[audubon-news] FW: Audubon Bird Conservation News -Summer 2003

  • From: "BIANCHI, John" <JBIANCHI@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipients:;
  • Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2003 12:17:04 -0400



AUDUBON BIRD CONSERVATION NEWSLETTER
The Audubon Bird Conservation Newsletter is an electronic periodical that 
brings you up to date on the accomplishments and work of Audubon's Bird 
Conservation efforts, the progress of the Important Bird Areas Program, and 
issues and events in bird conservation.  (To Subscribe please see instructions 
at the end of this newsletter)  

Please visit Audubon online at: www.audubon.org

Bird Conservation Program, Audubon Science Office, 545 Almshouse Road, Ivyland, 
PA 18974

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INDEX TO FEATURES       VOLUME: 2003 ISSUE: SUMMER
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**IMPORTANT BIRD AREA UPDATES**
*IBA SCORECARD
*IBA CONFERENCE

*STATE PROGRESS
1. CONNECTICUT
2. ILLINOIS
3. MASSACHUSETTS
4. MINNESOTA
5. MISSISSIPPI
6. NEBRASKA
7. NEW HAMPSHIRE
8. NEW YORK
9. OHIO
10. OREGON
11. TEXAS
12. UTAH
13. WISCONSIN
14. WYOMING

**AUDUBON WATCHLIST**
1. FEATURED SPECIES - BLACK-CAPPED PETREL

**BIRD CONSERVATION NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE**
1. AUDUBON'S BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA
2. WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL RELEASES "WATERBIRD POPULATION ESTIMATES"
3. INVASIVE SPECIES A MAJOR THREAT TO AMERICA'S DECLINING BIRDS
4. MARINE ORNITHOLOGY - ONLINE!
5. DIRECTORY OF IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS IN PANAMA UNVEILED
6. NEW REPORT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CANADA'S BOREAL FOREST TO NORTH AMERICAN 
BIRDS
7. RAMSAR DATA GATEWAY - WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE
8. NAVY PLAN THREATENS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
9. IOWA - RELEASE OF "A BIRD'S EYE VIEW" (HABITAT NEEDS FOR NEOTROPICAL 
MIGRANTS)

**UPCOMING EVENTS & MEETINGS**

**SUBSCRIPTION INSTRUCTIONS**
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**IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS UPDATE**
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The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is an international effort to identify, 
conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for 
bird populations.  BirdLife International (www.birdlife.net) began the IBA 
program in Europe in 1985.  Since that time, BirdLife partners in more than 100 
countries have joined together to build the global IBA network.

Audubon (BirdLife partner-designate for the U.S.) has been working since 1995 
to identify and conserve hundreds of IBAs throughout the United States.  
Important Bird Areas often support a significant proportion of one or more 
species total population.  Through the IBA program, we're setting science-based 
conservation priorities and engaging local action to safeguard the most 
essential sites for America's bird populations.  We work with local communities 
and stakeholder groups; scientists, local, state and federal governments; and 
non-governmental organizations.  By cooperating on essential habitat 
conservation, we're building a healthier world for birds and all biodiversity - 
including our own species.

*IBA SCORECARD
- 46 State Programs Underway
- 40 States With Paid Staff (6 State IBA programs led by volunteers)
- 78 Staff Members Involved in IBA Program Implementation, Coordination, & 
Management
- 19 Additional staff members not directly affiliated with NAS
- 10 States With Documented Inventories - CA, CO, FL, ID, MD, NY, NC, PA, WA, WY
- 33 Global IBAs
- 1500 State IBAs 
- 36 Million Acres Encompassed in Identified IBAs
- >4000 Participants Involved

*IBA CONFERENCE
Audubon's 3rd Annual Important Bird Areas Conference was held in Port Aransas, 
Texas from 23 to 26 April 2003.  Approximately 75 individuals attended the 
meeting, including representatives from 36 of the state IBA programs and Puerto 
Rico's program.  In addition, some of the organizations and agencies 
represented included BirdLife International, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Partners in Flight, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife 
Agencies, the National Park Service Park Flight Program, the Canadian Nature 
Federation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Attendees came from throughout the 
US as well as Canada, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom.

