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16 September 2016 
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Prestigious Grant for the Motus Wildlife Tracking System

Red Knot Photo: Yves Aubry

16 September 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is delighted to announce that we are being funded to participate in CANARIE’s Research Software Program.
   Our two-year grant of $560,000 will support development of the research software platform for the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, one of the world’s most ambitious wildlife tracking initiatives.
   “It’s an honour to earn CANARIE’s investment, which recognizes our outstanding scientific credentials and potential,” said BSC President Steven Price. “This critical injection of funding will enable the Motus network to span the Western Hemisphere – and beyond!”
   Within five years, Bird Studies Canada aims to track 50 migratory bird species of conservation concern throughout their ranges. Motus is an essential tool to help us achieve this goal. Along the way, we’re gaining amazing new insights into bird movements, and priority areas and habitats.
   Bird Studies Canada and Acadia University programmers are working toward a completely integrative and real-time database for managing and analyzing animal movement data using automated radio telemetry. In addition to supporting research and conservation needs, the platform will also allow the general public to explore the vast Motus database, and view tagged animals’ movements throughout the network.
   In addition to funding, the Motus platform also benefits from previously-developed software tools in CANARIE’s Research Software Registry. In turn, Bird Studies Canada will contribute Motus software elements back to the Registry for re-use by the scientific community. This powerful cycle of software development and reuse results in significant process and cost efficiencies for the research community.
   The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a program of Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with Acadia University and collaborating researchers and organizations. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Bringing Science and Conservation Together

Photo: Bird Studies Canada

12 September 2016 – More than 2000 delegates from around the world participated in the 6th North American Ornithological Conference last month in Washington, D.C. Sessions and activities promoted the theme of Bringing Science and Conservation Together. Our team was energized to see conservation becoming a cornerstone of modern bird research.
   Bird Studies Canada was represented at the conference by (from L-R in the photo above): Dr. Tara Crewe (Postdoctoral Researcher), Andrew Couturier (Senior Analyst, Landscape Ecology and Conservation), Dr. Doug Tozer (Ontario Program Scientist), Stuart Mackenzie (Migration Program Manager), Dr. Christian Artuso (Manitoba Projects Manager), and Andrew Coughlan (Québec Program Manager, not pictured).
   Our staff participated in many important meetings, roundtables, and symposia on topics such as the North American Atlas Committee, grassland bird conservation, and the Canada Warbler Conservation Initiative. Two of our projects were highlighted in the scientific program: the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, and the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. More than 35 presentations featured Motus data, and there was a lot of buzz about the system and its potential.
   Bird Studies Canada was proud to be a sponsor of this successful and invigorating conference.

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Thank You for Supporting Bird Research and Conservation

16 September 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is our country’s leading national charitable organization dedicated to bird science and conservation. Our mission is to conserve wild birds of Canada through sound science, on-the-ground actions, innovative partnerships, public engagement, and science-based advocacy.
   We are extremely grateful to our many donors, members, volunteers, and friends for supporting our continued strength and growth. To read about our work and recent highlights, please see our new Annual Report. Thank you for being part of our work!

Our 2016 Annual Members Meeting

16 September 2016 – All are welcome to attend Bird Studies Canada’s 2016 Annual Members Meeting, taking place this weekend at our national office in Port Rowan, Ontario: Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
   The event will include a brief review of program and financial highlights from the past year, and a talk by our Atlantic Program Manager Dr. Laura McFarlane Tranquilla, who will share findings from seabird research at the world’s largest Leach’s Storm-Petrel colony on Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland.
   For more information or to register, contact Rosie Kirton at 519-586-3531 ext. 141, 1-888-448-2473, or

Job Opportunity: Communications Specialist

15 September 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is seeking a Communications Specialist to develop, deliver, and support a variety of communications, media, and public relations functions. Applicants should possess a degree or diploma in communications or public relations (or a related field), excellent communications skills, experience with writing and editing, and enthusiasm for nature and conservation. Fluency in French will be considered an asset. Visit the Job Opportunities section of our website for details of the position and the application process.

