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17 July 2015 
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         INTERNATIONAL

 

Secrets of Bird Movements Revealed


Swainson’s Thrush Photo: Nick Saunders

15 July 2015 – Groundbreaking research using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System is uncovering critical information to guide conservation. This spring, several thrushes were tracked from Colombia to far-flung locations in Canada and the U.S. The result: amazing new details of these birds’ habitat use at wintering and stopover areas, and of their migratory flights.
    In March and April 2015, 67 Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked thrushes were outfitted with radio-transmitters in Colombia. Researchers collected real-time data on their local movements, gaining a phenomenal record of the birds’ habitat use and length of stay in specific areas.
    Four of these individuals were subsequently detected by Motus stations in Texas, Saskatchewan, and Ontario during their northbound spring migration. A fifth was detected on its breeding grounds on the coast of Hudson Bay. In one remarkable example, a Swainson’s Thrush that left the Colombian study site, a shade-grown coffee plantation, on April 14 was detected in Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan on May 18. The thrush made an astounding journey of nearly 6000 km in just 34 days, flying at least 175 km per day for a month!
    Visit Bird Studies Canada’s website to learn more.
    Motus is a program of Bird Studies Canada. This research was made possible through collaboration with partners SELVA (Research for Conservation in the Neotropics), University of Saskatchewan, Universidad de los Andes, Environment Canada, and Acadia University. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

New Issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology

10 July 2015 – The June issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology includes 10 research articles, as well as a guest editorial on migratory bird protection highlighting cormorants, and an essay on methods for detecting thresholds for developing conservation targets. Articles include: density dependence and phenological mismatch in Canada Geese; origins of passerines migrating through Canadian migration monitoring stations; Bald Eagle population increases in Newfoundland; mouse predation on Tristan Albatrosses; Golden-winged Warbler nest survival and use of regenerating forest stands; changes in heron and egret populations on the Great Lakes; ultra-violet plumage signalling in urban and wild Florida Scrub-Jays; use of forest islands within neotropical savanna by 12 parrot species; and Piping Plover response to storms.
    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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        NATIONAL

 

Presenting the BC Breeding Bird Atlas


Photo: Rob Butler

15 July 2015 – Bird Studies Canada and our partners are pleased and proud to present the first installment of the British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas, the most comprehensive bilingual wildlife atlas on the web. Take a look – we think you’ll like what you find!
    Almost all major sections and more than 100 species accounts are now publicly available. We have developed an attractive new two-page design for a print option (note the icon at the top right of each species account).
    We have many more species accounts completed and ready for translation, so once we secure funding for this, we will post them online. Soon we’ll expand the Research and Conservation section too, to include an education component, and a chapter on what we’ve learned. We’ll add to the current content with batches of substantive new bilingual material as it is made ready. So please keep checking back!
    This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Visit the atlas website for a full list of project partners and personnel.

Canada Protects New National Park and Marine Conservation Area

24 June 2015 – Canada has officially granted federal protection to two new areas.
    Qausuittuq National Park on Bathurst Island in the western High Arctic is Canada’s 45th, and newest, national park. The decision is very good news for Snowy Owls, King Eiders, snow geese, several jaeger and gull species, and other wildlife, including the endangered Peary Caribou. Priceless historic and prehistoric Inuit cultural values also gain protection.
    Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons are among the bird beneficiaries of the new Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, covering one million hectares of Lake Superior and adjacent shoreline. The reserve is considered one of the world’s largest freshwater marine protected areas. Bird Studies Canada’s president Steven Price participated in the original commitment to create this new area, in Nipigon, ON, in 2007.
    Legislation to establish both of these protected areas came into effect on June 24.

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        REGIONAL

 

Québec Breeding Bird Atlas Update


Willow Ptarmigan Photo: Ron Ridout

15 July 2015 – Five years of data collection for the Québec Breeding Bird Atlas in the southern part of the province (south of 50°30ꞌ N) concluded in 2014. The atlas team has embarked on the next phase, preparing to publish results. Bird Studies Canada’s National Data Centre and National Geographic Information Systems Laboratory staff are notably working on the database and developing maps for the species accounts.
    In northern Québec, data collection is ongoing to ensure adequate coverage of this vast territory. Again this year, Bird Protection Québec generously sponsored a field crew. Visit the BPQ website to learn more about this team’s experiences. Bird Studies Canada’s Baillie Fund, financed through the Great Canadian Birdathon, also helped by providing a grant to offset travel costs of volunteer atlassers surveying in the north.
    Many of the field crews and volunteers are now back with reports of birds that few of us have the chance to see during the breeding season, including Willow Ptarmigan, Red-throated Loon, Arctic Tern, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and American Pipit!
    This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Help Monitor Common Nighthawks in Toronto!

15 July 2015 – 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.
    Bring the whole family for Nighthawk Night on August 28 at 6 p.m. (weather permitting; rain date August 29) to learn about nighthawks and their amazing migration. Enjoy refreshments and a prize raffle, look at museum specimens, and watch the skies for the real thing! Meet at High Park’s Hawk Hill, just north of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot. Chairs and binoculars are encouraged, but not necessary.
    Can’t get enough of nighthawks? Bird Studies Canada is also looking for volunteers to help monitor these birds every evening from August 15 to September 6. Come by for one night, or every night. All are welcome! For more information, visit our Common Nighthawk page or contact Emily Rondel at erondel@birdscanada.org.
    Nighthawk Night is run in partnership with the High Park Nature Centre, with generous support from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

2015 American Woodcock Status Report


Photo: Frank & Sandra Horvath

14 July 2015 – The 2015 American Woodcock Population Status report covering northeastern North America is now available. According to data collected by participants in Bird Studies Canada’s American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey, the number of woodcocks in Ontario declined by 1% per year between 1968 and 2015. The results also show a 2% annual decline in the province between 2005 and 2015, one of the few times a significant negative decade-long trend has been seen for the species in Ontario.
    Bird Studies Canada thanks everyone who participated in the survey. Ontario volunteers completed 80 survey routes in 2015, making the province the third-largest provincial or state contributor to the survey – only Michigan (109 routes) and Wisconsin (81 routes) completed more.
    This program is delivered in Ontario by Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Flooding Destroys Plover Nest

30 June 2015 – In recent issues of our enews, we mentioned an active Piping Plover nest on the Toronto Islands – the first nesting of Piping Plover on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario in 80 years. Unfortunately, the nest was destroyed by heavy storms in late June, and it does not appear that the pair will re-nest at that location. Visit the Hanlan’s Point Piping Plovers website for details.
    Volunteer wardens provided valuable stewardship services at the site, as well as sharing conservation information with beach walkers. And the fact that the birds had come from beaches along Georgian Bay and Lake Michigan reinforces the importance of a regional network of conserved sites.

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