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26 September 2014 
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BSC Meets with BirdLife Partners

23 September 2014 – A representative of Bird Studies Canada travelled to Cambridge, England this week for meetings with colleagues from around the world at the BirdLife International Global Secretariat. In addition to learning more about the excellent work of our partners, Andrew Couturier, Senior Analyst, Landscape Ecology and Conservation, is sharing highlights from a number of our programs, including Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program.
   Bird Studies Canada collaborates on strengthening the science and conservation capacity of the BirdLife Partnership, to improve conservation prospects for the world’s birds.

LPO Protects Ortolan Buntings

19 September 2014 – Our BirdLife International partner in France, the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), is taking action to protect the Ortolan Bunting. This migratory songbird is regarded as a delicacy by French gourmets, and it is served by some of the country’s finest restaurants – despite the fact that hunting of this species is strictly forbidden under French and EU laws.
   The European population of the Ortolan Bunting has declined by 84% over the last 30 years. In France, where thousands of Ortolan Buntings are still illegally poached and killed annually, fewer than 15,000 pairs remain, and the species’ population has decreased by 42% over the past 11 years.
   Earlier this month, LPO members launched a “lightning strike” to draw attention to the situation and urge the French authorities to take decisive action. Conservationists liberated captured birds at poaching locations and made formal accusations against poachers to the French authorities. Learn more on the BirdLife International website.

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Thank You for Supporting Bird Research and Conservation

26 September 2014 – Bird Studies Canada is our country’s leading national charitable organization for bird research, Citizen Science, education, 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 members, volunteers, donors, partners, and funders 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!

BSC Board Members Elected

22 September 2014 – At Bird Studies Canada’s Annual Members Meeting on September 20, five vacancies were filled on our Board of Directors. Dr. David M. Bird was elected to our Board for the first time. Four people who had previously served on the Board were re-elected for a new three-year term: Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, Karen Brown, Evan Engell, and Jean-Pierre Martel. The other Board members are: David Love (Chair), Brian Finnigan, Dr. Susan Hannon, Dr. Art Martell, Karen McDonald, Anne Murray, Diane Salter, Margaret Skeel, and Dr. Steve Wendt. Dr. Arnold Boer and H. Loney Dickson have completed their terms on the Board. We’re indebted to all past and present Board members for their efforts on our behalf.

Dr. George Finney Named BSC President Emeritus

22 September 2014 – Our Board of Directors has named Dr. George Finney Bird Studies Canada’s first President Emeritus. The decision was unanimous and enthusiastic, Chair David Love announced at our Annual Members Meeting last Saturday. The lifetime appointment took effect on September 22, 2014 – George’s first day not being BSC President, and the day that role was assumed by Steven Price.
   Under George’s leadership from 2004-2014, BSC enjoyed solid scientific and financial success. George’s ongoing involvement in strategic BSC projects ensures that our Canadian bird research and conservation efforts will continue to benefit from his invaluable advice and relationships with our partners from coast to coast to coast, and beyond!

2014 Baillie BIRDATHON Prize Winners

22 September 2014 – Congratulations to the 2014 Baillie BIRDATHON prize winners, announced at Bird Studies Canada’s recent Annual Members Meeting. Grand prize winner Dr. Nick Quickert of Trenton, ON will take his choice of a tour of West Mexico, Costa Rica, or New Brunswick, courtesy of Eagle-Eye Tours. The Calgary Bird Banding Society won the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network prize: a Kowa TSN-663 ED spotting scope with a 20-60x zoom eyepiece donated by Kowa. Great prizes from Eagle Optics Canada went to Marcel Gahbauer of Ottawa, ON (a spotting scope and tripod), Randy and Sharon Rawluk of Fort St. James, BC (8x42 binoculars), and Kaiden Bosch of Sechelt, BC, who won the Young Birdathoner prize (8x32 binoculars). Other prize winners are listed on our website
   The 2014 BIRDATHON has brought in more than $215,000 so far. It’s not too late to donate online. We’re extremely grateful to all the participants and supporters who make the Baillie BIRDATHON such a success!

