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14 October 2016 
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Join Project FeederWatch and Help Birds!

Downy Woodpecker Photo: Barb Morse

14 October 2016 – Participants in Project FeederWatch make a difference by collecting simple information about birds visiting feeders in winter. FeederWatchers help researchers at Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology monitor changes in the fortunes of feeder birds. The program is now in its 30th season, and this long-term dataset is more valuable than ever. Whether you’re already a dedicated birdwatcher or would like to give it a try, sign up now by calling 1-888-448-2473 or visit our website to support bird research and conservation with your observations.
   Through an annual registration of $35, participants fund Project FeederWatch – it’s free for Bird Studies Canada members. Join today and receive a subscription to our magazine BirdWatch Canada, a poster of common feeder birds, a calendar, last season’s results, and access to online data tools.
   Armstrong Bird Food is a national sponsor of Project FeederWatch in Canada. The partnership aims to inspire more Canadians to discover the fun of FeederWatch and the importance of Citizen Science.

Bird Research and Conservation News in BirdWatch Canada

14 October 2016 – The Fall 2016 edition of BirdWatch Canada (No. 77) includes a report on the health of the lower Great Lakes, highlights from the 2015-16 Project FeederWatch season, excerpts from our 2016 Annual Report, and more. Visit our website to view the table of contents, and to read the special feature “In Delight of Nature” by our Atlantic Program Manager Dr. Laura McFarlane Tranquilla.
   Published by Bird Studies Canada, BirdWatch Canada reports the latest results from our programs, and includes topical feature articles about the world of birds. By donating $35 or more annually, members and supporters provide valuable funding for bird research and conservation, and receive a subscription to our magazine, free participation in any of our Citizen Science programs, and a charitable tax receipt for the full amount of the contribution. Please donate today! Make an online membership donation or call us toll-free at 1-888-448-2473.

Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef

11 October 2016 – Because of our interest in grassland bird conservation in pastures, hayfields, and native prairie, Bird Studies Canada joined the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) in 2016. Last week, meetings of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the CRSB were held in Banff, Alberta. Bird Studies Canada was represented by our Manitoba Program Manager Dr. Christian Artuso.
   The event was attended by 224 participants from 15 countries, including many producer, industry, and NGO stakeholders. There were over 50 presentations and panel sessions. Highlights included: the CRSB’s release “New sustainability benchmarks help develop strategy to advance continuous improvement in Canadian beef industry,” the GRSB’s advancing of “Zero Deforestation Beef Production,” and several presentations on biodiversity and Species At Risk in relation to beef production.

Working Toward a Stopover Conservation Framework

11 October 2016 – Last week, Bird Studies Canada participated in the State of Stopover Symposium hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative. More than 100 delegates from throughout the Great Lakes region gathered to plan research, education, and conservation initiatives with a focus on protecting stopover habitats for migratory birds.
   At the symposium, independent Centennial Stopover Awards for exceptional contributions to the conservation of migratory birds in the Great Lakes were presented to Bird Studies Canada and to our long-time friend and research associate Dr. Erica Dunn.

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The 2016 Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Season is Complete

Photo: Barry Peyton

14 October 2016 – The 36th season of the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey ended on September 15. More than 700 dedicated Citizen Scientists across the country registered to monitor loons and their reproductive success. Bird Studies Canada gratefully acknowledges all volunteer surveyors for participating, and collecting important information. We thank the participants who have already submitted their observations. Volunteers who have yet to report can return their forms to us or enter data online.
   Visit our survey resources page for results, program materials, and much more! This program is supported by Bird Studies Canada members, the John and Pat McCutcheon Foundation, and the Kenneth M. Molson Foundation.

Call for Applications: NL Murre Conservation Fund

12 October 2016 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Murre Conservation Fund is now accepting applications for projects to be carried out in 2017-18. Co-managed by Wildlife Habitat Canada and Bird Studies Canada, the Murre Conservation Fund supports projects that promote the conservation of Common and Thick-billed murres and their habitats in Newfoundland and Labrador.
   In 2016-17, the Murre Fund supported a project by Queen’s University researchers. Dr. Vicki Friesen and Anna Tigano are developing colony-specific genetic markers to identify murres hunted off Newfoundland and Labrador. This important work will provide new accuracy to understand possible colony-specific impacts of the annual murre hunt, and will be directly useful in helping managers more precisely derive harvest rates and ascertain whether certain colonies are subject to unsustainable harvest pressure. To learn about previously-funded projects, visit the Wildlife Habitat Canada website
   To be eligible to receive a Murre Conservation Fund grant, the project must meet the criteria for current priority program areas. Applicants must submit an application to no later than November 1, 2016.

Update from the James Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project

5 October 2016 – A crew of more than 30 professional and volunteer biologists recently wrapped up another successful field season working to understand the importance of the southern James Bay coast to migratory shorebirds. Data collected from surveys, invertebrate sampling, banding, and radio-tagging are beginning to paint a detailed picture of how shorebirds use the coast, and how important it is to their survival.
   This year, nine receiving stations for the Motus Wildlife Tracking System were set up along the James Bay coast (seven on the Ontario side, and two on the Québec side).
   Many species such as Semipalmated and White-rumped sandpipers, Hudsonian Godwits, and Red Knots more than double their weight during their two- to three-week stays there before heading toward South America. To view the beginning legs of these flights, visit our Motus Wildlife Tracking System animations.
   The James Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project is led by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service in collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Bird Studies Canada, Trent University, and the Moose Cree First Nation. Additional support was provided by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program.
   Motus station installation and maintenance on the Québec side was supported by Nature Canada, Cree Regional Government, Cree Trappers Association of Waskaganish, Eeyou Marine Region Board, Nature Québec, and Bird Studies Canada.

