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17 April 2015 
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         INTERNATIONAL

 

Remembering David Hussell


Photo: Ron Ridout

14 April 2015 – The ornithological world has lost a great mind and friend. David Hussell, a founder and driving spirit of Long Point Bird Observatory, passed away on April 10.
   David is perhaps best known for foundational work on using counts of migrating birds as a means of tracking population change in Canada’s remote boreal forest. David was one of the main instigators of Long Point Bird Observatory, which was founded in 1960 thanks to the efforts of the LPBO committee of the Ontario Bird Banding Association. He served as LPBO’s first Executive Director from 1974 to 1982. In this position, he developed most of the program areas carried on today by Bird Studies Canada.
   David continued to be involved in LPBO and Bird Studies Canada research activities throughout his subsequent employment as Research Scientist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and throughout his retirement. David also served as a trainer, mentor, and colleague for countless students and aspiring biologists, many of whom went on to pursue distinguished careers in the field.
   David received numerous awards recognizing his work, including lifetime achievement awards from the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, the Hawk Migration Association of North America, and the Nuttall Ornithological Society. His contributions to the field of ornithology were immeasurable, and he was a truly remarkable man. He will be greatly missed.

Neotropical Waterbird Census - The Canadian Connection


Black-crowned Night-Heron Photo: Tim Stewart

7 April 2015 – This year’s Neotropical Waterbird Census (NWC) has been completed thanks in part to the financial support of Environment Canada and Bird Studies Canada. The NWC is coordinated by Aves Argentina for Wetlands International and spans the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
   This year, more than 600 volunteers visited about 400 sites known for their importance to waterbirds, including Important Bird Areas and Ramsar sites. An impressive 1.8 million individual birds and up to 120 waterbird species per country were recorded. Why is this important to Canada? The census records many of ‘our’ birds when they are abroad, and is one of the few reliable ways we can track their population numbers. Results from the NWC feed into the Waterbird Population Estimates Database, a critical tool for informing conservation actions at IBAs around the world, including here at home.
   By the way, have you seen our IBA video?

Phenomenal Mystery of Migration Solved!

1 April 2015 – Each fall, migrating Blackpoll Warblers disappear from North America’s east coast, and birders and scientists had long suspected they flew directly over the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean or even South America. This mystery has now been solved by a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, the University of Guelph, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre, Acadia University, and Bird Studies Canada.
   Miniaturized tracking devices have proven that these small (12 g) Blackpoll Warblers embark on non-stop flights averaging 2540 km over the Atlantic Ocean to their stopover and wintering destinations. These amazing birds are able to accomplish this flight by nearly doubling their weight prior to migration, and taking advantage of favourable weather conditions.
   This sort of information helps us identify areas of critical importance for conservation efforts. The research also impresses the need for multi-national collaboration in the conservation of almost all North American bird species.

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        NATIONAL

 

Birding for Conservation

17 April 2015 – The Great Canadian Birdathon is up and running. Birders have already raised over $20,000! But we need your help to reach our goal.
   We’re working to inspire the thousands of Canadians who appreciate birds as much as we do to join our efforts for bird science and conservation. Our goal is to support wild birds and their habitats across the country. As always, if you register, you can even name your local conservation club to receive a portion of the funds you raise.
   Bird Studies Canada’s President, Steven Price, is participating too. Please check out Steven’s Birdathon page
   Will you join us for the 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon? Getting started is easier than ever. First, register and create your personalized webpage. Ask your friends and family to support your Great Canadian Birdathon – spread the word for birds! Then choose your day in May and go birding for conservation.
   New for 2015: Participants will receive a limited edition, Canadian-made Great Canadian Birdathon t-shirt by PRBY Apparel (suggested $35 donation).

Who Gives a Hoot?


Northern Saw-whet Owl Photo: Jim Flynn

14 April 2015 – Hundreds of Citizen Scientists listen for, observe, and document Canada’s owls for the Nocturnal Owl Survey. Owl surveys are under way across the country. In the current issue of Home at Home magazine, Home Hardware highlights Canada’s owls, national Citizen Science efforts, and the great work of BC Breeding Bird Atlas contributor, The Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of British Columbia. Thanks to Home Hardware for sharing our fascination with owls!

Breeding Bird Surveyors Wanted

10 April 2015 – The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the primary source of long-term, large-scale data on North America’s breeding bird populations. Volunteer observers are assigned to cover a roadside route consisting of 50 designated stops (spaced every 800 m), which takes about five hours to complete. Routes are surveyed once a year during the peak of the breeding season (late May to early July). Surveyors must have excellent birding skills and be able to identify all regional species by sight and song. In addition, they should be able to commit to surveying their route for at least two years. While over 700 routes are currently assigned to long-term observers, new volunteers are needed throughout Canada to fill gaps in survey coverage. Visit the BBS map to find a vacant route near you.
   This season represents the 50th year that surveyors have run BBS routes in Canada. Join the team and help us celebrate this incredible milestone by starting your own adventure! To volunteer, contact your regional BBS Coordinator.

