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18 November 2016 
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         INTERNATIONAL

 

Gear Up for Christmas Bird Count Season!


Photo: Gregor Beck

18 November 2016 – Another Christmas Bird Count season is just around the corner. This great winter birding tradition started in 1900, making this its 117th season. Every year between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Western Hemisphere help monitor populations of wintering birds – including more than 14,000 Canadian birders at over 450 counts.
   If you have taken part in the past, thank you very much, and we hope you’re gearing up for this season. If you haven’t participated before, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website to find a count near you. If you’d like to start a new count in your area, contact the Canadian Christmas Bird Count coordinator at cbc@birdscanada.org.
   Check out the regional summaries for last year’s Christmas Bird Count on the Audubon website.
   Bird Studies Canada relies on donations to make the Christmas Bird Count possible in Canada. Your gift supports national coordination, data collection, and analysis – and you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt. Please donate online or mail a cheque to Bird Studies Canada with a note that the funds are for the Christmas Bird Count. We appreciate your support!

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        NATIONAL

 

Christmas Bird Count for Kids


Photo: Joanne Goddard

18 November 2016 – The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) shares the fun of the traditional CBC with new generations of young birders and their families across North America. Coordinated and hosted by local naturalist groups, CBC4Kids events connect youth with experienced birders, build bird identification and monitoring skills, and contribute observations to eBird Canada. Last season, 104 bird species were reported from 39 CBC4Kids events across Canada!
   To coordinate an event in your community, see the CBC4Kids flyer. Please register your event by emailing education@birdscanada.org.
   To find an event near you, visit the CBC4Kids map. Share your event or follow along on Twitter using #CBC4Kids.
   The Christmas Bird Count for Kids is supported nationally by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Armstrong Bird Food. The CBC4Kids was established in the U.S. by Sonoma Birding in 2007. Bird Studies Canada is the Canadian partner.

Monitoring Wetland and Waterbird Health


Least Bittern Photo: Emma Buck & Jeremy Bensette

14 November 2016 – Bird Studies Canada recently published three articles that will enhance our understanding of bird populations and inform efforts to monitor wetlands and conserve waterbirds. One in Avian Conservation and Ecology formulates improved marsh bird survey protocols to better detect population changes and threats. Another in Wetlands describes the latest and most effective methods for determining wetland health to better direct conservation efforts. The third article, in our magazine BirdWatch Canada, describes the complicated negative effects of low water levels, the non-native Eurasian Common Reed (Phragmites australis), and type-E botulism on waterbirds, especially in Lake Erie where a major resurgence of water pollution issues requires immediate attention.
   Follow the links above to read the full articles by our staff Dr. Doug Tozer, Dr. Kiel Drake, Myles Falconer, Gregor Beck, and many collaborators. These projects were made possible by thousands of dedicated volunteer Citizen Scientists, and were undertaken with the financial support of numerous partners. Special thanks to the Kenneth M. Molson Foundation, the John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Funding Available for Canadian Bird Research and Conservation Projects

14 November 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is now accepting applications to the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund for Bird Research and Preservation (the Baillie Fund) for the 2017 grant cycle. A portion of funds raised through our annual Great Canadian Birdathon is allocated to the Baillie Fund to provide grants to individuals or groups for projects that further BSC’s mission. Since 1978, the Baillie Fund has provided grants totalling nearly $740,000 to 602 bird research and conservation projects across Canada. In reviewing grant applications, the Baillie Fund Trustees give priority to projects that engage the skills and enthusiasm of amateur naturalists and volunteers to help us understand, appreciate, and conserve Canadian birds in their natural environments.
   There are three granting programs, each with a different application and review process. Applications for Regular Grants are due by December 15, 2016; applications for Small Grants are due by January 15, 2017; and applications for the James L. Baillie Student Award for Field Research, administered by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, are due by February 15, 2017. Visit our website for more information about the Baillie Fund grant programs, past grants, and how to apply for a grant, or contact the Baillie Fund Secretary at acoughlan@birdscanada.org or 1-866-518-0212.

