Monday, July 16, 2018

Learn more about aerial insectivores

Common Nighthawk - Ph. Nick Myatt, Wikim. Commons
 There's a lot of information now available about aerial insectivores - which species are declining, what threats they face, and how their ecology is similar or different from species-to-species. And there are several opportunities for you to become involved in their monitoring and conservation, and to learn more. 

One of the fascinating behaviors witnessed this year is exhibited by swifts and a number of other bird species around the world: young of the previous year travel back to act as "helpers at the nest" - assisting their parents to raise this year's young. Read about this in Alexander Skutch's book: Helpers at Birds' Nests: A Worldwide Survey of Cooperative Breeding and Related Behavior. (1999, University of Iowa Press.)

Join us at one of three upcoming August events - and/or at the WBCI/Bird City Annual Conference in the Waukesha area Sept 6-8:

Aerial Insectivores, Cutright Bird Club, Riveredge Nature Center, 7pm on August 7th

Aerial Insectivores, Green Lake Bird & Nature Club, 630pm, Green Lake Town Square Building

WBCI/Bird City Annual Conference:



Swift Night Out events provide observers with a chance to view the annual spectacle of hundreds (or more!) of Chimney Swifts at one or more of their autumn roost sites. 

Chimney Swift in flight - Ph. Jim McCulloch, Wikim. Commons
Just a few examples:

Swift Night Out - Green Bay Aug 18  - contact Nancy Nabak at

Swift Night Out  -Two Rivers Sept 13th - contact Nancy Nabak at

Monday, July 2, 2018

severe bird species declines in Europe

Severe bird species declines in Europe should concern all of us. These mirror recent declines of aerial insectivores in Canada, and some areas of the United States.

"...over the last 17 years, one third of birds have disappeared from French farmland."

 "'The situation is catastrophic,' laments Benoît Fontaine, conservation biologist from the Cesco at the National Museum of Natural History. 'Our farmland is turning into a real desert.' 'Populations of all bird species are literally collapsing in the cereal-growing prairies,' adds Vincent Bretagnolle, ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies at Chizé and director of the Sèvre Plains & Valley area. 'Partridge are now practically extinct within our study zone.'

 Read more at:

Ortolan Bunting -  Ph. by Zeynel Cebeci - Wikim. Commons

an editorial, via the Ecological Citizen

Here's a recent editorial worth reading and pondering.

From the introduction: 

"The human enterprise is eradicating non-human life on Earth. The WWF’s
Living Planet Report 2016 reveals that,worldwide, wildlife populations declined
by 58% between 1970 (itself too late for a proper base year) and 2012, with the
expectation that this decline will reach 67% by 2020 (WWF, 2016). In Canada, my home,
the situation is similar: half of 903 species monitored saw population declines over the
same period, and the average for half of these was a population loss of 83% (WWF-Canada,
2017). ... As I write this, reports show that bird populations in the French countryside have
declined there by more than a third in just the past 17 years – a situation described by
conservation biologists as 'catastrophic' (Geffroy, 2018).

You can read this entire issue of the Ecological Citizen at:

Ph. by Joaquim Alves Gaspar; Wikim. Commons

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

bird collisions and towers

Although this topic isn't new, we're still learning how to reduce bird collisions with towers.

A page on the Partners in Flight website is devoted to this information:\

Photo - Partners In Flight

"Each year, millions of birds suffer fatal collisions with communications towers. The American Bird Conservancy and others recommend following voluntary guidelines for their installation.Owners of towers 150-350 ft. above ground level need to program non-flashing tower lights to synchronously flash with existing flashing tower lights."

The American Bird Conservancy has more information, and a "toolkit" for activism:

Friday, June 8, 2018

news from BirdLife International

Go to this link:  to learn about
"Birds brought back from the brink"...
"A concrete partnership for nature conservation in Burkina Faso"...
"Protecting birds through war and peace: our newest Partner, Columbia"...
and more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

massive movement of songbirds on Monday, May

Please see the numbers from Monday at the Tadoussac Bird Observatory in Quebec, Canada.
Observatoire d’Oiseaux de Tadoussac - Dunes, La Haute-Côte-Nord County, Quebec
Over 720,000 warblers, and many other birds. 

