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2 October 2015 
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Join Project FeederWatch

Black-capped Chickadee Photo: Missy Mandel

2 October 2015 – The 29th season of Project FeederWatch begins on November 14! Please join our team of thousands of volunteers across North America, and turn your bird feeding hobby into research for bird conservation. Your counts will help scientists monitor changes in winter feeder-bird populations. You choose how much time you want to spend counting. New participants receive a kit with a handbook, a bird identification poster, a calendar, and an instruction booklet. Results are published in BirdWatch Canada and Winter Bird Highlights – the FeederWatch magazine. You can also explore maps and charts online to see what others are reporting.
   Anyone with an interest in birds and nature is invited to join Project FeederWatch and become a Citizen Scientist. To learn more or to sign up, visit our website or call 1-888-448-2473. Your $35 donation defrays the cost of the materials and data analysis (participation is free for members of Bird Studies Canada). Project FeederWatch is a joint program of Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
   Bird Studies Canada is pleased to welcome Armstrong Bird Food as a national sponsor of Project FeederWatch in Canada. Our new partnership aims to inspire more Canadians to discover the fun of FeederWatch and the importance of Citizen Science.

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Thank You for Supporting Bird Research and Conservation

2 October 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is our country’s leading national charitable organization dedicated to bird science and conservation. Our mission is to conserve wild birds of Canada through sound science, on-the-ground actions, innovative partnerships, public engagement, and science-based advocacy.
   We are extremely grateful to our many donors, members, volunteers, and friends for supporting our continued strength and growth. To read about selected highlights from the past year, please see our latest Annual Report. Thank you for being part of our work!

The 2015 Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Season is Complete

Juvenile Common Loon Photo: Sandra Horvath

1 October 2015 – The 35th season of the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey ended on September 15. More than 700 dedicated Citizen Scientists across the country registered to monitor loons and their reproductive success. Bird Studies Canada gratefully acknowledges all volunteer surveyors for participating, and collecting important information. We thank the participants who have already submitted their observations. Volunteers who have yet to report can return their forms to us or enter data online
   Visit our survey resources page for results, program materials, and much more – including our 32-year report on long-term trends and conservation challenges.
   This program is supported by Bird Studies Canada members and the Kenneth M. Molson Foundation.

Our New Distance Learning Program is Here!

Photo: Liza Barney

30 September 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is pleased to announce the launch of our distance learning program, Virtual Ornithology. This interactive program connects students from coast to coast with our biologists through virtual field trips and engaging lessons focussed on Canada’s birds. We’ll run several pilot programs this fall with classes across the country.
   If you’re interested in participating, or if you want more information about any of our educational and school programs, please visit our website or email The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and The Gosling Foundation provided financial support for the development of this program.

The Messenger Takes Flight

30 September 2015 – Bird Studies Canada is the National Outreach Partner for The Messenger, a powerful feature documentary that tells the story of alarming songbird declines, and the range of human-made threats that birds face in our changing world.
   The film is being shown at a number of festivals this fall, including screenings this weekend in Calgary and Vancouver. As more screenings are confirmed, details will be announced on The Messenger website.
   If you’re a coffee lover, one way you can help songbirds is by choosing more bird-friendly shade-grown beans. Look no further! The Messenger Blend is now available online. Birds and Beans will donate 10% from each bag sold to Bird Studies Canada to support our research and conservation work.

Update from the James Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project

30 September 2015 – A crew of more than 30 professional and volunteer biologists recently wrapped up another successful field season working to understand the importance of the southern James Bay coast to migratory shorebirds. Data collected from surveys, invertebrate sampling, banding, and radio-tagging are beginning to paint a detailed picture of how shorebirds use the coast, and how important it is to their survival.
   Many species such as Semipalmated and White-rumped sandpipers, Hudsonian Godwits, and Red Knots more than double their weight during their two- to three-week stays there before heading toward South America. To view the beginning legs of these flights, visit our Motus Wildlife Tracking System animations
   The James Bay Shorebird Monitoring Project is led by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service in collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Bird Studies Canada, Trent University, the Moose Cree First Nation, and Nature Canada, with support from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and additional funding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program.

