The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just The News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.
This week’s Golden Horseshoe Award goes to the Department of Defense for a $3.8 million grant to provide care for birds on San Clemente Island in California at the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, OpenTheBooks.com reported.
The grant is for the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrikes, according to the DOD synopsis, which announces the “goals and objectives of the project are to continue to maintain and care for captive Loggerhead Shrikes for release, provide necessary veterinary care and pathology for chicks and adults, and to collect and analyze all necessary biological data.”
The grantee is expected to maintain and care for “current captive Loggerhead Shrikes,” including “production of juvenile Loggerhead Shrikes for release, execution of supplemental diet plans that provide food and forage for captive flock.” In addition, the grantee is expected to provide “demographic and genetic management for captive and wild flocks” on the island.
The accompanying request for statements of interest outlines several tasks for the project, including a kick-off meeting before Sept. 30 and the provision of supplemental feed for both the released and captive birds, to include a 12-month supply of crickets, mealworms and mice.
The crickets, mealworms and mice will be flown to San Clemente Island by the U.S. Navy from North Island Air Station.
The “demographic and genetic management” of the Loggerhead Shrikes will involve maintaining “an inventory of feather and/or blood samples collected and DNA extracted.”
“The inventory shall include the following basic information: bird identification; date and type of material received; amount of DNA extracted; method of storage of feathers, blood, and DNA (if applicable),” according to the grant.
The grantee is expected to maintain a study-book which will be updated to include births, deaths, releases of the birds and “the recruitment into the captive and wild populations …”
“Normally, when you think of Navy birds, images of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Top Gun pilots come to mind,” OpenTheBooks.com CEO and Founder Adam Andrzejewski told Just The News. “Not in this case. Since 2007, the Navy spent nearly $14 million on care for the Loggerhead Shrike bird species. Diverting millions of dollars from the military budget for spending on bird care doesn’t make America more safe or secure.”
The DOD did not respond to a request for comment.