Septmeber 2003 News Archive


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BirdLife in the Americas

26 September 2003 - The August edition of BirdLife in the Americas has just been released. In this issue you will find information about the World Bird Festival, raptors of the Americas, the Save the Albatross Campaign in the Americas, and the IBA Program. Readers can also find news about conservation and research on the Colombian and Mexican parrots and macaws, the Zero Extinction Alliance, and a section on upcoming events and meetings related to bird conservation. Click here to read the August bulletin.

Moving to Protect a Vast Forest Haven

23 September 2003 - James Gorman, Science Writer for the New York Times, has just written an article, Moving to Protect a Vast Forest Haven, discussing Canada’s boreal forest. Dr. Peter Blancher, Bird Studies Canada’s Partner in Flight Scientist, is referenced in this well written and informative article. To read Mr. Gorman’s article, click here.

BSC Receives Grants in Support of Habitat Stewardship for Species at Risk

22 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada (BSC) is very grateful for two grants (totalling $65,000) awarded by the Government of Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. The grants will be used to support a variety of stewardship-based projects being conducted in aid of forest birds at risk in Ontario's Carolinian Zone. Working in concert with a variety of landowners and land managers, community-based, multi-species conservation plans are being designed, launched, or expanded for several important forest complexes in the Carolinian Zone. These forest complexes have been identified by the national recovery teams as particularly key sites for Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and/or Acadian Flycatcher. One focus is on developing actions that will enhance the acreage of forest designated for older growth management. Another component will be to work in partnership with the Wetland Habitat Fund (part of Wildlife Habitat Canada) to evaluate existing swamp forest restoration activities in southern Ontario, and design a suite of restoration models that would benefit Prothonotary Warblers and other swamp forest species. The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk is a partnership-based, conservation initiative sponsored by the Government of Canada. The Program is managed cooperatively by Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Parks Canada, and administered by Environment Canada.

Vancouver Natural History Society Presentations

30 September 2003 - Tasha Smith, Bird Studies Canada’s BC Project Coordinator, will be making a presentation to the Vancouver Natural History Society on Thursday, 2 October. Tasha will focus on the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey and the BC Beached Bird Survey, in addition to an overview of Bird Studies Canada and its programs. Click here to link to the Vancouver Natural History Society’s website.

Canada Taiwan Bird Fair, 24 October to 10 November, Vancouver

30 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada is pleased to announce it will participate in the annual Canada Taiwan Bird Fair, Vancouver, BC. This is an annual event to raise international awareness of environmental protection by building bridges between conservation groups in Canada and Taiwan. The fair takes place in the Alice McKay Room, Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street. Click here to read more about this event, which is partly organized by the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society and is co-chaired by Robert Butler of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Click here for more information.

Canadian Migration Monitoring Network Annual Meeting

30 September 2003 - The fourth national meeting of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN) is being held in Calgary, AB, the weekend of 3-5 October 2003. This meeting, hosted by the Calgary Bird Banding Society, is being held at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary. Ten CMMN member stations and five pilot stations will be represented, along with staff from both of the national partners, Bird Studies Canada (BSC) and the Canadian Wildlife Service. BSC staff attending the meeting include Debbie Badzinski, Audrey Heagy, Jon McCracken, and Lisa Priestley. Click here for more information about CMMN.

Congratulations to Shawn Meyer, M.Sc.

23 September 2003 - The volunteers and staff at Bird Studies Canada and Long Point Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Fund (LPWWRF) congratulate Shawn Meyer who recently completed his M.Sc. Degree. Shawn worked for LPWWRF for several field seasons prior to starting his Masters at the University of Western Ontario, which was supervised by Dr. Scott Petrie, LPWWRF Research Director and Dr. Dave Ankney, Long Point Bird Observatory Committee. The title of Shawn's thesis is Comparative use of Phragmites australis and other habitats by birds, amphibians, and small mammals at Long Point, Ontario. Click here to read the abstract from Shawn’s thesis.

