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30 June 2016 
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         INTERNATIONAL

 

Extraordinary Bird Tracking Network Grows


Photo: David Bell

30 June 2016 – The Motus Wildlife Tracking System continues to expand! The growing Motus network supports exciting new areas of research, and will help answer critical questions for the conservation of birds and other migratory animals.
   This spring, we announced a partnership between Bird Studies Canada and the Panama Audubon Society to monitor migratory bird movements through Panama. At the same time, we began installing stations along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas and Louisiana, in collaboration with Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Houston Audubon Society, University of Saskatchewan, the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, American Bird Conservancy, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Researchers from University of Massachusetts and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center are filling key gaps in Florida.
   In Canada, two new provinces came online this month. We launched a station at Gros Morne National Park, NL with Parks Canada and University of Windsor. In Vancouver, BC, four new stations are now operational, in collaboration with Environment Canada and Simon Fraser University.
   The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a program of Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with collaborating researchers and organizations. Since its 2014 inception, the Motus network has grown to include 100+ collaborating research groups and 300+ receiving stations.

Disaster on the Flyway?

22 June 2016 – Declining migratory shorebird populations face potentially insurmountable challenges along the East Asian-Australian Flyway, according to a new article for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
   Each year, 8 million birds migrate between Australia and the Arctic Circle. Reporter Ann Jones writes that journeys of shorebirds such as godwits, snipes, stilts, turnstones, and curlews are timed to coincide with food abundance – from a mosquito boom in the Arctic in June and July, to shellfish on the Yellow Sea mudflats in April and May, and a variety of food sources along the shores of Australasia in November and December.
   With intertidal zones under threat, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for these long-distance migrants to find the habitats they need. Coastal wetlands are being destroyed for development. And earlier insect booms caused by climate change mean hatching chicks are now missing peak food abundance.
   For details, read the full story “Flying for their Lives.”
   Learn more about the largest global network of key sites for biodiversity on BirdLife International’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas page. Or visit IBA Canada to join Bird Studies Canada’s efforts to conserve sites that provide essential habitat for bird populations.

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        NATIONAL

 

Please Be BirdWise at the Lake


Photo: Sandra Horvath

30 June 2016 – As summer weather warms up, Canadians and visitors alike are drawn to our 3 million inland lakes for a little fun. Recreational lake users are likely to encounter waterbirds and other wildlife with vulnerable young at this time of year. For example, most Common Loon chicks across the country will have hatched by Canada Day. Small chicks are surprisingly difficult to see. They are also vulnerable to predation, especially if separated from their parents – which can happen when boaters approach too closely, even in small, quiet watercraft.
   Bird Studies Canada asks boaters of all kinds to avoid disturbing loons this summer. If you see waterbirds, please slow down and steer clear. To learn more about loon conservation or to participate in the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, please visit our website.

Launching Biology Careers

28 June 2016 – Bird Studies Canada’s summer staff are supporting bird research and conservation through placements with our scientists.
   In the Maritimes, 14 seasonal staff are gaining extensive field experience supporting Piping Plover monitoring, conducting surveys for the Maritimes Marsh Monitoring and High Elevation Landbird programs, maintaining the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, and surveying for swifts and swallows in agricultural areas. These efforts are funded in part by Canada Summer Jobs, National Wetland Conservation Fund, New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund, Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund, and Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education.
   Funding from Canada Summer Jobs, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario enabled us to hire 10 summer staff to support our Ontario programs. Activities of these field biologists include: stewardship and surveying for swifts and swallows, at-risk forest birds, and marsh birds and frogs; and assisting with Golden-winged Warbler research and our Toronto urban birds program.
   In our B.C. office, a student is gaining experience in data analysis, report writing, and program delivery, with funding from the University of British Columbia BRITE internship program. A key assignment is to help analyze 15 years of data from the BC-Yukon Nocturnal Owl Survey.
   We gratefully acknowledge our funders, and our outstanding summer staff, for all the valuable work being done.