During the course of two and a half days, participants listened to various 
presentations and discussed means of "getting back to the basics" of the IBA 
program.  Topics covered the current status of the program, along with 
inventory and data needs, the application of criteria in defining IBAs, the 
involvement of citizen scientists in monitoring, stewardship, partnerships, 
land trusts, the implementation of conservation plans, funding, communications, 
and the future direction of the IBA program.  

The evenings were filled with exciting presentations and discussion as well.  
Participants were welcomed the first evening with Texas Parks and Wildlife's 
Cliff Shackelford speaking about "Birdlife of the Coastal Prairies".  The 
following evening, using the Mississippi River as an example, a panel discussed 
"IBAs as a path to on the ground conservation and policy".  The final evening, 
after a long day of presentations and field trips, Robert Ridgely recounted his 
extraordinary experiences in Ecuador in his presentation, "The Discovery of the 
Jocotoco Antpitta, and How it Galvanized the Protection of IBAs for the most 
At-risk Bird Species in Ecuador".

Opportunities to explore and enjoy the Texas outdoors were provided as well, 
with one morning scheduled for field trips to local birding sites, including 
the Port Aransas Wetland Park, the Port Aransas Birding Center, Paradise Pond, 
and the Port Aransas Jetty.  At these sites, participants were treated to 
excellent views of shorebirds, gulls, wading birds, and migrating warblers, 
among others.  

Follow the Bird Conservation Newsletter for details on next IBA Conference.  


*STATE PROGRESS

1. CONNECTICUT
Audubon Connecticut, the GE Foundation, and the GE Elfun Volunteers are proud 
to announce the grand opening of an informational kiosk at the Audubon Center 
at Bent of the River IBA. The construction of this kiosk was made possible as 
part of a $60,000 grant given to the National Audubon Society by the General 
Electric Foundation, as well as the hard work of GE Elfun Volunteers.  There 
was significant press coverage of this event, with the local NBC affiliate 
doing live weather reports broadcast from the Bent of the River for their 11:00 
AM news program, and articles in at least two local papers.  

To learn more about Audubon Connecticut and the activities of the Important 
Bird Areas program contact Patrick Comins (pcomins@xxxxxxxxxxx)

2. ILLINOIS
The Illinois IBA program, coordinated by Audubon - Chicago Region, began in 
December 2002, and focuses on sites of statewide importance.  Building on the 
work of previous IBA efforts, the initial goals of the Illinois program are to 
identify the most important places for birds and the threats to these sites.  
Following the site identification phase, conservation teams (i.e., for 
monitoring, restoration, advocacy) will be organized. 

A technical committee has developed lists of important species in the state and 
threshold numbers for sites that contain congregations of birds.  The species 
were chosen based on the state endangered species list as well as current 
national efforts to identify birds of conservation concern.  This list, along 
with information about the criteria and the technical committee, is available 
from http://www.habitatproject.org .

Nominations for the first round of IBA designations are due by 30 September 
2003.  The technical committee will evaluate nominations to determine whether 
sites meet IBA criteria.  After a site is nominated, conservation teams will 
form to write action plans to address threats at the site.  Participants will 
include the landowner and others who have important contributions to make to 
the planning process, such as local conservation groups, birders, and stewards. 
 Team strategies can include the following: recommending privately owned sites 
for willing-seller acquisition, negotiating conservation easements, cooperating 
with land managers to design and implement management plans, public education 
and outreach, research and monitoring and local ecotourism.  

If you would like to nominate a site, serve as an "IBA ambassador" for your 
organization, or to schedule an IBA presentation, please contact the IBA 
coordinator, Judy Pollock (jpollock@xxxxxxxxxxx) or visit 
http://www.habitatproject.org/ 

3. MASSACHUSETTS
The Massachusetts Audubon Society has recently released a list of 80 Important 
Bird Areas.  Detailed site accounts should also be available shortly.  To 
review this list of sites or to find out how you can get involved in IBA 
activities in Massachusetts visit 
http://massaudubon.org/Birds_&_Beyond/IBA/sites.html 

4. MINNESOTA
Audubon Minnesota's IBA program has recently received a grant from the 
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) for Geographic Information 
System software and staff training.  This support is expected to greatly 
facilitate the selection, tracking, and analysis of IBA sites and corresponding 
data.  Specifically, it will allow for the inclusion of IBAs into the state 
natural resource database system.  

Audubon Minnesota is also working with the Minnesota Department of Natural 
Resources Nongame Program to obtain funding for IBA efforts.  The Nongame 
Program is currently the primary funder of IBA activities in Minnesota.  

