Money Matters - Simplified


Crosswalk sign flips off pedestrians

Spokane, Wash. -- A spokeswoman for a Washington city postulates packed-in snow might be responsible for a crosswalk sign flipping pedestrians the bird.

Spokane spokeswoman Marlene Feist said city Streets Department workers believe snow packed into the electronic sign appears to be the reason only the middle finger seems upraised when the "Don't Walk" hand appears, Spokane's KXLY-TV reported Wednesday.

Feist said the Streets Department does not know when the display, which Feist described as "unintentional," would be corrected as workers are currently preoccupied with clearing snow from the roads.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Swedish high court may hear bird case

Stockholm, Sweden -- Swedish prosecutors are trying to take their case against a man who sold a decades-old stuffed bird on the Internet to the country's Supreme Court.

An appeals court agreed with the Upper Norrland District Court that the man violated laws on protecting endangered species by not getting permission from authorities before selling the stuffed goshawk online, but both courts said the man should not receive fines or a conviction because the stuffed bird, which had been in the man's family since the 1960s, was not killed through hunting.

Bird dog points out loose gator in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio -- Workers at an Ohio company said a hunting dog spotted a 4-foot alligator near the office and alerted them to its presence.

Jeff Tate, who owns Buckeye Caseworks in Columbus, said employee Jeff Colucy was letting his Weimaraner dog, which is trained to spot birds, relieve himself near the building when the canine spotted the reptile, the Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.

"My sales manager was taking his dog out to go to the bathroom, and he went to bring him back in and he was on point -- but not at a bird -- at a gator," Tate said.
Tate said he blocked the gator from escaping into woods behind the property while police officers tried to reach removal agencies.

Mountain bird climate survival studied

New Haven, Conn. -- U.S. biologists say they've determined the extinction risk for mountain birds due to global warming is greatest for species occupying a narrow altitude range.

Yale University researchers said they found a species' vertical distribution is a better predictor of extinction risk than the extent of temperature change they experience.

"Birds allow us to do the first global assessment of the health of a whole large chunk of biodiversity at high altitudes in the face of global warming," said Professor Walter Jetz and postdoctoral researcher Frank La Sorte, the study's co-authors. "Our global projections pinpoint hundreds of bird species in peril and often with nowhere to go."

Bird returns to Va. after 14,170 miles

Machipongo, Va. -- A Virginia scientist said a long-billed wading bird outfitted with a satellite transmitter returned to the state at the end of a 14,170-mile round trip.

Barry Truitt, senior scientist for The Nature Conservancy, said the whimbrel, named Hope, arrived on the Eastern Shore near Machipongo after traveling 14,170 miles around the globe during the past 11 months, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday.

Truitt said Hope nested in western Canada and wintered in the Virgin Islands before returning to the same place where scientists first encountered her nearly a year ago.

"This bird actually came back to the exact mudflat where we caught it last year," Truitt said. "How do these birds do that? We don't know yet."

Sage grouse excluded from endangered species list

The U.S. Department of Interior announced on Friday that sage grouse certainly deserves federal protection under the Endangered Species Act but they declined to enlist the bird in endangered species list.

Big bird wreaks havoc after farm escape

Worcester, England -- A 6-foot-tall South American bird, a rhea, destroyed several gardens in the English county of Worcestershire after escaping from a farm, the bird's owner says.

Sharon Gould, who owns the large rhea bird, said the animal escaped Gouldise Poultry farm by scaling a 3-foot-high fence and soon was on a 7-hour spree of destruction in the area, The Daily Telegraph said Monday.

"We think he got spooked by a dog and jumped out of his pen and made off across the fields," Gould said of the recent escape by the bird named Charlie.

After destroying several gardens and hedges with a three-mile radius of the farm, the rhea was eventually captured by 12 area residents armed with sticks and blankets.

The animal's capture was a relief for Gould, who admitted having problems locating the oversized bird.