Tuesday, November 19, 2013

News from the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network Coordinator
Hired by Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (WGLBBO) are pleased to announce that we have chosen Dr. Amber Roth, PhD, of Michigan Technological University as the new Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network Coordinator, effective January 1, 2014. Dr. Roth has a one-year position with WGLBBO, funded via a grant we were awarded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to continue development of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network, bringing to fruition a vision under development for the past three years. Dr. Roth’s primary charge will be development of a Strategic Action Plan for the Landbird Migration Monitoring Network. The proposed Plan will cover the eight-state Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The 16-member Midwest Migration Monitoring Network, a working group within the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership, was established to increase bird survival throughout the annual cycle by contributing to the understanding of migratory connectivity through a well-coordinated network of observers. 

Dr. Roth can be reached at amroth@mtu.edu.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group news

The Working Group met yesterday in Madison. We remembered our missing member, Dr. Noel Cutright, whose influence will continue to guide us.
Among news of many successful swift nights out, and other current projects of the Working Group, we had a great presentation from teachers, elementary school students, parents, and the village administrator from Hartland, who are working on the planned replacement of a chimney that was part of an historic building there, and which housed a roosting  flock of over 1,000 swifts this past late summer/early autumn. Their project can hopefully inspire others in communities around the Midwest. They are collecting funds to pay for the new structure, and we will provide some scientific and operational guidance for their project.
A new WISwifts.org website is in the works - looks for more news soon.
Assistance wanted: if you value the presence of swifts and would like to join our community of citizen scientists and volunteers, we have a winter project to work on while the swifts are on the wintering grounds. When you are in your home town, if you see likely chimneys that might be used as roosts - especially if you know they have NOT been monitored to date - please note the location with either a street address, a road intersection, or GPS coordinates, and send them to me. Photos are also helpful. More news on this off-season project to come!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Noel Cutright, ornithologist and ecologist

Noel Cutright, ornithologist and ecologist, died on Sunday November 10th. Over the last few months, our good friend gradually lost his battle with liver cancer. On the other hand, he never gave in to it. And up to the end he kept on working and fighting for bird conservation, and a sustainable environment for people and wildlife. He devoted his life to these things, and will not be forgotten. His work continues. To best honor and remember him, join us to work on his priority issues of bird and wildlife conservation. There's endless work yet to be done. In Noel's lifetime, he achieved many victories -- but he would be the first to tell you that we have a long way to go.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

some bird conservation news from the American Bird Conservancy

Bird Conservation Updates from American Bird Conservancy - November 7, 2013

Dr. Michael Hutchins, Renowned International Wildlife, Expert Joins American Bird Conservancy to Oversee Wind Energy Campaign 

Dr. Michael Hutchins, an international authority on wildlife conservation, management, and policy who has authored over 220 scholarly and popular articles and books on wildlife issues, has joined the staff of American Bird Conservancy (ABC). He will oversee the organization’s Bird-Smart wind energy campaign.

“We are thrilled that Michael is joining our team and excited to have his considerable talents focused on the challenges associated with making wind a Bird-Smart energy source,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of ABC.

As wind campaign coordinator, he will lead ABC’s national efforts to make wind developments Bird-Smart and minimize the impact of this rapidly expanding energy source on bird populations. For more details see http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/131030a.html.

Comment to Conserve Greater Sage-Grouse
A national effort is underway to conserve the magnificent Greater Sage-Grouse, known for its spectacular mating dance. You can be part of this effort to reverse declining grouse populations, while providing for sustainable use of public lands and a legacy of protected landscapes.  Send a comment letter urging that BLM’s Northwest Colorado plan adopt conservation measures—called the conservation alternative, or "Alternative C"—to ensure sustainable management for the Greater Sage-Grouse. Please click on this link to send a comment letter: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5400/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15715

Ø  More on sage-grouse: Babbitt on Grouse: National Strategy Needed to Conserve Iconic Species. Defenders of Wildlife Blog by Noah Matson: http://www.defendersblog.org/2013/10/babbitt-grouse-national-strategy-needed-conserve-iconic-species/

Cats Indoors Action Alert: Sign On Letter to Protect Wildlife and Public Lands

Given the proven degree of environmental harm and human health risks, federal and state agencies responsible for managing wildlife and public lands need to take action to protect birds and other wildlife from cat predation. American Bird Conservancy has drafted a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell asking the Department to develop a clear management policy to protect wildlife and to address the impacts of feral cat colonies on public lands. Eighty bird and habitat conservation organizations have endorsed the letter thus far. Please take a look and consider adding your organization to the list of endorsements.

