US: Bush angles for conservation stature while bird-watching, fishing

Other News Materials 21 October 2007 02:34 (UTC +04:00)

(Turkish Daily News) - President George W. Bush spent a crisp fall Saturday gingerly balancing a tiny screech owl on a gloved hand at a wildlife refuge and casting for rockfish on the Chesapeake Bay. And for lunch? Famous Maryland style crabcakes, served up at Vice President Dick Cheney's waterside home outside this charming Eastern Shore village. It was all part of an effort to burnish his conservation credentials while announcing new initiatives that he said would protect migrating birds and two fish species, red drum and striped bass, prized by anglers. First came some bird-watching at

the Patuxent Research Refuge outside Washington, where he peered through a scope at waterfowl and had a closer encounter with a brown-and-white screech owl. "Cute little fellow," the president said, looking slightly askance at the jittery bird perched on his hand. Bush, noting that migrating bird populations are threatened by increasing development along their flyover routes, said his administration would award private landowners "credits" they could sell, mainly to federal agencies, to encourage them to set aside "stopover habitats" for more than 800 species of migratory birds.