To learn more about Audubon Minnesota and the IBA Program contact Mark Martell 
(mmartell@xxxxxxxxxxx) or visit http://www.audubon.org/chapter/mn/mn/ 

5. MISSISSIPPI
Audubon Mississippi has progressed through the IBA identification process, 
having developed a slate of 40 to 50 key sites for conservation.  Detailed 
accounts of each site are nearly complete.  The accounts will be used to 
increase awareness of the statewide IBA program and to begin the conservation 
planning process.  Initially, the accounts will be reproduced in book format 
with a draft slated for completion this fall.  

Audubon Mississippi and its Important Bird Areas Program are growing quickly.  
A new state office will be moving to downtown Vicksburg later this summer.  
Housed in a historic building near the center of town and the Mississippi 
River, the office will be located near a key IBA for breeding Swainson's and 
Worm-eating Warblers in addition to many other migratory birds.  The Vicksburg 
National Military Park will be valuable for education and outreach given its 
urban location and high visitation.  At 1,700 acres, the park is twice the size 
of Central Park in New York.  Up to 1 million visitors come to the park each 
year, and it is a popular recreation area for walking, running and biking by 
local residents.  Working with the U.S. Geological Survey, Audubon has 
initiated a monitoring effort to survey migrating and breeding songbirds in the 
Loess Hills habitat.  Data were collected over 15 days in spring and summer 
using the Breeding Bird Survey technique over a 10-mile route.  Data collection 
will continue in future years, and Audubon expects to work with the National 
Park Service to engage others in monitoring and to help ensure biologically 
sound management.  The new office also will be involved in conservation 
activities on and around the Mississippi River, including habitats for the 
threatened Interior Least Tern as well as sites for migrating shorebirds and 
breeding waterbirds.  Vicksburg is also home to the headquarters of Mississippi 
River activities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more information about the Mississippi IBA program, contact Bruce Reid 
(breid@xxxxxxxxxxx) or visit http://www.msaudubon.com/ 

6. NEBRASKA
Audubon Nebraska is moving forward with their IBA efforts thanks to a grant 
from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  One key site, the Spring Creek 
Prairie Audubon Center - a 626-acre tallgrass prairie preserve and likely 
Important Bird Area - is a haven for grassland birds and species on Audubon's 
WatchList.  One WatchList species, the Greater Prairie-Chicken, was recently 
documented breeding on the preserve.  In June, a female Greater Prairie-Chicken 
and two chicks were observed, documenting nesting for this species at the site 
for the first time.  Further, a flock of 17 prairie-chickens were also observed 
last fall.  Other grassland species occurring at the site include Henslow's, 
Grasshopper, and Field Sparrow, Dickcissel, Upland Sandpiper, Horned Lark, and 
Bobolink.

Land management goals at Spring Creek, located near Lincoln, Nebraska, involve 
the removal of woody species from uplands, as well as controlling all invasive 
woody species over the entire property (e.g., honey locust, multi-flora rose, 
etc.).  Trees will remain along streams and in ravines to satisfy the nesting 
needs of declining species such as Red-headed Woodpecker, Bell's Vireo, and 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

To learn more about Audubon's Spring Creek Prairie or to find out how to visit, 
see http://www.audubon.org/chapter/ne/spngcrk.htm.  To find out how to get 
involved with Audubon Nebraska's IBA activities contact Kevin Poague 
(kpoague@xxxxxxxxxxx).  

7. NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire's first Important Bird Area (IBA) was dedicated on 10 May 2003 as 
part of an International Migratory Bird Day celebration.  The Pondicherry 
Wildlife Refuge (part of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge) 
is located in Jefferson and Whitefield and supports breeding populations of 
several state species of conservation concern: Common Loon, Sora, Rusty 
Blackbird, Marsh Wren, American Black Duck (and 6 other waterfowl species), 
among others.  Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, and several warblers 
nest in the surrounding spruce-fir forest and Northern Harriers nest in the 
nearby grassland habitat.  Researchers and birding enthusiasts have recorded 
230 species of birds at Pondicherry since 1890.

In addition to Pondicherry, the New Hampshire IBA technical committee has also 
approved the identification of three other sites: Great Bay, Isles of Shoals, 
and high elevations (2500-5000') of the White Mountain National Forest (for 
Bicknell's Thrush).  

