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25 March 2011 
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Volunteers are Vital to Science

25 March 2011 – Volunteers have always been important to Bird Studies Canada programs. As birding becomes more popular than ever, increasing numbers of "Citizen Scientists" are contributing to BSC programs by volunteering their time to track the health of bird populations. Engaging volunteers in bird observations not only provides essential data, it is believed that through understanding, comes appreciation, and ultimately the will to conserve Canada's wild birds. A recent article by researchers from Oxford University presents the case that monitoring the ecology of a particular area over a long period of time depends upon voluntary participants.

LPBO Trainee Featured in Birdlife’s World BirdWatch

25 March 2011 – Leticia Lopez Sosa, a Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) Latin American  trainee during the fall of 2004 from Asunción, Paraguay, was featured in the December 2010 issue of BirdLife International’s quarterly publication, World BirdWatch. Leticia was a bright and energetic trainee so it is no surprise that she is continuing her work in Paraguay and elsewhere. She is currently taking part in the Darwin Initiative Fellowship at BirdLife International where she is a Policy and Advocacy Officer for Guyra Paraguay, BirdLife International’s Paraguayan partner. To read the article select this link. LPBO’s Latin American Training Program has trained over 80 people from 15 countries on methods in field ornithology and bird conservation. For more information on the program contact

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BSC Invited to Serve on SFI Board

25 March 2011 – Bird Studies Canada’s Executive Director, Dr. George Finney has accepted the invitation to serve as a member on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) board’s conservation chamber. This is both an honour and an opportunity for BSC to become more actively involved in forest bird issues and initiatives. This, the International Year of Forests, is shaping up to be a good one for BSC. Dr. Finney is looking forward to the important role that he will play representing BSC on the SFI board.
   The SFI program is overseen by the independent, non-profit charitable organization SFI Inc, governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social, and economic sectors equally. Across North America, more than 73 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single standard in the world.

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BC Coastal Waterbird Survey Contributes to New Marine Planning Resource

25 March 2011 – A new resource designed to inform integrated marine planning and management along the British Columbia coastline is now available, thanks in part, to BSC's BC Coastal Waterbird Survey. The British Columbia Marine Conservation Analysis (BCMCA) Marine Atlas and Data Library is an online resource of ecological and human-use maps, data, and metadata all pertaining to the Canadian Pacific. The comprehensive, digital collection holds more than 260 maps in over 20 different categories. Currently, all the ecological content is available, but some human-use pages are still under review and coming soon. The content is the result of several years of assembling, collating, and reviewing data, and engaging experts from a variety of backgrounds including governments, First Nations, user groups, stakeholders, academia, non-governmental organizations, and consultants.
   The BC Coastal Waterbird Survey dataset was one of several bird datasets used to map the distributions of 74 marine bird features in 2km x 2km planning units. Individual marine bird feature maps and accompanying text pages can be viewed at high resolution, along with metadata, guidelines for use and notes from reviewers. The BCMCA Marine Atlas and Data Library is one of a number of products that BC Coastal Waterbird Survey data are helping to develop. We extend a huge thank you to the 500-plus volunteers who have contributed to the survey over its 12-year life, and we look forward to showing you more products that are being generated using data from this valuable Citizen Science program.

BSC Hiring Species at Risk Interns across Southwestern Ontario

25 March 2011 – BSC research projects have yielded invaluable data on bird populations and their habitat requirements, and in turn, have increased our understanding of the status and management of Species at Risk. This upcoming spring and summer, BSC staff will be conducting population assessments and investigating habitat requirements of several Species at Risk. BSC is seeking several interns to assist in research projects on Chimney Swift, Whip-poor-will, and Louisiana Waterthrush, as well as the unlisted, but declining Bank Swallow. These positions are short-term contracts and the work is based out of several locations across southern Ontario. Depending on the project, intern responsibilities may include conducting biological fieldwork, data management and entry, volunteer training, outreach activities, and assistance in report preparation.
   Eligible candidates must have a valid driver's license (minimum G2), the ability to travel, and must be a post-secondary student intending on returning to school in the fall. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by 4:30 p.m. on April 15, 2011. A full job description is available here.