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        REGIONAL

 

Protecting Seabird Colonies

18 November 2016 – Introduced species are among the greatest threats to seabird populations worldwide. This year, Bird Studies Canada staff travelled to the Englefield Bay Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in Haida Gwaii to learn about the raccoon threat there. These small offshore islands support over 100,000 pairs of seabirds, which have declined since the 1940s when raccoons were introduced to start a fur trade.
   Remote cameras baited with sardine cans were placed on five of the islands between May and September. The great news is that they did not show any signs of raccoons. However, this could be due to sporadic and temporary residency of raccoons on the islands. Spotlight surveys along the shore of the nearby and larger Moresby Island revealed numerous raccoons less than 100 m away. As Moresby is likely the source of animals, a cull is planned there in 2017 to promote recovery of important seabird populations.
   This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Training Future Leaders in Bird Research

14 November 2016 – On November 5-6, Long Point Bird Observatory hosted a North American Banding Council bander and trainer certification session. Ten long-term volunteers and associates of Bird Studies Canada were put through a rigorous evaluation process by six NABC trainers. In the end, all candidates were certified (seven as banders and three as trainers). Candidates were mostly Canadian (from Ontario, Québec, and British Columbia), but also included trainees in our Latin American Training Program from Peru and Brazil.

Swan Surveyors Needed in Delta, BC

14 November 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is piloting a new winter swan count in the Fraser River Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) to monitor swan numbers. The main goal of the study is to assess habitat use by the birds, and relate this to the availability of suitable land. This IBA is exceptionally valuable to wildlife, but faces increasing pressure on the land from development. A secondary goal of the study is to raise the IBA’s public profile and highlight Delta’s importance for wintering swans.
   Counts will happen once a month from November to March, and will consist of a coordinated effort by a team of observers over the whole IBA, following the eBird IBA Protocol. If you’re interested in signing up to help with this survey, please email our BC Program Manager Dr. David Bradley (dbradley@birdscanada.org).

Restoring Long Point’s Marshes

25 October 2016 – Bird Studies Canada recently hosted the 10th anniversary reception of the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project. This partnership has been helping to restore the health and function of Long Point’s marshes, and reducing wildlife mortality along the causeway traversing them. Over $2.5 million from government and non-government resources in Canada and the U.S. has funded the installation of wildlife fencing, two water culverts, and 12 wildlife transit tunnels (eco-passages) over the past 10 years. Previously, the 3.5-km road was one of the deadliest for reptiles and amphibians in North America, but studies show roadkill is down 80% since the improvements started.
   Bird Studies Canada’s long-standing advisor on the project, Jon McCracken, notes, “The Causeway was built in 1927. If such a road – which spans some of the world’s most important wetlands – was proposed today, it would be an elevated roadway. Our only choice now is to try to mitigate impact and minimize roadkill losses. This project has been doing exactly that. We’ve also been restoring important ecological wetland connections on both sides of the road, which are good for birds and fishes too.” This is an excellent example of the many advisory roles our staff perform across Canada.

 

Bird-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas


 

The holiday season is coming soon! Looking for gifts that support bird research and conservation?

A gift membership in Project FeederWatch makes an excellent present for bird lovers. By counting the kinds and numbers of birds at their feeders, participants help our scientists monitor and protect winter bird populations. Joining is easy, and you don’t need to be an expert to get involved!

For a donation of $35 or more, you’ll receive a Bird Studies Canada gift membership, participation in our Citizen Science programs, fun and informative project materials, and a subscription to our BirdWatch Canada magazine. Sign up online or call us toll-free at 1-888-448-2473 ext. 121. Please order by December 1.

Personal copies of The Messenger will soon be available in Canada. Just in time for the holidays, the award-winning documentary will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 22. Pre-orders for home video sales and for educational copies are being accepted now.

One way coffee lovers can help songbirds is by choosing more bird-friendly shade-grown, organic beans. Shop online for The Messenger Blend, a sweet, earthy medium roast. Birds and Beans donates 10% from each bag sold to Bird Studies Canada.

Thank you for your support!

 

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