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16 January 2015 
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Cassin’s Auklet Die-off on the West Coast

Cassin’s Auklet Photo: Cathleen Shattuck

16 January 2015 – Over the holidays, large numbers of dead Cassin’s Auklets were found on the outer coasts of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Bird Studies Canada’s British Columbia office received reports of more than 100 of these seabirds per kilometre on some beaches. Most birds were young-of-the-year. The Canadian Wildlife Service is conducting necropsies.
   A similar event has been occurring since October all along the Pacific Coast, as far south as California. There are no signs of oiling or poisoning. Analyses strongly suggest these young birds starved at sea and were washed ashore by strong winds. Higher than usual nesting success in 2014 at the main colonies (on Triangle Island, BC and in the Haida Gwaii region) is likely a factor. Further studies of ocean temperatures and zooplankton abundance should shed light on what’s causing these deaths.
   Click here to watch a CBC News Vancouver interview with our BC Program Manager Dr. David Bradley.
   Bird Studies Canada staff and volunteers are diligently monitoring Pacific Coast beaches, locating Cassin’s Auklets, and investigating this situation. Please consider making a direct donation to our Coastal Waterbird and Beached Bird Surveys through CanadaHelps to support our efforts. Thank you for being an important part of our work for bird conservation.

Join Us for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Mourning Dove Photo: Jamie Burris

16 January 2015 – Birdwatchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2015. Around the globe, tens of thousands of volunteers – of all ages and birding skill levels – will count birds in backyards, local parks, nature reserves, and wherever they happen to be. This free, family-friendly educational activity is loads of fun and supports bird conservation!
   The GBBC provides a great opportunity to learn more about birds and connect with nature, and is an ideal way for more experienced birders to introduce friends and family to the wonderful world of birding. Visit the GBBC website to explore the species seen in your community, region, or country. You can make a difference for birds by counting the birds in your neighbourhood. Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
   For more information, email Canadian GBBC Coordinator Kerrie Wilcox at The GBBC is a joint project of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

Participez au Grand dénombrement des oiseaux de février

16 janvier 2015 – Du 13 au 16 février 2015 participez à une activité gratuite, amusante et instructive pour toute la famille qui, de plus, vous permettra de contribuer à la conservation de l’avifaune! Tous les ans, des dizaines de milliers des personnes prennent part au GDOF. Les participants peuvent recenser les oiseaux à l’endroit de leur choix.
   Les observateurs de tout âge peuvent participer. Que vous soyez débutant ou chevronné, joignez-vous au GDOF. C’est une excellente façon d’en apprendre d’avantage sur les oiseaux de votre collectivité et de profiter de la nature. Le GDOF est aussi une excellente occasion pour les observateurs expérimentés de faire connaître le monde merveilleux de la faune ailée à leurs enfants, leurs petits enfants ou à toute autre personne.
   Visitez le site Web du GDOF pour savoir quelles espèces ont été repérées dans votre collectivité, province ou pays. L’avifaune de votre quartier a besoin de votre aide! Participez au GDOF de 2015.

World Wetlands Day: Wetlands for Our Future

16 January 2015 – They purify our waters, feed us, prevent flooding, store carbon, and burst with biodiversity. They are our wetlands, and each year on February 2 we honour their importance by celebrating World Wetlands Day.
   Bird Studies Canada staff are working hard on behalf of wetlands through our Marsh Monitoring Program. Please see below to learn how you can help as a volunteer in the Maritimes, Québec, or the Great Lakes region. Bird Studies Canada thanks and congratulates all the volunteers, partners, and funders who make the Marsh Monitoring Program successful.
   Happy World Wetlands Day!

Marsh Monitoring Volunteers Wanted

Photo: National Park Service

12 January 2015 – Through Bird Studies Canada’s Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP), volunteer Citizen Scientists in many parts of Canada survey marsh bird populations and report their valuable observations to us. In some regions, they also collect important information about frogs.
   This year we are delighted to announce the first Citizen Science survey season for the Maritimes MMP. It’s also the 12th MMP season in Québec, and the 21st for the Great Lakes region of the U.S. and Ontario. Volunteers are needed across the Maritimes (contact Holly Lightfoot: and to fill survey gaps in Québec (contact Andrew Coughlan: and around the Great Lakes.
   For more information about the Great Lakes MMP, contact Kathy Jones ( You can also check out assigned and available Great Lakes MMP routes on our online map, and please consider completing this form regarding a proposed Great Lakes MMP webinar.

New Issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology

12 January 2015 – An article co-authored by Bird Studies Canada staff, “Tree Cavity Use by Chimney Swifts: Implications for Forestry and Population Recovery,”  is among the studies published in the most recent edition of Avian Conservation and Ecology, an open-access, fully electronic scientific journal sponsored by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists and Bird Studies Canada.
   The latest issue also includes articles on: distances flown by foraging ducks; occurrence of Black-backed Woodpeckers in burned and unburned forests; Golden-cheeked Warbler survival; influence of burning and grazing on Prairie songbirds; human disturbance and European Nightjars; distributions of breeding ducks in Canada; and changes in the number of species across different regions in the mountains of California.
   Visit the ACE website to read the current issue and past issues.

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Teen Birders Invited to Apply for 2015 Young Ornithologists’ Workshop

16 January 2015 – Every year, with support from our Doug Tarry Natural History Fund, Bird Studies Canada and Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) select six of Canada’s most promising young birders between the ages of 13-17 to participate in our Young Ornithologists’ Workshop at LPBO in southern Ontario. The Doug Tarry Bird Study Award covers all on-site expenses for those chosen to attend.
   The 2015 workshop will take place from Saturday, August 1 to Sunday, August 9. Participants receive hands-on training in field ornithology. Activities include an introduction to bird monitoring and banding, bird identification, birding trips, preparing museum specimens, guest lectures, and more! Applications are due by April 30, 2015. For more information and an application form, email or visit our website.

Summer Positions with Bird Studies Canada

16 January 2015 – Bird Studies Canada will soon be hiring for a number of seasonal positions across the country. Position descriptions – including location, job requirements, and application dates – will be posted on the Job Opportunities page of our website. Be sure to check back frequently in the weeks to come so as not to miss an opportunity.

Thanks for Supporting the Christmas Bird Count!

Snowy Owl Photo: Ann Cook

14 January 2015 – The 115th Christmas Bird Count season is over. Data are pouring in, and it looks like another record year for participation, with 25 new counts added to the previous season’s total of 438 counts across Canada. There will be many highlights to talk about when all the reports are in. One of the obvious stories emerging is a return flight of Snowy Owls to eastern Canada. After last winter’s record flight, it looks like this year’s numbers will be even higher.
   You can check out Christmas Bird Count results, by species or by count, as the data are entered (about half the counts are in already) on the Audubon website. Simply click on “Current Year” at the top of the page. And remember: now that participant fees have been dropped for this important program, we rely on your donations to keep it running. Please donate online. Thank you!

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BC Coastal Newsletter

12 January 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is pleased to release the 2014 issue of our annual British Columbia coastal newsletter, featuring updates from the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey and the BC Beached Bird Survey. This issue features many interesting articles and announcements including Coastal Waterbird Survey results for the 2013-14 season, Beached Bird Survey results from 2013, highlights of recent seabird mortality events, an overview of the Québec Beached Bird Survey, and more!
   Many thanks to all the volunteers who contributed to the newsletter. Please let us know if you have photos or ideas we could include in future issues. Thank you to all past and present volunteers for supporting these programs! The recent spike in numbers of beached Cassin’s Auklets found on western Vancouver Island highlights the value of ongoing collection of baseline data.
   If you’re interested in participating in these programs, or for a printed copy of the newsletter, please email

HSP Funding Supports Key Ontario Programs

12 January 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is pleased to announce we have been awarded $70,000 in funding from the Federal Government’s National Conservation Plan to support our work in three key areas in Ontario.
   Funding for our Ontario Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program will enable training workshops and expanded analysis of the importance of these sites for conservation. Our Urban Bird Program in Toronto will evaluate the state of bird conservation in the city and further develop conservation programs there. And our Aerial Insectivores Program will work to identify key nesting and roosting sites, and engage communities and individual landowners in stewardship action to conserve and protect these habitats.
   Through the National Conservation Plan, the Government of Canada is working to conserve and restore our lands and waters, and connect Canadians to our natural spaces. The new NCP funding builds on and complements the existing Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.

Trumpeter Swan Survey Seeks Ontario Volunteers

12 January 2015 – The Canadian Wildlife Service and the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Team are looking for volunteers to help survey for Trumpeter Swans in Ontario on Saturday, January 31. Your contributions will provide insights into swan abundance, distribution, and habitat use. In Ontario, the species can be found anywhere there is open water, and the attached resources should help observers distinguish between Trumpeter, Mute, and Tundra swans (the three swan species found in the province). If you’re interested in helping, please download the Information & Data Sheets or email

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