The detailed report is in this linked eBird checklist.
The work of bird observatories worldwide demonstrates the capability of skilled observers, and the value of these programs. It also shows the value of eBird to capture and report data.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Joint Release: Lawsuits Seek to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

Joint Release: Lawsuits Seek to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) A coalition of national environmental groups, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, today filed litigation, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, in the Southern District of New York challenging the current Administration’s move to eliminate longstanding protections for waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

In a legal opinion issued December 2017, the Administration abruptly reversed decades of government policy and practice — by both Democratic and Republican administrations — on the implementation and enforcement of the MBTA.

The Act's prohibition on the killing or "taking" of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities — meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Under the Administration's revised interpretation, the MBTA’s protections will apply only to activities that purposefully kill birds. Any “incidental” take — no matter how inevitable or devastating the impact on birds — is now immune from enforcement under the law.  

The risk of liability under the MBTA has long provided the oil and gas industry, wind energy development companies, and power transmission line operators with an incentive to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize bird deaths. For example, in an effort to protect migratory birds and bats and avoid potential MBTA liability, the wind industry, conservation groups, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked to develop comprehensive guidelines aimed to ensure best practices for siting and developing wind farms. The Administration’s new policy eliminates this incentive for industries and individuals to minimize and mitigate foreseeable impacts of their activities on migratory birds, putting already-declining populations of our nation’s songbirds and other migratory birds at risk.

The MBTA also protects birds from fossil fuel development. Oil pits kill hundreds of thousands of birdsif incidental take liability is eliminated, industry need no longer take measures to protect birds from these hazards. In addition, when the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled more than 210 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico more than 1 million birds were killed in the four years following the blowout. BP paid $100 million in fines under the MBTA that supported wetland and migratory bird conservation. The new interpretation would bar the federal government from seeking such mitigation under the MBTA for devastating oil spills in the future.

(The American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society are being represented in the litigation by the public-interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.)

Quotes from conservation groups:
“The new policy makes it much harder to protect birds from major bird traps — threats like oil pits, wind turbines, and communication towers in bird migration hotspots,” said Mike Parr, President of American Bird Conservancy. “Leaving these threats unattended is like leaving manhole covers off along the sidewalk during rush hourit’s negligent, irresponsible, and guaranteed to cause harm.”
"The Trump administration's rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is an absolute disaster for America's birds," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Many bird species are already declining from habitat destruction and a host of other threats. This rule will allow the death of even more birds, whether they're landing on polluted ponds left uncovered by the oil and gas industry or have their nest trees cut down from underneath them. It's tragic."

For 100 years, the United States has committed with other nations to protect migratory birds through international treaties and laws. The Trump administration’s meddling with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act threatens to reverse decades of progress to conserve birds that are essential to ecosystems, economies and our enjoyment of nature. On the centennial of this important law, we will do everything we can to protect migratory birds that are defenseless against the reckless actions taken by this administration,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, CEO and President of Defenders of Wildlife.

“One of the first conservation laws, the MBTA sparked 100 years of conservation leadership in this country,” said Sarah Greenberger senior vice president of conservation policy for the National Audubon Society. “It defies all facts for the Department of the Interior to suggest that this law is somehow broken when we have a century of evidence that says otherwise.”

“We cannot let Secretary Zinke add one of the oldest and most important laws for birds to his list of anti-environmental giveaways, especially when birds are in critical need of protection.  Drastically slashing the reach of the MBTA and removing accountability for preventable bird deaths is unacceptable.” Katie Umekubo, Natural Resources Defense Council, Senior Attorney, Nature Program.


Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7490,

Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 484-7495,

Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-0269,

Jim Murphy, National Wildlife Federation, 802-595-5268,

Lisa Hardaway, National Audubon Society, (212) 979-3000,

Josh Mogerman, Natural Resources Defense Council, (312) 651-7909,
(Photo: Black-and-White Warbler is one of approximately 800 bird species regularly found in the United States. All of these species face increased threats from changes to the implementation and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo © Michael Stubblefield)

American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @abcbirds1.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more how to help at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Michael J. Parr
American Bird Conservancy
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 451
Washington, DC 20008
Tel/Fax/Txt: (202) 888 7486
Cell: (202) 684 5805
Twitter: @michaeljparr