Report from Gov't of Canada Echoes U.S. Finding: Outdoor Cats are Leading Human-Caused Source of Bird Mortality

A new study from the government of Canada that looked at more than 25 human-caused sources of bird mortality has found that domestic cats, both feral and owned, are the leading lethal threat to birds in the country. The study found that the median estimate of cat-caused mortality—almost 200 million bird deaths per year—was about six times greater than the next leading mortality estimate of about 32 million attributed to car collisions. The third-leading cause was collisions with buildings or homes, with a rate of about 22 million bird deaths per year. For more see http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/131001.html.

Los Angeles Zoo treats 21 California condors for lead poisoning
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In the wild they are tough, living up to 80 years and surviving primarily on animal carcass. But these California condors now need help.
"Some of them are upwards of 15, 16, 17 years old, and we raised them way back then. To see that it's kind of heartbreaking. They're [sic] food is poisoned, so nothing can survive that," Los Angeles Zoo animal keeper Michael Clark said.
A record 21 condors have been taken to the L.A. Zoo for rehabilitation in a two-week period, caught by Fish and Wildlife and testing positive for lead poisoning. Field crews trap condors in the wild twice a year to check their health and to put transmitters on them. Clark says he expects more to come in. See http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Flos_angeles&id=9308716 for video.
Wisconsin's 2011 Blow-Down Area Provides Benefits for Imperiled Species

Not far from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, a massive 2011 wind storm struck and leveled trees for miles across northwestern Wisconsin, causing a variety of widespread problems, which for some are still an issue today. Yet out of the wind-strewn wreckage comes a happy “re-start” for the tiny Golden-winged Warbler, one of the most threatened, non-federally listed bird species in eastern North America.

A unique set of partners—the state of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), six county governments in the state, private landowners, and American Bird Conservancy (ABC)—have united to take advantage of this opportunity to create the required habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler. For more see http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/131030.html.

Ø  More on Golden-Winged Warbler from Wisconsin Public Radio: http://news.wpr.org/post/conservation-efforts-golden-winged-warbler-continue

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Toolkit Now Available

The NMBCA outreach toolkit was developed by the NMBCA Communications Team (ABC, Audubon, AFWA, Cornell, and FWS).  It includes key messages, statistics, graphics, and other resources for media or partners who wish to communicate about the NMBCA. Please check it out at http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NMBCA/outreach.shtm. 

Training on State Wildlife Action Plans Now Available Online

On June 4-6, 2013, National Wildlife Federation, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted Connect, Collaborate, and Conserve In an Era of Changing Landscapes: An Interactive Training on State Wildlife Action Plans, at the U.S. FWS's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. With federally mandated revisions to State Wildlife Action Plans due in 2015, this training was meant to ensure that the updated plans will be the best they can be. Each day focused on a broad topic, covering landscape conservation, climate change, and building public support.

The agenda, powerpoints, and videos of presentations are available on the NWF Workshops website, under "National Training": http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Protect-Wildlife/State-Wildlife-Action-Plans/Workshops.aspx.

Steve Holmer
Senior Policy Advisor
American Bird Conservancy
202/234-7181 ext 216
202/744-6459 cell
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

20,000+ Long-tailed Ducks today: ongoing waterfowl & waterbird surveys: Lake Michigan

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory is conducting an ongoing series of waterfowl and waterbird surveys in the offshore waters of Lake Michigan, from northern Door County to the WI-IL border. These surveys are part of a  coordinated effort involving a group of partner entities surveying the Great Lakes for waterfowl and waterbirds. Surveys conducted today covered survey blocks offshore from northern  Manitowoc, Kewaunee, and Door counties. Our transects parallel the lakeshore, and are done at distances of 1 mile, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 miles from shore. Today was an exceptionally productive day. We tallied over 20,000 Long-tailed Ducks, more than 5,000 Red-breasted Mergansers, 30+ Common Loons, a single jaeger (not identified to species), a Red-necked Grebe, moderate-sized flocks and/or small groups of all 3 scoter species, Horned Grebes, a single large flock of Redheads, several
Ph by Wolfgang Wander, Wikim. Commons
Glaucous Gulls, many Herring Gulls, and about a dozen flocks of Tundra Swans with from 4 to 65 birds in each flock.