Québec : Atlasseurs recherchés

25 Mars 2011 – l’Atlas des oiseaux nicheurs du Québec est à la recherche d’observateurs d’oiseaux expérimentés et motivés pour travailler à la collecte de données. Le travail consistera à effectuer des inventaires ornithologiques (incluant des points d’écoute) dans des parcelles prioritaires du Québec méridional (au sud du 50°30’ de latitude Nord). Les inventaires pourront se dérouler dans diverses régions, mais se tiendront surtout en région éloignée, spécialement en forêt boréale. Les candidats devront être en mesure d’identifier les oiseaux du Québec à la vue et à partir de leurs chants. La date limite pour poser sa candidature et le 8 avril. Communiquez avec les bureaux de l’atlas pour de plus amples informations au

Quebec: Atlas Crew Members Needed

25 March 2011 – The Quebec Breeding Bird Atlas is currently seeking experienced, highly motivated birdwatchers to join its paid field crews. The work will consist of conducting bird surveys (including point counts) in priority squares in southern Quebec (south of 50° 30' N). Although the surveys will be conducted in various locations across the province, most will be concentrated in remote regions, particularly within the boreal forest. Candidates must be able to identify the nesting birds of Quebec visually and by ear. The application deadline is April 8, 2011. For further information, please contact the atlas office at

Ontario Region – New Reports Available Online

25 March 2011 – Bird Studies Canada is pleased to announce three new documents available online for BSC members, staff, and the interested public. The Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Program report is available here, the 2011 Ontario Nocturnal Owl Survey Newsletter by selecting this link and the 2011 Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP) newsletter by visiting this page. BSC would like to extend special thanks to the volunteers and partners who provided the data and assistance for these programs.
   The Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Program is a partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada, BSC, and the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. Thanks to Environment Canada and the Government of Ontario for providing financial support. Thanks also to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources – Wildlife Assessment Program for their longstanding support for the Ontario Nocturnal Owl Survey. The Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring program is a partnership between BSC and Environment Canada with core program support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A Fond Farewell and a Welcome

Ryan Archer (left), Doug Tozer (right)

25 March 2011 – After six years of hard work, enthusiasm, and dedication to the Marsh Monitoring Program, Ryan Archer, Aquatic Survey Programs Coordinator, has moved on to new career challenges. We wish Ryan the best of luck and thank him for his long-term support of Bird Studies Canada.
   At the same time we welcome Dr. Doug Tozer to our office. Doug, a long-term member of the BSC family, has accepted the position of Aquatic Survey Programs Coordinator and will take over Ryan’s important role in mid-March 2011.

LPW Graduate Lindsay Ware Publishes Scaup Paper

25 March 2011 –The combined continental population of Greater and Lesser scaup has declined substantially since the mid-1980s. One possible explanation for the decline is that birds are acquiring elevated levels of contaminants during winter which subsequently impacts their health, reproduction, or survival. It is believed that scaup are acquiring excess selenium burdens by feeding on two species of invasive filter-feeding mussels, the zebra and quagga mussel. To test this, we collected blood and liver samples from Greater Scaup in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario, and tested them for several contaminants, including selenium. We also tested zebra and quagga mussels for selenium concentration. Each bird was examined for physiological abnormalities, oxidative stress, and body condition. While all of the Greater Scaup contained very high selenium burdens, these burdens do not appear to be related to decreased body condition or other aspects of health. Zebra and quagga mussels were also found to have high selenium burdens, containing about three times the amount of selenium normally considered safe for wildlife consumption. This research suggests that the body condition and general health of Greater Scaup wintering on Lake Ontario are not being affected by the consistently high selenium concentrations found in this species. It is possible that selenium is affecting scaup in ways not yet explored. Conversely, scaup could have a high tolerance to selenium toxicity and are possibly not exhibiting any negative effects.
   Lindsay Ware, a Long Point Waterfowl graduate student, has published a paper on the above research results. It is available upon request from

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