The New Hampshire IBA Program is a partnership among UNH Cooperative Extension, 
Audubon Society of NH, NH Fish and Game Department, and the state's avian 
researchers, habitat managers, landowners, and birders.  The goal is to 
identify and conserve areas that are critical to one or more bird species for 
breeding, feeding, wintering or migration and to avert population declines of 
common and uncommon birds. 

For more information about Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge and the NH IBA Program 
visit http://www.nhaudubon.org/sanctuaries/pondicherry.htm and 
http://www.ceinfo.unh.edu/forestry/documents/NHIBA.htm 

8. NEW YORK
Audubon New York continues with the second round of IBA identifications.  With 
the grassroots nomination period and the GIS assessment of bird habitat 
completed, efforts are now underway to unify this information and make 
determinations about sites.  The aim of the GIS assessment was to predict the 
"biggest and best" sites for species that New York has a high responsibility to 
conserve.  The results showed that more than half of the sites predicted to be 
IBAs were completely or partially contained within existing IBA boundaries.  An 
encouraging find, this exercise revealed that two different approaches to 
identifying IBAs, one via grassroots nominations and the other via GIS 
assessment, identified similar sites.  

Following the GIS assessment, potential IBAs predicted were ground-truthed 
using current Breeding Bird Atlas data (2000-2002) along with additional field 
surveys.  Audubon New York found that the GIS assessment did a better job of 
predicting sites for forest species than for early successional species (shrub 
and grassland species), probably due to the ephemeral nature and patchiness of 
early successional habitat.  The analysis also revealed that most of the 
conserved lands in New York are forested.  Therefore, if early successional 
habitats are a priority for bird conservation, efforts need to be taken to 
establish tracts of habitats that are appropriately managed for those species.  

Audubon New York will hold the next IBA Technical Committee meeting in August 
and a finalized list of new IBAs will be released this fall.  To learn more 
about this second round of IBA identifications in New York or to uncover 
information on those sites previously identified visit 
http://www.audubon.org/chapter/ny/ny/ or contact Jillian Liner 
(jliner@xxxxxxxxxxx).  

9. OHIO
Audubon Ohio dedicated Hueston Woods State Park as an Important Bird Area on 26 
April 2003.  Located in Butler and Preble Counties, this site includes unique 
mature beech-maple forest, deciduous woodlands, Acton Lake and various riparian 
corridors.  The Hueston Woods IBA functions as a stopover site for neotropical 
migrants, and as a sanctuary for many vagrant species.  It supports breeding 
records for priority bird species such as Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Black 
Vulture, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Virginia Rail, Sora, 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Whip-poor-will, Red-headed Woodpecker, 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Purple Martin, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged 
Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Vesper 
Sparrow, and Eastern Meadowlark.

Hueston Woods is one of 97 sites that have been identified in Ohio as Important 
Bird Areas.  Under the direction of biology professor Dr. Edward H. Burtt of 
Ohio Wesleyan University, the Ohio Important Bird Areas Technical Committee 
identifies the state's IBAs according to strict standardized scientific 
criteria.  IBA sites must meet at least one of the following criteria in order 
to qualify: a high concentration of birds; birds associated with a unique 
habitat; one or more species of high conservation priority; or a long history 
of bird research.  

As a critical flyway used by migrating North American and Neotropical birds, 
the Ohio region is abundant in birdlife and plays a vital role in the breeding, 
feeding, and migration cycles of hundreds of bird species.  Audubon Ohio's IBA 
program seeks public involvement in the conservation of a network of nearly 100 
sites throughout the state that will be protected or managed with the 
conservation of these birds in mind.

To learn more about Audubon Ohio and the Important Bird Areas Program and to 
find out how you can get involved visit 
http://www.audubon.org/chapter/oh/oh/ibas.html or contact John Ritzenthaler 
(jritzenthaler@xxxxxxxxxxx).  

10. OREGON
Oregon's Important Bird Areas Program has been busy over the course of the last 
year developing a new website and identifying IBAs throughout the state.  
Beginning in January 2003, approximately 100 nominations were reviewed by the 
Oregon IBA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).  The committee review process 
resulted in an initial slate of 60 IBAs.  With sites still under review, 
activities remaining in 2003 and for the future include: clearly documenting 
(via the IBA website) the avian values of the IBAs, soliciting another round of 
nominations, and encouraging the coordination of bird conservation and 
monitoring at Oregon's IBAs. 