Schoolyard Bird Blitz: Season Summary


Photo: Liza Barney

24 June 2016 – Congratulations to everyone who participated in Bird Studies Canada’s first Schoolyard Bird Blitz
   In May, students across the country surveyed the birdlife in their schoolyards, and reported a grand total of 70 species and 1483 individual birds. The American Robin was the most frequently reported bird. The impressive diversity of species included the American Kestrel and Spotted Sandpiper (BC), Common Raven and Boreal Chickadee (SK), Bald Eagle and Indigo Bunting (ON), Bobolink and Ruby-throated Hummingbird (QC), and Alder Flycatcher and American Redstart (NB).
   Thank you to all the teachers and students who contributed their Citizen Science observations. Stay tuned for new resources and the next Schoolyard Bird Blitz in May 2017.
   Bird Studies Canada thanks the Canadian Wildlife Federation and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting the Schoolyard Bird Blitz.

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        REGIONAL

 

Monitoring Coastal Bird Mortality in Québec

30 June 2016 – Seasonal activity for the Québec Beached Bird Survey is on the rise. So far this year, surveyors have submitted observations from 41 beaches.
   This long-term program collects baseline information on the causes and rates of mortality of seabirds, and other species, using the Estuary and the Québec portion of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. Last year, data were submitted for 239 visits to 52 beaches, covering nearly 80 km along the Côte-Nord and the Bas-Saint-Laurent, and around the Gaspésie peninsula. In total, 102 beached birds of 16 species were reported, none of which were oiled. Some participants also collected checklist data of the live birds they encountered, providing a valuable profile of beach, shore, and inshore water use by close to 57,000 individuals of 129 species.
   Do you regularly walk a beach in one of the above regions during the year? If you’re interested in joining the survey, email Andrew P. Coughlan (acoughlan@birdscanada.org).
   This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, and is conducted with the help of the Club des Ornithologues du Bas-Saint-Laurent.

New Great Lakes MMP Report

28 June 2016 – Bird Studies Canada recently published a report that provides a snapshot of the occurrence of marsh birds and frogs within the Nottawasaga Valley - Lake Simcoe watershed compared to other watersheds in southern Ontario, using Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program data. The report concludes that marshes within the Nottawasaga Valley - Lake Simcoe watershed are healthy compared to most southern Ontario marshes, and that the future health of the watershed’s wetlands depends on balancing further development with effective conservation of wetlands and surrounding landscapes.
   Visit our website to read the full report by Dr. Doug Tozer. To learn more about the program or to volunteer, contact Kathy Jones at volunteer@birdscanada.org.

Webinars Feature B.C. Atlas

28 June 2016 – Over the next two weeks, Bird Studies Canada will host two free webinars on the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia. Each standalone one-hour webinar will help users get the most out of their online atlas experiences.
   A general session for atlassers across B.C., as well as the wider birding community, will take place on Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. Pacific.
   A second session targets environmental professionals, including staff of government agencies, non-profit organizations, industry, and environmental consultants. This webinar will be held on Thursday, July 14, at 10 a.m. PT.
   Anyone interested in participating in one of these sessions should register online at one of these links: general interest or environmental professionals. Please join us in celebrating and exploring Canada’s first online bird atlas!
   The B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, and more than 150 other donors and special contributors.

LPBO’s 57th Spring Migration Monitoring Season

22 June 2016 – In the 57th spring of migration monitoring at Long Point Bird Observatory, staff and volunteers banded 14,661 birds of 124 species, and counted millions of birds of 300+ species. As always, there were many interesting observations, which are summarized on the LPBO Sightings Board
   Migration monitoring results inform population trend analyses and research initiatives. This spring, LPBO supported research by numerous university students, in addition to sharing data and providing training. Study topics included night calls of migratory birds, differential migration of male and female warblers, temperature regulation and physiology of migratory bats, and tick-borne diseases. View our most recent Program Report for more information about research conducted at LPBO.
   To learn more about migration monitoring in Canada, please visit Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Migration Monitoring Network pages.

New Ontario IBA Coordinator

1 June 2016 – Bird Studies Canada has hired Amanda Bichel as Ontario Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Coordinator. Please join us in welcoming Amanda! Based at our National Office in Port Rowan, ON, Amanda will continue and build on the good work of previous coordinator Mike Burrell, and align with our national effort to establish and support IBA Caretaker Groups, educate the public about birds, advocate for protection of IBAs, restore habitats, and more.
   For more information, consult the IBA Canada website, contact Amanda at ontarioiba@birdscanada.org, and check the IBA Canada Facebook page for program updates. Bird Studies Canada thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Wildlife Habitat Canada for supporting our work on IBAs.

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