Call for Applications: NL Murre Conservation Fund!

22 September 2014 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Murre Conservation Fund is now accepting applications for projects to be carried out in 2015-16. 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.
   This year, the Murre Fund supported an important conservation project at Memorial University, where researchers are examining the foraging tactics of parental murres to identify key foraging areas around their breeding colony at Funk Island. This research will provide insight into the consequences that shifts in prey distribution and diversity in marine food webs have on marine predators. 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. Applicants must submit their application to no later than November 3, 2014.

The 2014 Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Season is Complete

Photo: Frank & Sandra Horvath

16 September 2014 – The 34th season of the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey ended on September 15. More than 700 Citizen Scientists across the country monitored 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.
   For survey results to date, please see our 32-year report, associated technical paper, and BirdWatch Canada article. This program is supported by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Kenneth M. Molson Foundation.

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You Can Support Yellow Rail Research!

Yellow Rail Photo: John Conkin

26 September 2014 – Since 2011, staff from Bird Studies Canada’s Saskatoon office have been conducting field research on the Yellow Rail. Their accomplishments have included banding a significant portion of Canada’s banded Yellow Rails, and developing survey methods for using autonomous recorders to collect count data.
   This cryptic nocturnal bird is federally designated as a Species of Special Concern. Our team is now interested in broadening knowledge of where Yellow Rails can be found in the Prairie Provinces (and beyond) by supplementing their information with additional public observations. Our ambition is to develop a national repository of locations where the species can occur.
   If you have heard (or seen) Yellow Rails in Canada recently, we would greatly appreciate your input. Please email our Senior Waterbird Scientist Dr. Kiel Drake at Please include as many of the following details as possible: date and time of observation; location (ideally with latitude and longitude or UTM coordinates, so that researchers can find the location using a GPS); and your maximum count of Yellow Rails at that location.
   The reports you submit will help us further develop an existing database of Yellow Rail locations, which will support future efforts aimed at making a comprehensive status assessment for the species.

2014 Ontario Field Ornithologists Convention

26 September 2014 – The annual Ontario Field Ornithologists convention takes place this weekend (September 26-28) in Ottawa, Ontario. This popular gathering of Ontario birders attracts well over 200 attendees each year to participate in three days of workshops, speakers, socializing, field trips, and an evening banquet.
   Bird Studies Canada’s Biologist & Science Educator Jody Allair and our Ontario Important Bird Areas Program Coordinator Mike Burrell will lead Youth Birding Hikes and facilitate eBird Canada workshops over the course of the weekend. If you’re attending, please drop by our booth and say hello! You can also follow along on social media using the hashtag #OFO2014.

New Signs for West End of Lake Ontario IBA

Photo: Ron Ridout

25 September 2014 – New interpretive signs and viewing opportunities have been launched at the West End of Lake Ontario Important Bird Area, which stretches from Mississauga to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The signs were erected at Confederation Park and Fifty Point Conservation Area, and were unveiled at a Hamilton ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday that officially opened a new viewing platform at Fifty Point. The signs explain these sites’ significance, and include information about the unique birds that both locations host – including globally significant numbers of Common Goldeneyes, Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, and Red-breasted Mergansers.
   Bird Studies Canada staff helped craft and design the signs in partnership with the Hamilton Conservation Authority, who manufactured and installed the finished products, thanks in large part to a generous grant from the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association.
   The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Program is a global initiative to identify, monitor, and conserve the world’s most critical sites for birds and biodiversity. Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada jointly manage Canada’s IBA Program. We thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for generously supporting the Ontario IBA Program.

BSC to Develop Bank Swallow Recovery Strategy

23 September 2014 – The Bank Swallow is one of many aerial insectivores that have declined dramatically in recent decades. This summer, it was listed as Threatened in Ontario because of significant population declines of 4.7% annually over the last 40 years. Due to our active involvement in Bank Swallow research, Bird Studies Canada applied for and has received the contract to develop the recovery strategy for Bank Swallows in Ontario. Over the next 16 months, our staff will review past and current research, work with stakeholders, and write this essential document to help guide Bank Swallow conservation.

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