Call for Applications: NL Murre Conservation Fund

25 September 2015 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Murre Conservation Fund is now accepting applications for projects to be carried out in 2016-17. Co-managed by Wildlife Habitat Canada and Bird Studies Canada, the Murre Conservation Fund supports projects that promote the conservation of Common and Thick-billed murres and their habitats in Newfoundland and Labrador.
   The Murre Fund supported two important projects this year. McGill University researchers are examining the potential for using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to census remote, difficult-to-access seabird colonies. They aim to determine the optimal distance and altitude to fly UAVs to minimize disturbance to birds and maximize count accuracy. Acadia University researchers are conducting a population monitoring study in Labrador, to determine potential impacts of threats to murres from the Gannet Islands, including an assessment of differential hunting pressure on Labrador murres. Visit the Wildlife Habitat Canada website to learn about previously-funded projects.
   To be eligible to receive a Murre Conservation Fund grant, the project must meet the criteria for current priority program areas. Applications must be submitted to no later than November 2, 2015.

BSC Board Members Elected

22 September 2015 – At Bird Studies Canada’s Annual Members Meeting on September 19, four vacancies were filled on our Board of Directors. Alan R. Smith and Dr. Rodger Titman were elected to our Board for the first time. Two people who had previously served on the Board were re-elected for a new three-year term: David Love and Anne Murray. The other Board members are: Karen Brown (Chair), Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, Brian Finnigan, Dr. Susan Hannon, Jean-Pierre Martel, Dr. Art Martell, Karen McDonald, Diane Salter, and Dr. Steve Wendt. Evan Engell and Margaret Skeel have completed their terms on the Board. We’re indebted to all past and present Board members for their efforts on our behalf.

2015 Great Canadian Birdathon Prize Winners

22 September 2015 – Congratulations to the 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon prize winners! Grand prize winner Al Serfas of Vancouver, BC is thrilled to have his choice of a tour of Central Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, or the High Arctic and Northwest Territories, courtesy of Eagle-Eye Tours. The Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory won the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network prize: a Regal M2 80ED spotting scope & 20-60x zoom eyepiece donated by Celestron. Great prizes from Eagle Optics Canada went to Barry Trakalo of Calgary, AB (spotting scope and tripod), Peter Fuller of Belleville, ON (8x42 binoculars), and Sasha Steeves of St. John’s, NL, who won the Young Birdathoner prize (8x32 binoculars). Vortex Canada donated binoculars won by Mark Cranford of Mississauga, ON. Yvonne Pigott of Toronto, ON was the winner of a fabulous framed print donated by artist Chris Bacon.
   The 2015 Great Canadian Birdathon has brought in more than $225,000 so far. It’s not too late to donate online. Many thanks to all the participants, supporters, and prize donors who make the Great Canadian Birdathon a success!

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2015 SwiftWatch Season

Photo: Ron d'Entremont

1 October 2015 – Bird Studies Canada’s 2015 SwiftWatch season is nearing its end. In the Maritimes and Ontario, volunteers monitored known Chimney Swift roost and nest sites and identified new sites. We thank all SwiftWatch volunteers, and look forward to seeing and sharing 2015 results.
   Information collected by SwiftWatch participants increases our understanding of Chimney Swifts and their habitat needs in Canada. If you have observations or roost count data to submit, please enter data online using NatureCounts or contact the appropriate program coordinator.
   Maritimes SwiftWatch gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada, New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund (contributions from hunters and trappers), and the Sage Environmental Program.
   Ontario SwiftWatch was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Grand Opening of the Port Rowan Wetlands

25 September 2015 – Bird Studies Canada’s interest in the Port Rowan sewage lagoons began in 1977 with our long-term Tree Swallow studies in southwestern Ontario. The site later became a top birding destination, but its attractiveness faded over a decade ago, after the lagoons filled to their capacity.
   In 2007, Norfolk County began talking with Bird Studies Canada and other local partners about decommissioning the lagoons. We’re proud to have been part of a great team of stakeholders that came together to turn the site into a first-class environmental project restoring and showcasing wetland and grassland habitat features. Water from a nearby farm drain, which once emptied into a creek, now flows through the wetland. A grand opening event was held on September 24.
   We’ve already seen many species of birds, plants, insects, and amphibians returning to the site. And downstream water quality that flows into Long Point’s Inner Bay has improved, thanks to the wetland serving as a natural filter within the local drainage system. We are moving forward with the County to act as one of the site’s primary stewards.

Long Point Waterfowl Hires Dr. Michael Schummer

21 September 2015 – Long Point Waterfowl, a program that has been administered by Bird Studies Canada, has announced the hiring of Dr. Michael Schummer as Interim Scientist. Dr. Schummer is a Visiting Professor of Zoology at The State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego, Adjunct Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario.
   He was among the original cohort of graduate students at Long Point Waterfowl, where he studied the ecology of sea ducks and diving ducks wintering at Lake Ontario. He went on to become one of the most published students funded by Long Point Waterfowl. Dr. Schummer can be reached at

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