The next meeting of the TAC will take place this fall or winter.  Agenda items 
include review of previously nominated sites and evaluation of newly nominated 
sites, as well as a review of the direction of the Oregon IBA effort. 

For more information about Oregon's IBA efforts and to see a list and map of 
the sites visit http://www.oregoniba.org/ or contact Matt Hunter 
(matt.hunter@xxxxxxxxx).  

11. TEXAS
Audubon Texas gained a significant boost to their IBA Program with the hiring 
of an IBA Coordinator.  Ned Wright joins the Audubon Texas staff after working 
with Texas Parks and Wildlife to monitor Black-capped Vireo populations in 
north-central and west Texas.  In addition, Ned has worked with Environmental 
Defense of Texas and the Chalk Mountain Wildlife Association to enhance, 
restore and protect Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat in 
Somervell Co., Texas.  Prior to his efforts with these species, Ned spent one 
year with the Attwater Prairie-Chicken propagation facility at Fossil Rim 
Wildlife Center.  Ned has participated with bird conservation since his 
education at the University of Wisconsin Madison including studies in West 
Virginia, Southern Chile and one summer as an Aplomado Falcon hack site 
attendant at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.  Ned eagerly anticipates 
the chance to work with the Coastal Bend Audubon Society, as well as other 
chapters, in the nomination, monitoring, and on-the-ground conservation phases 
of the Texas Important Bird Areas Program.  

Due to the diversity in the Texas landscape, the IBA program will be divided 
into different regions that are loosely tied to Bird Conservation Regions.  The 
first region to be focused on will be the coastal region for the obvious 
importance that it holds for a wide variety of birds.  Work is now underway to 
identify committees, establish draft criteria and develop nomination materials

Ned will be stationed at the Blucher Nature Center with Jesse Grantham, the 
Director of Bird Conservation, and Iliana Pena, the Director of Education.  If 
you have questions, comments, or information regarding Texas's IBA Program 
please contact Ned at 361-884-2634 or nwright@xxxxxxxxxxxx

12. UTAH
The Utah Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is pleased to announce five new 
IBAs in the state: Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Ouray NWR, 
Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch, Fremont River within Capitol Reef National 
Park, and Clear Lake Waterfowl Management Area.  

These five new IBAs contain a variety of habitats, including wetlands and 
riparian systems, shrubsteppe and forest areas.  Each type of habitat serves 
different bird species.  For example, three of the sites are critical to 
waterfowl and/or wading birds: Ouray NWR is used by more than 1,400 American 
White Pelicans peaking in mid-September to mid-November; Fish Springs NWR 
serves 500 White-faced Ibis during the breeding season; and Clear Lake 
Waterfowl Management Area surveys show use by 6,000 Northern Pintail during 
spring migration.  Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch is home to more than 2,000 
Sage Grouse, while the Fremont River within Capitol Reef National Park contains 
up to 1,000 Virginia's Warblers just prior to fall migration.  

The Utah IBA program has a current working list of over 40 additional sites 
that could be selected as Important Bird Areas.  The sites are located in 22 of 
Utah's 29 counties.  For more information on the program and to find out how 
you can get involved visit http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/utah/ or contact 
Wayne Martinson (wmartinson@xxxxxxxxxxx)

13. WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin Important Bird Areas Program has hired an IBA Coordinator.  Yoyi 
(pronounced Georgi) Hernandez will be working for the Wisconsin Bird 
Conservation Initiative, through a contract with the Wisconsin Society for 
Ornithology, to assist with the identification of the states most important 
sites for birds.  

Yoyi, a native of Mexico who grew up in Bermuda and Puerto Rico, has an 
undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and an 
M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from University of 
Wisconsin Madison.  Some of her professional experiences include working on 
Mexican Wolf reintroduction in Arizona, a field season at Point Reyes Bird 
Observatory in California, thesis work in the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere 
Reserve in Jalisco, Mexico, and most recently working on Karner Blue 
Butterflies in Wisconsin.  

As IBA Coordinator, Yoyi will initially be assisting with the coordination and 
management of IBA site information.  The IBA program will be using a 
quantifiable system for identifying Important Bird Areas across the state.  
Many of Wisconsin's wildlife areas, forests, grasslands, and other diverse 
habitats will need to be nominated.  For questions about the IBA Program or to 
nominate a site please contact Yoyi at yoyi.hernandez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .  