The Great Canadian National Bird Debate

12 September 2016 – Nearly 50,000 Canadians voted for their favourite species in the National Bird Project, an undertaking by Canadian Geographic, in partnership with Bird Studies Canada, to help select an avian emblem for Canada. When public voting ended on August 31, Canada’s top five birds were the Common Loon, the Snowy Owl, the Gray Jay, the Canada Goose, and the Black-capped Chickadee.
   The project’s next phase begins with a debate at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Monday, September 19, at 7 p.m. Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna will provide opening remarks. Bird Studies Canada’s President Steven Price will be one of five panelists advocating for the declaration of a National Bird and the species they believe are most worthy of the honour. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s official recommendation for Canada’s National Bird will appear in the December 2016 issue of Canadian Geographic.
   Tickets to Monday’s event are available online. For those who can’t attend in person, the debate will also be live-streamed on YouTube, so be sure to tune in! Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #canadabird.

Campus Tour of The Messenger

12 September 2016 – Screenings of the award-winning documentary The Messenger are coming soon to college and university campuses across the country. Bird Studies Canada is the National Outreach Partner for this visually thrilling ode to songbirds – their beauty and importance, key threats causing declines, and what songbird losses could mean to all of us.
   Visit the film’s Canadian screenings page for details of upcoming events. Canadian educators interested in showing the documentary to their classes can order educational copies with public performance rights from Songbird SOS Productions.

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Giving Shorebirds “Space to Roost” on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy

Photo: Jaya Fahey

15 September 2016 – Shorebirds need safe, reliable places to rest and feed. Because hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop over in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Basin (in Nova Scotia) during their remarkable migration to South America in late summer, Minas Basin is designated an Important Bird Area and Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. Shorebird flocks need beaches and other coastal sites to rest when mudflat foraging habitat is covered during high tide. These shorebird roost sites are also popular places for recreation, including swimming and angling.
   “Space to Roost” is a new project led by Bird Studies Canada in collaboration with Dalhousie University, Blomidon Naturalists Society, and provincial and federal partners. The initiative aims to reduce human pressures to shorebirds in the Minas Basin by assessing human-use patterns at roost sites, and working with coastal users to develop and test effective disturbance reduction strategies. This three-year project is supported by the Government of Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program Prevention Stream, Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund, and Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Geese Banded at Queen Maud Gulf

12 September 2016 – Banding of arctic-nesting geese each summer provides information on harvest, survival, and population growth rates to ensure the responsible management of game bird species. This August, Bird Studies Canada’s Saskatchewan Program Manager Dr. Kiel Drake once again led the annual effort to band light geese (Ross’s and Lesser Snow geese) within the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Nunavut, Canada.
   About 8400 geese were banded this summer. For the second year in a row, it was a bad season for goose reproduction; less than 5% of marked birds were goslings (compared to 20-40% of birds marked in a typical year). Geese marked in this location originate from the Karrak Lake colony where a long-term research program by Dr. Ray Alisauskas (a Canadian Wildlife Service Research Scientist) has operated since 1990.
   Hatch success this summer appeared to be similar to the long-term average, but it appears that this population suffered another post-hatch mass mortality of goslings from rain and cool weather.

Great Lakes MMP Newsletter

12 September 2016 – Bird Studies Canada’s 2016 Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program newsletter, The Marsh Monitor, is now available online. This issue provides information on 2016 reports, presentations, and data usage, reviews the 2016 survey activity, and provides updated population trends for marsh birds and frogs.
   We thank the volunteers who survey marshes annually, right across the Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Government of Ontario, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Kenneth M. Molson Foundation, John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2016 American Woodcock Status Report

1 September 2016 – The 2016 American Woodcock Population Status report covering northeastern North America is now available. According to data collected by participants in the American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey, the number of woodcocks in Ontario has declined significantly since 1968, and the rate of decline has increased over the last 10 years.
   Bird Studies Canada thanks everyone who participated in the survey. Ontario volunteers completed 89 survey routes in 2016, making the province the second-largest provincial or state contributor to the survey – only Michigan completed more (115 routes).
   This program is delivered in Ontario by Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

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