Major Paper Published on Songbird Breeding Origins

30 March 2015 – The current issue of Avian Conservation and Ecology (ACE) includes an article on the most comprehensive study ever undertaken to determine the geographic breeding origins of songbirds captured during migration in North America. Bird Studies Canada coordinated sampling of feathers from dozens of species at Canadian Migration Monitoring Network stations across Canada. Analyzing the isotope “signatures” of these feathers gives researchers a reasonable idea of where the feathers were grown. This is important information in our quest to interpret bird population trends and then target conservation efforts in the right geographic regions.
   Bird Studies Canada co-sponsors ACE in association with the Society of Canadian Ornithologists. Visit the ACE website to read the article. This research was supported by Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the US Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and participating migration monitoring stations.

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        REGIONAL

 

Volunteers Wanted for BC Shorebird Survey

16 April 2015 – The British Columbia Shorebird Survey is returning for a third year this summer. The project was launched in 2013 by Bird Studies Canada and Simon Fraser University to study Western Sandpiper abundance and behaviour with help from Citizen Scientists. The 2015 surveys will occur on the weekends of July 18-19 and August 15-16 at several sites around Vancouver, Victoria, eastern Vancouver Island, Tofino, and Washington.
   We’re looking for volunteers able to commit to two to three days of surveys, lasting two to three hours each day. We are hosting training and volunteer meet-ups in Victoria, Parksville, and Vancouver later this month. To learn more, register as a new or returning volunteer, or sign up for a training session, visit the project webpage. If you have questions, please contact David Bradley (dbradley@birdscanada.org) or David Hope (dhope@sfu.ca).

NS Piping Plover Conservation Event May 3

15 April 2015 – Over the past three years, Bird Studies Canada’s Nova Scotia Piping Plover Conservation Program has worked closely with White Point Beach Resort (in White Point, NS) on Piping Plover monitoring and habitat stewardship. Resort staff have helped share information with beachgoers, and local plovers have successfully produced three to four plover fledglings annually.
   White Point Beach Resort is hosting “International Piping Plover Day: Banding together to celebrate partnerships” on Sunday, May 3. The event brings together Piping Plover volunteers, nature enthusiasts, and biologists to discuss science and conservation of Piping Plovers across the species’ range. Special guests include Todd Pover (Conserve Wildlife New Jersey), Steven Price (President of Bird Studies Canada), and Jen Rock (Environment Canada). There will be presentations on Environment Canada’s banding study, work on the wintering grounds in The Bahamas, and Bird Studies Canada’s NS Piping Plover Program. Participants will also take part in habitat protection and plover band re-sighting activities. Learn more on our Piping Plover program Facebook page or check out the event flyer.

American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey Report

14 April 2015 – The 2014 summary report for Bird Studies Canada’s American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey is now available. Volunteers for this Ontario program record all American Woodcocks seen or heard at roadside survey points on one evening between April 20 and May 20 each year. The information is used to monitor the size of populations throughout North America, to guide management and conservation. We received data for an impressive 79% of the 104 routes assigned in 2014, and we’re hoping for even better returns in 2015! Many thanks to all volunteers and coordinators, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Canada, for making our 2014 season a success.
   Bird Studies Canada’s Ontario Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Jones has been contacting coordinators and volunteers regarding their 2015 survey plans. The American Woodcock survey is especially in need of participants in the regions of Grey, Bruce, Frontenac, Temiskaming, and Sudbury. There are a few additional routes available throughout the province. Anyone interested can review the online route map. To register for a particular route, email volunteer@birdscanada.org.

2015 BC Nightjar Survey

10 April 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is collaborating with WildResearch on the BC Nightjar Survey, a Citizen Science survey program for nightjars in British Columbia. Little is known about Common Nighthawk and Common Poorwill populations in BC, and there is concern that they may be declining.
   Volunteers across BC are needed to survey for nightjars between mid-June and mid-July. Each survey route will require two to three hours of surveying and one hour of data entry. Each route is a series of roadside stops and needs to be surveyed once per year during the nightjar breeding season. Anyone with a vehicle and good hearing is capable of conducting a BC Nightjar Survey!
   To learn more or sign up, visit the BC Nightjar Survey webpage or email nightjars@wildresearch.ca. Check out the BC Nightjar Survey 2014 Annual Report to learn more about the success of the program and preliminary results.

Ontario IBA Caretaker Workshop


Photo: Donna Talluto

25 March 2015 – With generous support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Environment Canada, a dozen IBA Canada Caretakers from eight of Ontario’s Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas met at our national office the weekend of March 21-22. This productive workshop gave Caretakers a chance to connect with each other and see the tools and resources available to help monitor and conserve these special places. We also took the opportunity to conduct a census of the Long Point Peninsula and Marshes IBA using the IBA Canada eBird protocol. Despite the late spring, the group tallied 5372 Tundra Swans (just under 2% of the world population).
   The Ontario IBA Program is still looking for individuals or groups to take on the IBA Caretaker role for their local Important Bird Area. If you’re interested in becoming a Caretaker or organizing a survey blitz, please email mburrell@birdscanada.org.

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