14. WYOMING
Audubon Wyoming is pleased to announce four new IBAs in Wyoming: Palisades 
Wetlands, South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area, Flat Creek 
Marshes/Wetlands, and the Gros Ventre Riparian Complex (the last two are 
located within the National Elk Refuge).  

These four new IBAs contain a variety of habitats, including wetlands and 
riparian systems, and old growth cottonwood galleries surrounded by sagebrush 
uplands.  Each type of habitat serves different bird species.  South Park 
Wildlife Habitat Management Area and the Palisades Wetlands are critical to 
waterfowl and/or wading birds.  South Park provides habitat for nesting Bald 
Eagle, Barrow's Goldeneye and Osprey, as well as foraging and resting 
opportunities for migrating and resident Trumpeter Swan, Common Merganser, and 
many neotropical migrants.  Palisades Wetland serves as a nesting area for 
Common Loon, Wilson's Phalarope, and Marsh Wren, and supports more than 2,000 
migrating waterfowl per year.  

The Gros Ventre Riparian Complex supports a rare and unique habitat type in 
Wyoming, a mature cottonwood forest, which provides habitat for Trumpeter Swans 
throughout the year and breeding habitat for many species of neotropical 
migrants such as the Cordilleran Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, and 
Townsend's Warbler.  The surrounding sagebrush habitat supports Brewer's 
Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher.  Flat Creek Marsh/Wetland Complex 
is one of the largest wetland areas in northwest Wyoming and is a critical site 
for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.

The Wyoming IBA program has a current list of 35 sites, located within 16 of 
Wyoming's 23 counties.  IBA nominations are considered on an ongoing basis and 
reviewed by the Technical Review Group at their semi-annual meetings.  To learn 
more about Audubon Wyoming's Important Bird Areas Program and to find out how 
you can get involved contact Alison Lyon (alyon@xxxxxxxxxxx).  


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**AUDUBON WATCHLIST** 
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Despite the exciting recovery of Endangered birds like the Bald Eagle and 
Peregrine Falcon, more than one-quarter of America's birds are in trouble or 
decline.  Released in October 2002, the Audubon WatchList 
(http://www.audubon.org/bird/watchlist/) identifies 201 species of birds in 
need of conservation.  These birds show either significantly decreasing 
numbers, restricted ranges, or are under other threats.

1. FEATURED SPECIES - BLACK-CAPPED PETREL
Seabirds are one of the most critically threatened groups of birds.  Facing 
threats on their breeding grounds from invasive species, such as rats and cats 
that prey on eggs and chicks, and also on the open ocean from the fishing 
industry, primarily the longline fishery, the Procellarid seabirds 
(shearwaters, fulmars, and petrels) are one of the imperiled families of birds. 
 This family of seabirds contains about 79 species of which 45 (57%) are listed 
as species of Global Conservation Concern.

The Black-capped Petrel is listed on the Audubon WatchList as a red-light 
species.  With its population number around 2000 individuals, this Globally 
Endangered bird was decimated on its breeding grounds on the island of 
Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) by both humans and invasive 
predators.  

A medium-sized seabird, Black-capped Petrels are known for their rolling flight 
at sea.  Adults are mostly white underneath, and dark brown to black on the 
back and upper wings.  As signified by their name, these seabirds have a black 
"cap" and white collar behind the head.  The collar and their conspicuous white 
rump can help to separate them from the similar looking Jamaica Petrel (now 
believed to be extinct) and Bermuda Petrel.  Black-capped Petrels can reach 
wingspans of around 1 meter (over 3 feet).  

Black-capped Petrels live at sea during the non-breeding season, returning to 
their nesting sites from December to April, although birds have been reported 
at these locations as early as August. The species feeds along the edges of the 
Gulf Stream primarily in areas where deep ocean waters are forced to the 
surface. Their main diet is believed to consist of small squid and fish. 

Black-capped Petrels excavate burrows in the soil or use natural fissures in 
rock outcroppings as nesting sites. All known colonies are found in forested 
slopes of mountains at elevations 1,000 m (~4,000 ft) above sea level. Although 
little is known about the breeding biology of this species, it is believed to 
be similar to other petrels in the same genus, such as the Dark-rumped Petrel.  

