Saturday, May 31, 2008

bird conservation, climate change news

Am amazing array of research news, NGO sources, and agency collaboration is pointing to links between bird populations, bird migration and climate change.

The Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) has a page devoted to this topic, here.

Partners In Flight has a bibliography on climate and birds here.

A link to a page on Nature Canada's website addresses the birds and climate change issue.

The Encyclopedia of Earth has new information on climate change, with a special collection of information here. News on climate change from Earth News is available here.

Climate Change Wales has info on the effects on birds in the western United Kingdom at their site, here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2008 Red List

Go to the website of BirdLife International to learn about the 2008 Red List - the list of endangered species worldwide. The number of threatened, endangered and critically endangered species is now one of every eight species: 1,226 . More details are at this link.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

worthwhile books, conservation, and more

I have been looking again just lately at Laura Erickson's fine book 101 Ways to Help Birds (2006 Stackpole Books) - it is a superb book - in fact, whether you buy it or get it from the library, I suggest that you may find this to be the one book with a conservation theme that covers all of the important topics, and does so with great insight and honesty. Don't miss it.

This weekend the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology's 69th year was marked by the society's annual Convention. WSO hosted a superb keynote speaker, Carrol Henderson from the Minnesota DNR. Carrol has written a number of fine books. His latest is focused on the same topic he covered in his keynote address: Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs. This new book (Univ. of Texas Press) is bound to be a fascinating read - it is concerned with 19th century egg collecting, and the links that egg collecting has to the science of ornithology, modern birding, and the simultaneous development of avian conservation. Read more about it here, or here.
Learn more about WSO at their website. If you're not a member, I recommend you find out what you're missing, by attending any one of WSO's field trips, checking out the society's quarterly journal (The Passenger Pigeon - learn more about the journal here), its newsletter, The Badger Birder, bookstore, other events, and then join us - WSO is a great organization.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

help this species: Purple Martin!

Here's a species that really needs help, and if you have some space, and the desire to provide housing, the Purple Martin really can make use of it here in Wisconsin.
The trend map above (top) shows one way of representing decline here in the upper Midwest (using BBS data). The second figure above is a graph of ~37 years of BBS data for this species on Wisconsin BBS routes. It's clearly declining.
Lots of people have martin houses, but lots of those houses are not being used. There's abundant information to help correct this. Go to the website of the Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA) to learn how to properly put up and maintain a martin house, and sustain a group of martins over a long period. It does require some effort and time - it IS a commitment. But as you can see from the map and graph above, this species is in decline in this state, and can really use the help. Bluebirds have greatly benefited from human efforts to rebuild their populations. Martins need the same kind of advocacy! One critical factor is the location of a martin house, another is caring for it in winter to exclude house sparrows or starlings. Martins can't use the house if either of the other two species is already in possession. It's easy to do this right - follow the info at this link. PMCA will help show you where to locate a house, what to do in winter to exclude exotic species, and how to have success with helping this species over the long haul.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

news May 7

I'll keep this notice very brief:

Resources from this year's Partners in Flight Conference are available here.

Read the latest news from the Birding CommunityE-Bulletin here.

Even though we don't see many Barn owls here in WI, there are conservation activities aplenty involving this species around the world. Read more at the site of of the Barn Owl Trust.

Read some news from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center here.

Then, if you're still in the reading mode, you can read Jeff Wells' Boreal Bird Blog at this link.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

the Endangered Species Act and bird conservation

Despite what some people apparently think about my post the other day day regarding the Endangered Species Act and the whooping cranes, my intent was to remind people that the cranes are protected by that federal law - a law that has proven very useful for conservation of endangered and threatened species. I am surprised by the fact that I have had to spend so much time this past week defending the law, to birders no less. I am chagrined to learn that many people think their "right" to see a bird trumps the protection afforded that bird species by the federal law.

Although some folks think it is unnecessary that whoopers get extra protection, I don't agree that whoopers are more likely to "accept" or tolerate near human presence, either now or in the future. Imagine if you will, the many years of research done on this species in Canada, Texas, at ICF, at Patuxent in Maryland and by the many people who have devoted their entire careers and professional lives in the service of conservation of the species and its place in North America. The species and its behavior are extremely well-known. The recommendations are based on all of those many thousands of hours of work. Disturbance in species in this situation is well-known for the impact it creates - not a good impact, but an extremely negative one. After literally millions of dollars, years of effort, incredible expertise and scientific work, I contend we should follow the guidelines, stay well away from the birds, and give the process a chance to work. Then, maybe someday, there will be wild whoopers ranging throughout Wisconsin's wetlands. It's a worthwhile goal and one that deserves a chance to work

If you've wondered or maybe have forgotten what the law has accomplished, perhaps the information at these links can refresh your memory: