. A number of unfortunate events took place a fire, serve

winter, and a invasion of Northern Goshawks. The population dropped to fewer than

150 birds. The last bird was seen in 1932.

Recently, Scientist and conservationists are working together to try using

genetics and domesticated chickens to bring back the Heath Hen among other extinct

birds. They think the domesticated chickens will be better to brood out the eggs since

they lay close to 300 eggs a year rather than 30 that the normal prairie chicken does.

This study will take a while to conduct, considering it might not even work. Although if it

does, we will see other animals trying to be brought back from extinction. These birds

were beautiful, and I think we’d do more to protect this time around. We are learning

from their extinction though it’s helped us put limits on birds, refuges, and certain rules.
Higgins Eye

The Higgins eye is a freshwater mussel. It has a heavy shell that normally

is brown or yellow. The mussel is oval or elliptical in shape with a difference

between males and females. A males shell is nearly oval, and the females shell

has more of an irregular shape. They happen to live in small numbers throughout

their range. Higgins eye’s prefer large rivers with deep waters. Higgins eye has a

parasitic larval stage. Larvae is released by the female then they must attach and

become encapsulated in the gills or fins of the host fish species such as

Freshwater drum and sauger. Other fish like the largemouth bass, smallmouth

bass, yellow perch, and walleye are suitable.

The Higgins eye range is the upper Mississippi River. It could have been

found in the Cedar, Wapsipinicon and Iowa rivers. Numbers have dropped from

competitor species like the zebra mussel, and poor water quality. Efforts to

protect the Higgins eye are in place. Conservationist are moving some Higgins

eye to other parts of a river where Zebra mussels aren’t, and they are working on

stopping the spreading of the Zebra mussel. Zebra mussels will attach to other

mussels limiting the host from moving, burrowing, and opening and closing their

shell.