To learn more about the Black-capped Petrel visit the Audubon WatchList 
(http://www.audubon.org/bird/watchlist).  For more about the threats that 
invasive species pose to seabirds and other bird species visit Audubon's 
Invasive Species Website http://www.stopinvasives.org/ .  To find out about 
Audubon's Living Oceans Program visit 
http://www.audubon.org/campaign/lo/index.html .  For more information about the 
Caribbean and its avifauna visit the Society for the Conservation and Study of 
Caribbean Birds http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/SCSCB/index.html .  

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**BIRD CONSERVATION NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE**
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1. AUDUBON'S BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA
Audubon is now hosting John James Audubon's Birds of America on the web: thanks 
to Richard Buonanno for making the HTML pages available.  From an 1840 "First 
Octavo Edition" of Audubon's complete seven-volume text, the images and text 
descriptions from this magnificent work are now available to anyone with 
Internet access.  Bird species can be found listed alphabetically or 
categorized by family.  Audubon's drawings of some species' anatomical features 
are also included in the "Figures" section.  The list of species that have gone 
extinct since Audubon's time was provided by Mr. Buonanno, as was the list of 
State Birds.

This web-accessible document should serve as insight into John James Audubon - 
the man, the artist, and the conservationist - and will hopefully foster a 
better understanding of the National Audubon Society and inspire new and 
renewed conservation efforts.  You can view the images and read the text from 
Audubon's Birds of America by visiting 
http://www.audubon.org/bird/BoA/BOA_index.html 

2. WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL RELEASES "WATERBIRD POPULATION ESTIMATES"
The third edition is now available for downloading from the Wetlands 
International Web site.  This new, much expanded and improved edition in full 
color includes a distribution map for each species.  It identifies 2,271 
biogeographical populations of 868 species recognized as waterbirds occurring 
throughout the world.  It provides estimates of the numerical abundance of 
1,725 (76%) of these populations and estimates population trends (whether 
declining, stable or increasing) for 1,138 (50%).  The publication sets 1% 
levels for use in applying Criterion 6 for identifying Wetlands of 
International Importance (RAMSAR Sites), and it provides information 
fundamental to the application of other Multilateral Environmental Agreements 
and conservation programs such as the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird 
Agreement (AEWA) under the Bonn Convention (CMS) and the Important Bird Areas 
Program.  Finally, "Waterbird Population Estimates - Third Edition" identifies 
gaps in knowledge of populations, species and geographical regions.  Users are 
encouraged to contribute to future editions by helping to fill these gaps.

To learn more and download the document, visit 
http://www.wetlands.org/pubs&/WPE.htm 

3. INVASIVE SPECIES A MAJOR THREAT TO AMERICA'S DECLINING BIRDS
Audubon has launched a new web site to help raise awareness about the threats 
invasive species pose to birds and all wildlife and their habitats.  By working 
with current Audubon programs such as Important Bird Areas and the WatchList, 
Audubon's invasive species campaign is identifying priority areas where 
immediate investments in invasive species control can yield meaningful 
conservation results.  Audubon's campaign supports legislative changes that 
would establish federal programs and authorize funding to control and contain 
invasive species problems through immediate, on-the-ground action and the 
sustained attention necessary to keep the problem solved.  To learn more about 
this new Audubon Initiative, read the "Cooling the Hot Spots Report", or to 
find out how you can get involved visit http://www.stopinvasives.org/ 

4. MARINE ORNITHOLOGY - ONLINE!
Marine Ornithology, supported and published biannually through a partnership 
between global seabird societies including the African Seabird Group, the 
Pacific Seabird Group, the Australasian Seabird Group, the Seabird Group (U.K.) 
and the Dutch Seabird Group, is available online for free.  Individual articles 
from this international journal focused on seabird science and conservation are 
available from Volume 16 (1998) to present.  

Visit www.marineornithology.org to uncover this great resource.  

5. DIRECTORY OF IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS IN PANAMA UNVEILED
The most detailed study to date of the status of birds and other wildlife in 
Panama, one of the world's most biologically diverse nations for its size, has 
revealed that many of its most globally important sites enjoy no formal 
protection and are in danger from deforestation, development and other threats.

