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22 July 2016 
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Bird Conservation Centennial

22 July 2016 – Next month, bird lovers and conservationists will mark a very special North American milestone. August 16 is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the landmark international migratory bird treaty between Canada and the United States.
   “The centenary of the treaty is truly a cause for celebration,” Jon McCracken wrote in the Spring 2016 edition of our magazine BirdWatch Canada. See “Migratory Bird Conservation: A Great Act to Follow.”
   Birds still face many challenges, as outlined in the recent State of North America’s Birds report. To learn more about why birds matter and how you can help, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website.

Uniting for Science and Conservation

Photo: BSC

22 July 2016 – At the 2016 North American Ornithological Congress, Bird Studies Canada staff from across the country are co-organizing symposiums and workshops, and will present a number of sessions, talks, and posters on our research and conservation work. Topics include: marsh monitoring results, grassland birds, breeding bird atlases, and the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. We’ll be part of the panel for a special screening of The Messenger, and some staff will also participate in constructive career-building workshops for young scientists.
   We’re proud to be a sponsor of North America’s largest ornithological conference, taking place in Washington, D.C. from August 16-20. If you’ll be there, please come meet our team at Bird Studies Canada’s exhibitor booth.

New Issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology

5 July 2016 – The June 2016 issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology includes nine articles and a guest editorial entitled, “The Breeding Bird Survey at 50: Scientists and birders working together for bird conservation.” Topics include: changes in spring arrival date and timing of breeding of Ring-billed Gulls in Québec; range-wide habitat suitability for Lesser Prairie-Chickens; Citizen Science monitoring of Short-eared Owls in Idaho; comparing results of recall surveys and standardized searches in understanding bird-window collisions; flight initiation distances of nesting Piping Plovers in response to human disturbance; risk from cattle trampling to nests of endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrows; effect of a rare predator on survival of male Black-headed Buntings in Croatia; prevalence of avian haemosporidian parasites in an endemic bird area of Colombia; and estimating density of rare and cryptic Buff-throated Partridges in the high mountains of western China.
   Visit the ACE website to read current and past issues. This open-access, fully electronic scientific journal is sponsored by Bird Studies Canada and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

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One Week to Birdathon Deadline!

22 July 2016 – If you’ve collected donations for the 2016 Great Canadian Birdathon, send them in by August 1 for your chance to win some wonderful prizes. If you’ve already submitted your pledge money, thank you, and good luck! Draws will be completed in mid-August. Bird Studies Canada gratefully acknowledges our Great Canadian Birdathon sponsors: Armstrong Bird Food, Eagle-Eye Tours, Eagle Optics Canada, Celestron, and Vortex Canada.

Updated Wind Energy Database Report

18 July 2016 – The Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database is the largest repository of information on wind energy and wildlife interactions in Canada. The database houses information collected as part of the environmental assessment processes at wind energy facilities across the country, and allows for broad-scale analyses, with a view to reducing risks to wildlife.
   The Annual Database Report produced by Bird Studies Canada summarizes the information contained in the database. This year’s report includes corrected mortality estimates for birds and bats (regionally and nationally), information on the relative proportions of different bird and bat species killed at wind energy facilities in Canada, and information on when mortalities occur throughout the year. These findings are made publicly available in order to understand the impact of wind energy on wildlife, and inform responsible decisions on wind energy development.

Vote for Canada’s National Bird!

Photo Illustrations © Canadian Geographic

1 July 2016 – Which bird do you think would make the best national symbol for Canada? Currently, the top contenders in a popular vote include a well-known yet intriguing icon of the northern wilderness (Common Loon), a smart and friendly boreal species that is found in every one of our provinces and territories (Gray Jay), and a powerful Arctic predator (Snowy Owl). Go online to browse these options and more, and to cast your vote! Time is running out – the vote closes on August 31.
   Bird Studies Canada is the National Conservation Partner for Canadian Geographic’s National Bird Project.

Appointments to the Order of Canada

30 June 2016 – Three of our friends were recently appointed to the Order of Canada. Mark Cullen and Dr. Guy Morrison joined the Order as members. The Honourable Warren Winkler was promoted from member to officer of the Order.
   Canada’s gardening guru Mark Cullen, a strong Bird Studies Canada supporter, was the Celebrity Birder for our Great Canadian Birdathon in 2013. Cullen’s ‘Mark’s Choice’ bird seed carries our logo as part of a corporate partnership involving Armstrong Bird Food and Home Hardware.
   Shorebird expert Dr. Guy Morrison is an Emeritus Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. Among other projects, he conducted fieldwork on the Red Knot, a rapidly-declining shorebird that breeds in the Arctic and has been a conservation focus for Bird Studies Canada.
   The Honourable Warren Winkler, former Chief Justice of Ontario, is an Honorary Director of Bird Studies Canada. He has been a volunteer leader for the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Fund (a BSC-managed research program) since helping create it in the late 1980s.

