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7 August 2015 
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Motus System Documents Amazing Migrations

Gray-cheeked Thrush Photo: Nick Saunders

5 August 2015 – In the last edition of our enews, we reported on five thrushes tracked from Colombia to Texas, Saskatchewan, and Ontario by researchers using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. (For details, see our July 15 news story Secrets of Bird Movements Revealed.)
   Since our last announcement, we’ve received data showing that an additional 14 birds tagged in Colombia by SELVA passed through Indiana and Ohio on their northbound spring migration. These birds were detected by Motus stations operated by researchers from Texas Tech University and Southern Illinois University, with support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
   The research continues to yield amazing results. One of the newly detected Gray-cheeked Thrushes travelled over 3200 km from Colombia to Indiana in just 3.3 days, meaning it flew an average of 986 km a day!
   In total, 19 of 67 thrushes tagged this season in Colombia have been detected so far: 14 Gray-cheeked Thrushes and 5 Swainson’s Thrushes. Visit our updated animated map to view the birds’ journeys.

Examining Monarch Butterfly Declines

5 August 2015 – Monarch butterfly populations have declined steadily at overwintering sites in Mexico over the last 20 years. Little is known about what’s causing the declines, and whether declines are also occurring across North American breeding grounds, and during southbound migration to Mexico each fall.
   This week, seven monarch studies were published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. The articles examine population trends using data collected by Citizen Scientists. Included in this series is a paper by Dr. Tara Crewe and Jon McCracken of Bird Studies Canada, examining long-term trends in monarch numbers counted migrating through Long Point, Ontario from 1995-2014. Monarchs were counted daily during fall migration by Long Point Bird Observatory volunteers. The results suggest that the number of monarchs migrating through Long Point has declined by up to 7.8% per year since 1995.

Successful Ornithology Meeting Held in Nova Scotia

Photo: Holly Lightfoot

28 July 2015 – The Association of Field Ornithologists, the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, and the Wilson Ornithological Society held their 2015 Joint Annual Meeting at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia from July 15-19. Bird Studies Canada was well represented!
   BSC’s Atlantic Program Manager Dr. Laura Tranquilla assisted on the Scientific Program Committee. Our Nova Scotia Program Coordinator Sue Abbott co-organized a session on the successes, challenges, and techniques for measuring outcomes of bird conservation projects, and she discussed our NB and NS Piping Plover conservation program. Holly Lightfoot presented a habitat analysis from the Maritimes Marsh Monitoring Program. Ally Manthorne presented data collected through Maritimes SwiftWatch. A presentation on BSC’s Ontario Barn Swallow Project highlighted changes in swallow habitat use.
   Many of Bird Studies Canada’s National Science Advisory Council members were authors on talks. Dr. Erica Dunn, Chair of BSC’s Baillie Fund committee, gave the Margaret Morse Nice Medal plenary lecture on “Bird Observatories: Diversity and Opportunity.”
   It was a great pleasure and honour to be part of this meeting that brought together the ideas, actions, and science behind bird conservation.

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Swallow Roost Sightings Wanted

7 August 2015 – Across Canada, many swallows have fledged their young and have begun to gather on wires, forage over fields, and roost communally in dense flocks.
   Swallows arrive by the hundreds in marsh areas to roost overnight. These post-breeding roosts often include a mix of swallow species, and reach peak numbers by late summer.
   Bird Studies Canada is searching for swallow roosts. You can help! If you have seen a roost site, please report it on our Swifts and Swallows Casual Observation Reporting Form. Are you interested in finding swallow roost sites but unsure where to look? Contact Kristyn Richardson at for help.
   Chimney Swift roost observations can be reported on the same form. And if you know the location of swallow or Chimney Swift nests, please share that information through Project NestWatch. Thank you! Your observations help us better understand the behaviour patterns and habitat requirements of these declining birds.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

6 August 2015 – Volunteers are being sought for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, to help make our country’s beaches, rivers, wetlands, and lakes cleaner and healthier for everyone. No matter what form it comes in, shoreline litter puts wildlife and people at risk. The Shoreline Cleanup invites Canadians to support the effort, get outside, and transform your community into a litter-free environment. Shoreline cleanup events will take place across the country between August 15 and November 30.
   Visit the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup website to learn more about joining or leading a cleanup. This nationwide conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF is presented by Loblaw Companies Limited.

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Seeking Volunteers in BC

Photo: Karen Barry

5 August 2015 – The 17th season of the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey begins on September 13, and we have several vacant sites in Vancouver, Tofino, and Ucluelet. This long-term monitoring program helps identify population and distribution changes in overwintering waterbirds. Volunteers conduct counts of ducks, loons, grebes, gulls, and other waterbirds on the second Sunday of each month throughout the winter. We welcome all our new and returning volunteers, and hope you enjoy the surveys!
   Bird Studies Canada is also seeking volunteers to assist with a new bird-window collision monitoring project in downtown Vancouver. Surveys will be conducted in September and October, and involve walking along a route just after dawn for about 20 minutes to look for evidence of collisions at various buildings. The results will help our scientists assess mortality rates, identify vulnerable species, and understand the impacts of collisions in Vancouver.
   To learn more about or volunteer for either of these projects, please contact Karen Devitt at or 1-877-349-2473.

Preliminary Québec Atlas Findings

Photo: Marc Lapointe/QuébecOiseaux

4 August 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is proud to be partnering with Environment Canada and the Regroupement QuébecOiseaux on the second Québec Breeding Bird Atlas. While fieldwork north of 50°30ꞌ N is ongoing, data collection for the southern part of the province ended in 2014. Preliminary data analyses clearly show that although certain species or groups of species have increased since the first atlas (1996), others have declined. Learn more in an article written by Gaétan Duquette that recently appeared in the magazine QuébecOiseaux. (Although the article is currently only available in French, we will share preliminary results soon in our magazine BirdWatch Canada.)

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