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas Database Updated

22 September 2003 - Breeding evidence and summary statistics maps for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas have been updated to include the most recent additions to the database. The new maps are available by clicking here.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas of County of Parkland to be Identified

22 September 2003 - Lisa Priestley, Bird Studies Canada’s Prairie Program Manager, has been contracted by Westworth and Associates to identify environmentally sensitive areas in the county of Parkland, west of Edmonton. This research will go into a report to highlight all the important habitats in the area for wildlife and natural history and will be used to help with land management issues.

The Species at Risk Act

22 September 2003 -Environment Canada has been holding cross-country briefing sessions on the new federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), which was proclaimed in June. Under a new rule, scientists assess whether a plant or animal population should be listed for protection, but cabinet has the final say. Politicians may or may not follow the scientists' advice. Next June, it will become a crime to kill or harm one of Canada's 400 or so protected plants or animals. Click here to read a article about hearings in Saint John’s, NL.

News from BirdLife International

19 September 2003 - BirdLife International has taken a leading role with the international media during the IUCN 5th World Parks Congress which concluded in Durban, SA, this week. Click the following links to read about: BirdLife’s work with the governments of Cameroon, and Nigeria; the discovery of a new colony of Europe’s rarest breeding bird, Zino’s Petrel; longline fishing pushing six albatross species further towards extinction; Africa’s unprotected Important Bird Areas; and more.

Population Trends from Canadian Migration Monitoring Stations are Updated and On line

The trend for the Brown Thrasher based on 42 years of migration monitoring at LPBO (1961-2002)

18 September 2003 - Up-to-date population trends of migratory landbirds passing through Canadian Migration Monitoring Stations are now available on Bird Studies Canada's website. Click here to access species trends which can be displayed by station or species. Although long-term data sets suggest that populations of most songbirds have been stable or increasing, there are still a number of species that are of conservation concern because they are showing persistent long-term declines. Declining bird species include the Red-headed Woodpecker, Fox Sparrow, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Cape May Warbler, and Canada Warbler.

Grand Opening of Bird Studies Canada’s Avian Energetics Lab

18 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada (BSC) is pleased to announce that our new Avian Energetics Lab is now open for business. The Lab provides services to students, professional scientists, and researchers who need lab analyses of bird specimens for composition, energetic, diet, moult, reproductive, and other studies. The Lab is located at BSC headquarters in Port Rowan, ON, and is managed by Kerrie Wilcox. Work scheduled for the upcoming fall and winter includes condition analyses of Northern Fulmars (for Mark Mallory, Canadian Wildlife Service, Nunavut); comparison of body condition in Willow and Rock-ptarmigan from Newfoundland (Ellen Jedrey, MSc candidate, Memorial University, Newfoundland); analyses of condition in female Lesser Scaup from the upper Midwest (Michael Anteau, PhD candidate, Louisiana State University); and analyses of starved Common Eiders from the Belcher Islands, Hudson Bay (Sarah Jameson, University of New Brunswick). For more information about the Lab and its services call Kerrie Wilcox at 1-888-448-2473 or e-mail

BirdLife Americas’ Partners Work to Coordinate Conservation

18 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada’s President, Michael Bradstreet, attended meetings of the BirdLife Americas partnership in Asuncion, Paraguay, from 26-30 August. Representatives from 20 countries in North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, worked to coordinate their national efforts in bird conservation. The meeting was hosted by the BirdLife partner in Paraguay, Guyra Paraguay

Ontario Wildlife Foundation Welcomed as BSC Sponsor

18 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada (BSC) is pleased to announce that it has received $17,700 from the Ontario Wildlife Foundation to bolster Ontario participation in the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey (CLLS) by providing increased feedback and communications to new and existing volunteer participants, and by aggressively promoting the program. This will be done by launching a campaign centred on an attractive, informative 20-year summary report that celebrates CLLS participants and the achievements and accomplishments of the program. The goal is to increase participation in the CLLS from 450 to 650 volunteers. BSC is also very grateful to the Ontario Wildlife Foundation for its grant of $15,000 to provide increased opportunities for youth to participate in the array of field projects that are conducted at Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) on Long Point, Ontario. The grant will enable the development a comprehensive framework for increasing youth participation in LPBO programs, and to begin to implement this framework. Click here to learn more about the Ontario Wildlife Foundation.