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Good News for Bank Swallows

Photo: Ron Ridout

22 July 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is helping recover declining Bank Swallows. An article in the June issue of the Wilson Journal of Ornithology discusses the importance of wetland roost sites for breeding pairs, based on data collected by Bird Studies Canada’s Swifts and Swallows Program and Motus Wildlife Tracking System. Visit the journal’s website to read a summary of the article by Myles Falconer and Dr. Doug Tozer (BSC), Dr. Greg Mitchell (Environment and Climate Change Canada), and Dr. Phil Taylor (Acadia University).
   The Recovery Strategy for the Bank Swallow in Ontario summarizes extensive detail on the species’ ecology, population trends, and threats, with numerous specific approaches for recovery. The strategy was prepared by Bird Studies Canada staff Myles Falconer, Kristyn Richardson, Audrey Heagy, Dr. Doug Tozer, Becky Stewart, and Jon McCracken, with Ron Reid (Bobolink Enterprises).

B.C. Beached Bird Survey Detects Die-off

Photo: Penny Lancaster

20 July 2016 – Over the space of a few days in mid-July, volunteers for Bird Studies Canada’s British Columbia Beached Bird Survey detected an unusually high number of Rhinoceros Auklets washing up on beaches around Victoria, B.C. At least 72 auklet carcasses have been found in the area over the last week. Our beached bird survey would normally receive reports of only a couple of these birds each year over the entire B.C. coast.
   The largest nearby breeding colony is at Protection Island in Washington, with around 72,000 birds. The birds washing ashore in Victoria are thought to be breeders from that site. The Canadian Wildlife Service is conducting post-mortem examinations of 21 birds to determine the cause of death.
   The B.C. Beached Bird Survey was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Help Monitor Common Nighthawks in Toronto!

20 July 2016 – This summer, you can help our Toronto Urban Bird Program monitor Common Nighthawks as they stream over High Park on their way to southern wintering grounds. Although among the iconic species of Toronto’s urban wilderness, Common Nighthawks are still mysterious and poorly understood. Bird Studies Canada is monitoring their migration movements though our city landscape, and we need your help!
   Volunteers are needed to help us monitor migrating nighthawks every evening from August 22 to September 9. Shifts take place from 7:00 p.m. until dark (around an hour and half), and are run at Hawk Hill in High Park, behind the Grenadier Restaurant. Beginner birders are welcome! For more information, visit our Common Nighthawk page or email Emily Rondel (
   If you can’t volunteer, but are curious about Toronto’s most mysterious bird, come to the Nighthawk Count with our Toronto Programs Coordinator Emily Rondel on August 31 at the High Park Nature Centre.

Breeding Bird Monitoring on Long Point

18 July 2016 – This summer, seven biologists helped conduct intensive research and monitoring for Long Point Bird Observatory’s breeding bird projects.
   Through breeding bird censuses on Long Point since the early 1990s, LPBO has monitored responses of vegetation and breeding bird communities to reduction of the local deer herd. This summer, with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, LPBO surveyed all 15 breeding bird census plots. The results will help us assess impacts of deer foraging and other threats (such as invasive species) on sensitive Long Point habitats.
   In five key wetland areas, we conducted extensive marsh monitoring surveys. And the Long Point Tree Swallow project completed its 46th consecutive year.
   Significant discoveries from this season’s fieldwork included a breeding Merlin pair (first for Norfolk County), and White-eyed Vireo (an extremely rare breeder in Canada).

Piping Plovers Nesting in Ontario

8 July 2016 – Following an absence of breeding pairs in Ontario for more than 30 years, Piping Plovers have been making a gradual return at selected nesting locations on Canadian Great Lakes shores since 2007. Federal and provincial governments and local agencies cooperate to protect these Endangered shorebirds and the habitat they need to raise their young.
   Volunteer ‘plover guardians’ provide a vital service by monitoring habitat, breeding pairs, and hatchlings. These trained volunteers also help educate beach visitors about plovers and efforts to protect them. Visit the stewardship program websites for Sauble Beach and Wasaga Beach for results from the 2016 nesting season.
   Until 2015, when a nest failed at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands, Piping Plovers had not nested on the Canadian shores of Lake Ontario since 1934. We’re excited to report that this season, two Piping Plover pairs raised seven young at Darlington Provincial Park, and one pair at Presqu’ile Provincial Park raised three young!

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