This Week's

International News

Bird Studies Canada 
to Assist with 
PRISM Research

Partnership Aims to 
Protect Bald Eagles 
around Lake Ontario

National News

New Canadian Record 
for Christmas Bird 

Regional News

Winter Raptor 
Observations Wanted

Selenium Research 
Supported by Ontario 
Power Generation

Where do Bald Eagles 
Spend their Holidays?

Planning for Landbird 
Conservation in 
Northern Ontario


Happy Holidays! 
from Everyone at BSC

BSC Offices are closed until January 3rd.


23 December 2004 
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Bird Studies Canada to Assist with PRISM Research

20 December 2004 - Bird Studies Canada's Boreal Bird Research Associate, Dr. J. Ryan Zimmerling, in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service, will assist with several multi-year PRISM (Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring) projects to be initiated in spring 2005. PRISM is a coordinated effort to survey shorebirds in North America and is designed to meet the monitoring goals of the U.S. and Canadian Shorebird Plans. Both plans identified the need for reliable information on the distribution, abundance, and population trends of shorebirds. PRISM has four major elements designed to address these information needs - Arctic and boreal breeding surveys, temperate breeding surveys, temperate non-breeding (migration) surveys, and neotropical surveys. Ryan, who recently became a member of the PRISM Boreal Committee, will advise graduate students working on two projects that involve a status assessment of Hudsonian Godwits and determining the best techniques for monitoring shorebirds throughout the boreal forest of Canada. (To learn about an associated Graduate Research position offered for this project, click here. As additional assistance, Bird Studies Canada's Boreal Forest Bird Program will be collecting shorebird data throughout Ontario's Boreal Forest.
  The PRISM Boreal Committee just released a report entitled: "Boreal Shorebirds: An assessment of conservation status and potential for population monitoring." To view this report, click here (2 Mb).

International Partnership Aims to Protect Bald Eagles 
around Lake Ontario

14 December 2004 - Bird Studies Canada (BSC) staff, Dawn Laing and Debbie Badzinski, took part in a bi-national meeting at Wellesley Island State Park, NY to present a Bald Eagle habitat prioritization model for Lake Ontario. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are funding this international effort to evaluate the shores of Lake Ontario through a mapping project that will highlight possible 'favourable' Bald Eagle nesting habitat. BSC is evaluating the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, and the American portion of the lake is being evaluated through a contract with TetraTech. Lake Ontario currently has only one active Bald Eagle nest and preliminary recommendations by a panel of bi-national Bald Eagle experts suggest that future preservation efforts should focus on maintaining five parcels of 'high priority' land areas, with the goal of establish nesting of five Bald Eagle pairs within the next 10 years.

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New Canadian Record for Christmas Bird Count

22 December 2004 - On Saturday, 18 December, birders participating in the Victoria, BC Christmas Bird Count reported 154 species - thatís a new Canadian record!
  The 105th Christmas Bird Count began on 14 December and will continue until 5 January 2005. Dick Cannings, Canadian count coordinator, reports that over 11,000 people will take part in about 350 counts in Canada this year, another record total. There has been a steady increase in the number of Canadian Christmas Bird Counts since Bird Studies Canada took on national coordination from the National Audubon Society in 2000. In fact, there have been almost 100 new counts added to the roster in the last 5 years. To learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, click here.

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Winter Raptor Observations Wanted

21 December 2004 - Attention all Ontario birding enthusiasts - we need your help in collecting important information over the winter months about Short-Eared Owls and Bald Eagles. Your observations will enable us to determine where and how many of these birds are wintering in Ontario.
  Bird Studies Canada and the Ontario Barn Owl Recovery Program are entering the second year of a wintering Short-eared Owl survey in Ontario. These owls are nothing "short" of spectacular, with their distinctive and erratic moth-like flight pattern. Listed as a species of Special Concern in Canada, large concentrations of these owls can be observed during the winter months in southern Ontario. Little is known about the species, and why numbers are declining. You can learn more about Short-eared Owl monitoring by clicking here.
  Through the Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Project, Bird Studies Canada has been tracking eagle nesting success and productivity. However, little information on the number of eagles wintering in southern Ontario exists and we welcome any observations within the Lower Great Lakes basin (from the Ottawa valley to the Bruce Peninsula). If you see either of these raptors in the areas described above, be sure to take note of the date and time of sighting, number of birds, age class (adult/juvenile), habitat, geographic location, and activity. Please pass along these observations to Susan Debreceni, Volunteer Projects Research Assistant, by e-mail at, or phone 1-888-448-2473 ext. 222.

Selenium Research Supported by Ontario Power Generation

21 December 2004 - Ontario Power Generation has agreed to contribute $40,000 to the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Fund (LPWWRF) to study selenium inputs to the lower Great Lakes. Selenium is a semi-metallic trace element that birds require in small amounts. However, it can become toxic at slightly greater amounts. LPWWRF has shown that Lesser and Greater scaup are acquiring potentially unhealthy levels of selenium while staging on the lower Great Lakes. To learn more about this research, click here.

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Where do Bald Eagles Spend their Holidays?

20 December 2004 - Bird Studies Canadaís Bald Eagle satellite telemetry program, Destination Eagle, continues to follow the movements of two juvenile eagles over the Christmas season. So far, both birds appear to be planning an American holiday with Olivia spending her time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Pamela exploring the Illinois River of mid-State Illinois. To learn more about the program and follow these birds over the holidays, click here.

Planning for Landbird Conservation in Northern Ontario

16 December 2004 - Bird Studies Canada is preparing landbird conservation plans for the four Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) in Ontario. This contract is part of the Partners in Flight Ontario initiative, led by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Region Canadian Wildlife Services. Over the past two years, work has focussed on drafting a plan for the southernmost region, BCR 13, the Lower Great Lakes - St Lawrence Plain. This past fall, work began on developing plans for the next two regions to the north: BCR 12, the Boreal Hardwood Transition; and BCR 8, the Boreal Softwood Shield. In October, 27 technical experts participated in a three-day workshop at the Canadian Ecology Centre near Mattawa, ON to determine the priority landbird species and habitats in these BCRs, and to propose relevant conservation objectives for them. All workshop materials and outcomes are available on the Ontario Partners in Flight web site by clicking here, including a short synopsis of key outcomes of the BCR 8 and 12 technical workshop.

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