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8 May 2015 
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         INTERNATIONAL

 

Avian Conservation and Ecology Keeps Getting Better!

5 May 2015 – Thanks to major efforts by the editors of the online journal Avian Conservation and Ecology, the time between submission of papers and an initial decision has been cut to six weeks or less. Such a quick turnaround time is almost unheard of in the world of ornithology, making the journal a top choice for timely publication. This open-access, fully electronic scientific journal accepts a broad range of articles relevant to the bird conservation community, and is sponsored by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists and Bird Studies Canada. Visit the journal’s website to read the current issue and past issues, or to submit an article for publication.

New Study: Shorebird Biofilm Feeding


Photo: Catherine Jardine

29 April 2015 – Over 60% of the Western Sandpiper’s global population uses the Fraser River Estuary Important Bird Area as a critical migratory stopover and refueling location. It was recently discovered that in addition to consuming intertidal invertebrates there, these shorebirds also feed on a substance known as biofilm, a thin layer of sugars and microbes that grows on the surface of mudflats.
   Bird Studies Canada biologists and collaborators have published the paper “Biofilm Consumption and Variable Diet Composition of Western Sandpipers during Migratory Stopover” in PLos ONE. The study found that biofilm was consumed throughout the entire Fraser Estuary, and that biofilm is essential to Western Sandpipers, making up between one quarter and one half of their diet.
   These findings highlight the need to carefully monitor and manage development affecting Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas – and the importance of understanding how human activities may impact biofilm, a vital resource for migrating shorebirds.

Seabird Habitat Successfully Restored


Ancient Murrelet Photo: Glenn Bartley www.glennbartley.com

15 April 2015 – Parks Canada and the Haida Nation have announced that Arichika Island in Haida Gwaii is now free of the invasive rats that for years have been devastating colonies of ground-nesting seabirds in the region. Remote islands along Canada’s west coast in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site are breeding grounds for a considerable proportion of several globally-significant seabird populations, including about half of the world’s population of Ancient Murrelets, a Species at Risk in Canada.
   Arichika Island is recovering thanks to a restoration project implemented by the Government of Canada and the Haida Nation in collaboration with international partners experienced in island restoration and invasive species removal. Find details in the April 15 Parks Canada news release. Learn more about the groundbreaking Night Birds Returning project in the article “Making Islands Rat-Free Again for Seabirds” from the Spring 2014 edition of Bird Studies Canada’s magazine BirdWatch Canada.

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        NATIONAL

 

Join the Great Canadian Birdathon: Save Birds AND Win Prizes!

8 May 2015 – During the month of May, thousands of Canadians from coast to coast will take part in the Great Canadian Birdathon. This is the best time for you to join! By becoming a participant or supporter, you will raise the critical funds we need for Canada’s birds, and encourage more Canadians to discover the fascinating birds around us.
   Participants have the chance to win incredible prizes, including an amazing birding vacation from Eagle-Eye Tours, and they receive the exclusive 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon t-shirt, Canadian-made by PRBY Apparel. Your Birdathon day will have a positive impact on conservation!
   Sign-up is easy. Just visit our website to get started on your personal webpage today.
   We’re also excited to feature Bird Studies Canada’s very own Steven Price as our 2015 “Guest” Birder! It’s Steven’s first Birdathon as our president. You can show your support for Steven here. We’re grateful for your contribution!

Help Monitor Loons and Lake Health


Common Loon Photo: Dave Gignac

8 May 2015 – Common Loons are returning to their territories on inland lakes. Do you spend at least one day a month in summer (June-August) on a Canadian lake where loons breed? If so, you could help monitor loons and lake health for Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey.
   For three decades, our volunteers have supported loon and lake conservation by reporting on loon chick survival. Our 30-year report outlines key program findings.
   This iconic species is facing significant threats. The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey supports lake stewards by providing materials such as conservation tips and articles, nesting platform instructions, and signs that can be posted in areas where loons nest.
   Survey participants are needed for 2015. Visit our lake activity map to view survey locations. To join, please register as a Bird Studies Canada member and opt into the loon survey. Active members can sign up by emailing Kathy Jones (volunteer@birdscanada.org).

Another Swift Decline

5 May 2015 – The conservation status of the Black Swift was assessed at the spring meeting of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), held last week in Québec City. The Black Swift nests on cliff faces (often behind waterfalls) in mountainous areas of British Columbia and extreme western Alberta. It lays only one egg per year. Its wintering grounds in South America are very poorly known. The swift’s population in Canada has declined by more than 50% over the past four decades, which is a threshold that triggers an Endangered status.
   “The Black Swift’s plight draws further attention to the mysterious long-term declines faced by many aerial insectivores in Canada,” said Bird Studies Canada’s Jon McCracken, who co-chairs COSEWIC’s Birds Subcommittee.
   Visit the COSEWIC website to learn more about the recent status assessments for Canada’s wildlife.

SwiftWatch Season Begins

5 May 2015 – Chimney Swifts have returned to Canada! Stay tuned for the launch of Bird Studies Canada’s new Swifts and Swallows webpages, where visitors can submit sightings and monitoring data, learn about “aerial insectivores,” and browse stewardship resources. You can also submit sightings through eBird Canada.
   During the National Population Roost Monitoring Blitz, participants monitor a known roosting site for four evenings (May 20, May 24, May 28, and June 1). SwiftWatch results are combined with other information to assess Chimney Swift population trends across Canada.
   To learn more abut SwiftWatch and how you can contribute, visit the Ontario SwiftWatch or Maritimes SwiftWatch webpages, or email OntarioSwiftWatch@birdscanada.org or marswifts@birdscanada.org.
   Ontario SwiftWatch is supported by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species-at-Risk Stewardship Fund. Maritimes SwiftWatch is supported by Environment Canada, the NB Wildlife Trust Fund, the NS Habitat Conservation Fund, and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

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        REGIONAL

 

The Québec Marsh Monitoring Program


Sora Photo: Frank & Sandra Horvath

8 May 2015 – It’s already the beginning of May, and migrant birds will soon all be back on their breeding grounds in Québec. During the coming weeks, a number of these will be setting up territories in marshes across the province. However, as several marsh-nesting species are elusive and principally active at dawn and dusk, they are rarely recorded during regular bird surveys.
   In an effort to learn more about the population trends of these species, Bird Studies Canada coordinates the Québec Marsh Monitoring Program with support from Environment Canada. The two annual surveys, which are easy to conduct, take place between May 27 and July 12, and use call playback to stimulate a response from some of the program’s focal species.
   If you would like to find out more about participating in the Marsh Monitoring Program or to register, contact Andrew P. Coughlan at acoughlan@birdscanada.org or 1-866-518-0212 (toll-free).

Vancouver Celebrates Bird Week

7 May 2015Vancouver Bird Week opened on May 2 and there have been bird-related walks, talks, workshops, exhibitions, and lectures throughout the week. Bird Studies Canada’s British Columbia Program Manager Dr. David Bradley led a Dawn Chorus Walk on May 3 at Queen Elizabeth Park.
   Vancouver’s next bird of the year will be unveiled at the May 9 wrap-up event at the Vancouver Public Library. Thanks to everyone who voted for your favourite Vancouver bird!
   Bird Studies Canada is one of several partners participating in the Vancouver Bird Advisory Committee, to help advance the Vancouver Bird Strategy and plan the annual Bird Week festival.

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