Long Point Bird Observatory’s Data Analysed in a Paper Published in The Journal of Evolutionary Biology

18 September 2003 - Data collected during spring migration at Long Point Bird Observatory (1960-96) were recently used in analyses presented in a paper published in The Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Authors, Kelley Kissner, Pat Weatherhead, and Charles Francis, tested the conventional view that sexually selected traits (like larger size in males) are limited by selection against those traits, especially with respect to survival. Using data from 30 species, the authors predicted that among species, sex differences in body size should be correlated with sex differences in spring migration. The earlier that males migrate relative to females, the larger they should be relative to females. This was shown to be true. The authors concluded that selection for survival promotes sexual size dimorphism, and not the opposite, which was the conventional view. To download a complete version of this paper, click here.

LPBO’s Long-Term Tree Swallow Research Reported in The Auk

16 September 2003 - A recent article in the Auk, the prestigious scientific journal of the American Ornithologists' Union, reported on Long Point Bird Observatory's (LPBO) long-term Tree Swallow project. The author, Dr. David Hussell, presented results of an intensive study of Tree Swallows breeding on and near Long Point, Ontario, at four sites from 1969-2001. Over this period, there was no significant regional trend in spring air temperature and there was no significant advance in the date at which Tree Swallows initiated breeding. Dr. Hussell's results show that spring temperatures have not increased in the Long Point region and timing of the breeding season has not advanced throughout North America. To download the full article, click here.

Madagascar to Triple Protected Areas

16 September 2003, Durban, South Africa - In what was heralded as one of the most important conservation actions ever, Madagascar said Tuesday it would more than triple the size of its nature reserves to help protect thousands of species found nowhere else on the planet. The world's fourth largest island is home to some 10,000 plant species, 316 reptile species and 109 bird species found nowhere else in the world. President Marc Ravalomanana said his government would increase the amount of protected area on the Indian Ocean island to 15 million acres from 4.3 million acres. "In five years we'll do it," he told journalists at the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban. Diplomatic sources said the plan would involve about $150 million of donor funds. The 10-day parks congress, organized by the World Conservation Union, will end on Wednesday with the adoption of a Durban Accord outlining broad goals for the preservation of the planet's natural heritage.

Bird Studies Canada's Annual Members Meeting

15 September 2003 - While migrating birds were conspicuously absent, due to prevalent southwest winds and unseasonably warm weather, Bird Studies Canada's (BSC's) members were well-represented at our Annual Members Meeting held 14 September 2003 at BSC's Headquarters and National Research Centre in Port Rowan, ON. Immediately following the meeting, the Natural Heritage Events Room was officially opened with a dedication ceremony led by two prominent BSC supporters  - Dr. Arthur Langford (above left) and George Pond (right). The wonderful contributions of BSC supporters, like Dr. Langford and Mr. Pond, are profiled in the Natural Heritage Events Room along with interactive displays about birds and the important roles that they play in our world. For experienced birders, the room provides an opportunity to extend their knowledge of bird study. This is accomplished with mobile web-linked information stations that enable research on all BSC programs and a model of a bird banding station, including artifacts such as bands and tags. The exhibits have been designed to allow for updates, providing information on research and programs at regional, national, and international levels on an ongoing basis. Doors were opened to the public later in the afternoon, and staff were on hand to explain BSC's research and conservation programs coordinated across Canada. The event concluded with a draw for a pair of Bushnell binoculars generously donated by Bushnell Performance Optics. Thanks to all who attended.

