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25 July 2014 
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Lessons from “Martha”

Painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

25 July 2014 – The last Passenger Pigeon, “Martha,” died on September 1, 1914. Her species, which had numbered somewhere around 5 billion birds just 50 years earlier, died with her. How was it possible for the most abundant bird on the planet to become extinct so quickly? What factors contributed to the decline – and crash – of the Passenger Pigeon population? And what have we learned from the biggest species extermination that’s ever taken place at the hands of man?
   Bird Studies Canada’s Director of National Programs Jon McCracken considers these questions in a feature article for the Summer issue of our magazine BirdWatch Canada. Visit our website to read Jon’s reflection on the centennial of the species’ extinction, “One Hundred Years after Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon.”
   Interested in receiving quarterly issues of our magazine? Your online membership donation of CDN $35 or more entitles you to a BirdWatch Canada subscription and free participation in our Citizen Science programs, while providing valuable funding for Canada’s leading science-based bird conservation charity.

BirdLife Releases 2014 Red List Update

24 July 2014 – The conservation status of 361 newly-recognized bird species has been assessed for the first time by BirdLife International as part of the 2014 Red List update for birds. This year’s Red List update recognizes 10,425 bird species in total, with a new high of 213 bird species classified as Critically Endangered (the highest category of extinction risk). For details of species assessments, key habitats requiring immediate conservation attention, and more, please see “One tenth of bird species flying under the conservation radar” on the BirdLife website.
   IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species assesses the risk of extinction of a species should no conservation action be taken, and is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plant and animal species. BirdLife International is the Red List Authority for birds for the IUCN Red List. The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme is counteracting an increasingly diverse array of threats to birds by delivering conservation action – underpinned by science – where it is most needed.

Great Lakes MMP Newsletter

23 July 2014 – The 2014 edition of Bird Studies Canada’s Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program newsletter is now available online. This issue of The Marsh Monitor reviews activities and special projects over the past year, and provides annual population trends for marsh birds and frogs. Participants contributed to a special article on marsh bird broadcast equipment, and two were chosen to receive prizes: Karen Morgan and Norma Donovan. If you are looking for great tips on affordable (but extremely loud) equipment, you simply must read this issue.
   We thank the volunteers who collect data each year for the program across the Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes MMP is supported by Environment Canada, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Government of Ontario, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and Wildlife Habitat Canada.

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BIRDATHON Supports Canadian Bird Conservation

25 July 2014 – Donations are still coming in for Bird Studies Canada’s 2014 Baillie BIRDATHON.  Many thanks to all participants and sponsors! We also thank our 2014 Celebrity Guest Birder, American Birding Association President Jeff Gordon, for his efforts. Jeff tallied 152 species on his May 10 BIRDATHON around Long Point, Ontario.
   If you participated in this year’s BIRDATHON, please submit any funds you’ve collected by the August 1 deadline to increase your chances of winning one of the incredible prizes
   It’s not too late to show your support. Visit our website to sponsor a participant today!

Le Baillie BIRDATHON appuie la conservation des oiseaux du Canada

25 juillet 2014 – Études d’Oiseaux Canada (ÉOC) continue de recevoir les dons versés pour l’édition de 2014 du Baillie BIRDATHON. Nous sommes reconnaissants envers tous les participants et donateurs! Nous tenons également à remercier notre observateur invité de renom de 2014, Jeff Gordon, président de l’American Birding Association, pour tous les efforts qu’il a déployés. Le 10 mai, Jeff a dénombré 152 espèces d’oiseaux au cours de son recensement dans les environs de Long Point, en Ontario.
   Si vous avez participé au BIRDATHON de 2014, nous vous prions de nous transmettre les fonds que vous avez recueillis au plus tard le 1er août. Vous augmenterez ainsi vos chances de gagner l’un des merveilleux prix de cette année.
   Il n’est pas trop tard pour appuyer le BIRDATHON. Rendez-vous sur notre site Web pour soutenir un participant dès aujourd’hui!