BSC Board Members Elected

19 September 2016 – At Bird Studies Canada’s Annual Members Meeting on September 17, seven vacancies were filled on our Board of Directors. Gwen Chapman and Paul Uys were elected to our Board for the first time. Five people who had previously served on the Board were re-elected for a new three-year term: Brian Finnigan, Dr. Susan Hannon, Karen McDonald, Diane Salter, and Dr. Steve Wendt. The other Board members are: Karen Brown (Chair), Dr. David Bird, Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, David Love, Jean-Pierre Martel, Anne Murray, Alan R. Smith, and Dr. Rodger Titman. Dr. Art Martell has completed his term on the Board. We’re indebted to all past and present Board members for their efforts on our behalf.

2016 Great Canadian Birdathon Prize Winners

19 September 2016 – Congratulations to the 2016 Great Canadian Birdathon prize winners! Grand prize winners Nick and Anne Chapman of Bath, ON are thrilled to have the choice of a tour of New Brunswick, Cuba, or the Alberta Rockies, courtesy of Eagle-Eye Tours. The Thunder Cape Bird Observatory won the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network prize: a Regal M2 80ED spotting scope & 20-60x zoom eyepiece donated by Celestron. Great prizes from Eagle Optics Canada went to Cody Rowe of Jarvis, ON (spotting scope and tripod), Robert Gunstone of Hagersville, ON (8x42 binoculars), and Isaac Nelson of Kamloops, BC, who won the Young Birdathoner prize (8x32 binoculars). Vortex Canada donated binoculars won by Gail McNeil of London, ON. Matthias and Jason Beiber of Summerland, BC have won a one-year supply of bird seed from Armstrong Bird Food.
   The 2016 Great Canadian Birdathon has brought in more than $220,000 so far. It’s not too late to donate online. Many thanks to all the participants, supporters, and prize donors who make the Great Canadian Birdathon a success!

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2016 SwiftWatch Season

Chimney Swift Photo: Catherine Jarjour

14 October 2016 – Bird Studies Canada’s 2016 SwiftWatch season is wrapping up. We thank all SwiftWatch volunteers in the Maritimes and Ontario for monitoring known Chimney Swift roost and nest sites, and identifying new sites. We look forward to seeing and sharing this year’s results.
   Information collected by SwiftWatch participants increases our understanding of Chimney Swifts and their habitat needs in Canada. If you have observations or roost count data to submit, please enter data online using NatureCounts or contact the appropriate program coordinator
   Maritimes SwiftWatch gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada, New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund (contributions from hunters and trappers), and Graham and Susan Smith.
   Ontario SwiftWatch was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the Gosling Foundation.

Celebrating Ontario Birds

11 October 2016 – Several Bird Studies Canada staff contributed to a total of five articles for a special 100th issue of Ontario Birds, a journal published by the Ontario Field Ornithologists. One of the highlights is a major article outlining changes to Ontario bird populations since 1983.  Other topics include the evolution of birding over the last 20 years, the Motus Wildlife Tracking System in Ontario, changes in abundance of migrating warblers at a site on Lake Ontario, and a tribute to the late Dr. David Hussell, a founding father of migration monitoring in North America.
   Extra copies of the journal can be purchased for $10 plus shipping and handling by emailing

Making Space for Birds in Toronto

11 October 2016 – Bird Studies Canada and the Humber Arboretum are collaborating on an exciting new project: we’re creating a demonstration ‘bird-friendly’ garden on the Arboretum property. In addition to featuring plant species that benefit birds, this new garden will include feeders, nesting boxes, a brush pile, and more. The space will be a resource for Torontonians who want to create bird-friendly spaces on their properties, and will also be a venue for workshops and programs by Bird Studies Canada and Arboretum staff about Toronto’s birds, Citizen Science, and wildlife-friendly gardens.
   You can help build this community resource! Join us at the Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology on Saturday, October 22, from 10:00 am until noon. Event activities will include helping with planting, making the garden winter-ready, and installing bird feeders. There will be outdoor fun and learning for the whole family!

Lake Ontario IBA Surveys

11 October 2016 – This fall and winter, volunteers for the second annual waterbird count at the West End of Lake Ontario Important Bird and Biodiversity Area will collect valuable waterbird population data. If you’re available to conduct monthly surveys from October until April, please contact the Ontario IBA Coordinator at
   On the busiest day of last season’s pilot, surveyors observed 61 species and over 70,000 individuals, including 1255 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2798 White-winged Scoters, and 57,348 Long-tailed Ducks (5.7% of the North American population). This year, we want to cover more of the IBA. We particularly need help with sections east of Grimsby, and east and west of Hamilton Harbour. We hope you can join us!
   Bird Studies Canada thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting our work on Canada’s Important Bird Areas program. Follow the IBA Canada Facebook page for program updates.

New Hybrid Warbler Discovered at LPBO

Photo: Ken Burrell

5 October 2016 – Monitoring migration reveals information about population trends, migratory and stopover behaviour, and sometimes even speciation. In Spring 2014, researchers at Long Point Bird Observatory discovered an interesting-looking warbler resembling a Magnolia. Detailed inspection of the bird’s plumage, combined with genetic analysis, showed it was the first-ever documented hybrid between Magnolia and Chestnut-sided warblers. The results were published by Ken Burrell (Natural Resources Inc.), Jeff Skevington and Scott Kelso (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada), and Mike Burrell, Dayna LeClair, and Stu Mackenzie (Bird Studies Canada) in the most recent issue of the Wilson Journal of Ornithology. (View the abstract here.) This discovery is the first documented hybridization of Chestnut-sided Warbler.

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