Inadvertent Destruction of Migratory Birds and Their Nests Focus of Forestry Workshop

11 September 2003 - Bird Studies Canada's Partners In Flight (PIF) Scientist, Dr. Peter Blancher, will give an overview of PIF conservation planning and priority landbird species at a workshop on Forest and Incidental Take, organized by the Canadian Wildlife Service with the Forest Products Association of Canada, Canadian Nature Federation, and others. The objective of the workshop, the 3rd in a series, is to reach a resolution on what to do about forestry and the inadvertent destruction of migratory birds and their nests to which normal forestry activities lead.

North American Landbird Conservation Plan Nears Completion

11 September 2003 - A near-final draft of the Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan is being released this week at the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in Madison Wisconsin. The Plan provides direction for landbird conservation work at a continental level, highlights species in need of attention at a continental level, presents population objectives, and actions needed to achieve objectives. Michael Bradstreet, Bird Studies Canada's (BSC) President, and Dr. Peter Blancher, BSC's Partners in Flight Scientist, are among the authors of the Plan. The final Plan is expected to be published and distributed this fall.

CISE Funds Support the Development of a Bird Monitoring Data Exchange Schema

10 September 2003 - The Canadian Information Systems for the Environment (CISE, a branch of Environment Canada) has recently provided $7,000 to Bird Studies Canada to develop a data exchange schema for bird monitoring datasets. This is a first step towards allowing partner organizations from all over North America to share bird monitoring data more effectively over the Internet. Click here to view the first draft version of the Avian Knowledge Network Schema.

BSC Scientist to Lead Monitoring Workshop in Mexico

10 September 2003 - Denis Lepage, Senior Scientist for Bird Studies Canada, will lead a bird monitoring training workshop in Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, from 6-10 October 2003. The meeting, hosted by the Reserva de la Biosphera de Sian Kaan and the Amigos de Sian Kaan is meant to improve bird monitoring skills of local bird experts in order to implement a monitoring program in the reserve. Click on the hosting organization’s names to learn more about their work.

BSC Scientists to Attend an International Review of the Christmas Bird Count Program

10 September 2003 - Denis Lepage and Pete Blancher, Senior Scientist and Partners in Flight Scientist respectively for Bird Studies Canada, will participate in a scientific review of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) program in Hawk Mountain, PA, from 4-6 November 2003. The basic mandate of the CBC peer review panel is to review current CBC procedures and products, to evaluate success in attaining outreach and scientific goals, and to make recommendations on means of improving success without compromising the basic survey. Click here to learn more about the CBC program.

Avibase Reaches More Than 10,000 Visitors in 60 Days!

10 September 2003 - Avibase, the newest addition to Bird Studies Canada's web site, has recently reached 10,000 visitors, only two months after its official inauguration. The site offers a variety of information on all bird species of the world (taxonomy, maps, synonyms, images, etc), as well as checklists for over 500 regions of the world. Click here to view the site, which is available in several languages including French, Portuguese, and Dutch.

Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas Maps Updated

4 September 2003 - Breeding evidence and summary statistics maps for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas have been updated to include the most recent additions to the database. The new maps are available by clicking here.

BSC Programs Presented at Raptor Research Foundation Annual Meeting

3 September 2003 - "Whoo’s Conducting Nocturnal Owl Surveys?" is the title of Lisa Priestley’s paper to be presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. Priestley, Bird Studies Canada’s Prairie Canada Program Manager, will be talking about the provincial and national programs that are conducted in Canada. Click here for more information on BSC’s nocturnal owl programs.

Global Concern for Protected Areas Focus of World Parks Congress

September 2003 - The World Parks Congress, which opens 8 September in Durban, South Africa, is a once in a decade opportunity to take stock of globally protected areas (12% of the Earth’s surface). Host to 2500 of the world’s protected areas specialists, including many from BirdLife International’s global alliance of conservation organizations, the conference is planned to be a milestone for catalyzing a renewed commitment to protected areas. Click here for more information on the congress.



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