BSC Members Tour Canadian North

2014 BSC Members’ Trip Photo: George Pond

22 July 2014 – Since 2008, Bird Studies Canada and Eagle-Eye Tours have offered an annual BSC members’ trip, with a portion of the proceeds donated to BSC to support our bird conservation work nationally. The sold-out 2014 members’ tour, led by Eagle-Eye Tours’ Richard Knapton and BSC Biologist & Science Educator Jody Allair, visited northern Alberta, Yellowknife, NT, and Cambridge Bay, NU.
   From July 1-11, participants toured the High Arctic and Northwest Territories and tallied an impressive total of 156 bird species. Trip highlights included several Yellow-billed Loons, Muskox, Arctic Hare and Fox, rafts of King Eiders in stunning breeding plumage, and 11 species of displaying and nesting shorebirds. Many thanks to the fantastic group of people who joined us on this unforgettable adventure. For photo highlights, visit BSC’s Facebook page.
   The next Bird Studies Canada/Eagle-Eye Tours trip will take BSC members to Trinidad and Tobago in December 2015.

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Atlassing in the Flood

Greater White-fronted Goose Photo: Christian Artuso

24 July 2014 – In 2013, the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas had to contend with numerous forest fires. This year, devastating floods wreaked havoc across the province and disrupted many carefully laid atlassing plans. (A derailment that closed the train line to Churchill caused further complications.) Our valiant volunteers and crew demonstrated extraordinary dedication in braving the miserable conditions to fill in white gaps on our survey effort maps.
   Nearly 4000 hours of atlassing have already been logged for this season, and many more still need to be entered. Highlights have included: the first confirmed breeding of Black Scoter; the atlas’s first Yellow-billed Loon, Greater White-fronted Goose, and Black-throated Blue Warbler; and the project’s second Snowy Owl.
   Point counting is complete! However, the final big push is now on to squeeze as much general atlassing as possible into areas that need it before the birds migrate south once more.

New Research on Piping Plovers in Atlantic Canada and Québec

Piping Plovers Photo: Ron d’Entremont

24 July 2014 – Despite limited population gains in Newfoundland-Labrador and Nova Scotia, the past six years have not been good for the recovery of endangered Piping Plovers in Atlantic Canada and Québec. Research initiated by Environment Canada intends to increase understanding of adult and juvenile survival rates, vulnerable periods in the plover’s life cycle, and where plovers migrate and spend the winter.
   A flag with a unique two-letter and/or number combination will be placed on the upper leg of adults and chicks. Coloured flags represent two plover breeding regions: black (and a limited number of white from 2013) for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and grey for southern Nova Scotia.
   Success of this study depends on collective efforts to re-sight banded plovers throughout the species’ range. In Nova Scotia, Bird Studies Canada’s Piping Plover Conservation Program will work with Environment Canada to train volunteers and partners on how to re-sight bands. Band re-sightings should be reported to Dr. Cheri Gratto-Trevor ( and include: 1) Flag colour, code, and leg location, and 2) where and when you observed the bird.

Middleton Chimney Swift Sign Unveiled

21 July 2014 – Staff and volunteers of Bird Studies Canada’s Maritimes SwiftWatch program monitor roost sites across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and have found that roughly 40% of the entire Maritimes Chimney Swift population roosts at just three schools: Middleton Regional High School in Middleton, NS; Temperance Street School in New Glasgow, NS; and Tobique Valley Middle High School in Plaster Rock, NB. This spring, BSC unveiled a “Meet the Chimney Swift” interpretive panel, permanently installed outside Nova Scotia’s Middleton Regional High School. The school’s chimney is one of the Maritimes’ most important roost sites, regularly hosting more than 250 swifts. The new sign combines creative student artwork with conservation information and stewardship suggestions for this Threatened species.
   Design and installation of the interpretive panel was generously supported by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Walmart Evergreen, Blomidon Naturalists Society, Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, Nature NB, the Nova Scotia Bird Society, Pictou County Naturalists Club, and Kennebecasis Naturalist Society, and was undertaken with financial support from the Government of Canada through the federal Department of the Environment.


BSC Online Store Closing Soon

Please note: As of August 31, Bird Studies Canada will no longer operate an online store. Take a moment to visit the BSC Store before the end of August if you wish to order great items such as bird guides, educational games, puzzles, children’s books, and more! Thank you for your support!


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