The Directory of Important Bird Areas in Panama shows that El Chorogo-Palo 
Blanco, the best remaining site for the endemic birds of Panama's western 
Pacific slope, and the Upper Bay of Panama, used by more than 1.3 million 
migratory shorebirds from North America each year, are in urgent need of 
conservation action.  

The book may be obtained from the Panama Audubon Society, Aptdo 2026, Balboa, 
Republic of Panama, tel/fax +507 224 4740, email audupan@xxxxxxxxxxxx or 
info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Cost is US$25.00 each plus postage ($5.00 for Western 
Hemisphere).  You may send a check in USD.  For a detailed press release visit: 
http://www.birdlife.net/news/pr/2003/06/panama_iba.html 

6. NEW REPORT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CANADA'S BOREAL FOREST TO NORTH AMERICAN 
BIRDS

One in three birds across North America owes its existence to Canada's boreal 
forest.  New scientific evidence shows the fate of much of the continent's bird 
life depends on the future of this vast northern landscape - a future that is 
now at a crossroads.  The evidence is detailed in this new report, The 
Importance of Canada's Boreal Forest to Landbirds.  

Canada's boreal forest is the birthplace of as many as five billion of North 
America's warblers, thrushes, sparrows, hawks, woodpeckers and other land- 
birds.  It is also the largest intact forest ecosystem left in the world. The 
boreal, however, is under increasing pressure from development.  Logging, 
agricultural conversion, oil and gas exploration and production, mining and 
hydropower development are increasingly fragmenting the boreal.  The U.S. can 
play a critical role in protecting the boreal.  U.S. consumers purchase much of 
the pulp and wood products, oil and gas, and hydropower produced from the 
boreal.

The Importance of Canada's Boreal Forest to Landbirds was commissioned by the 
U.S.-based Boreal Songbird Initiative and the Canadian Boreal Initiative.  The 
Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is a new project dedicated to educating 
birdwatchers and naturalists throughout the United States about the importance 
of the boreal forest for migratory birds and assisting efforts in Canada to 
conserve it.  To obtain a copy of the report, or for more information about the 
Boreal Forest and birds, go to www.borealbirds.org  or www.borealcanada.ca .

7. RAMSAR DATA GATEWAY - WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE
The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce the availability of the Ramsar 
Wetlands Data Gateway, a Web-based information service developed by the Centre 
for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia 
University (USA), in collaboration with the Ramsar Bureau and Wetlands 
International.

Data about Ramsar sites from the Ramsar Sites Database maintained by Wetlands 
International are fully searchable using simple and advanced search tools, and 
an online mapping tool places Ramsar sites in their geographic context by 
providing map overlays of watershed boundaries, land cover, population density 
and major water bodies.

To explore the Gateway, please visit http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/ramsardg 

8. NAVY PLAN THREATENS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE/IMPORTANT BIRD AREA
The U.S. Navy is looking to build a jet landing field just three miles from the 
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, a Globally Important Bird Area.  The 
refuge, located on a coastal North Carolina peninsula, is one of our nation's 
most important winter homes for Tundra Swans and Snow Geese.  Up to 100,000 of 
these large migratory birds travel from as far away as Arctic Canada and 
Alaska, where they breed, to winter at the refuge.  Bald Eagles, red wolves, 
and many other significant wildlife species also call the area home.

The U.S. Navy, through the release of an Environmental Impact Statement, is 
recommending the development of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) near the refuge 
to support new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft proposed for bases in Virginia 
and North Carolina.  Throughout the EIS process, Audubon and many other 
conservation groups, state and federal biologists, and even a senior military 
safety expert warned the Navy of the severe risk of birds hitting planes and 
the massive disruption to refuge operations and wildlife the 150 low-level 
flights per day would cause.  To try to "manage" the risks, the Navy has 
announced plans to buy-out or condemn 30,000 acres of family farms around the 
2,000-acre landing field and make it unappealing to birds.  If land conversion 
won't drive away the birds, the Navy is proposing to harass the birds and even 
kill them if necessary.  Local citizens are in turmoil over the impacts to 
their communities and livelihoods.  

Please contact the Navy Secretary and your congressional representatives to let 
them know that this project is a bad investment of taxpayer dollars.  For quick 
action, go to Audubon's automated response website 
http://www.capitolconnect.com/audubon/summary.asp?subject=252

9. IOWA - RELEASE OF "A BIRD'S EYE VIEW" (HABITAT NEEDS FOR NEOTROPICAL 
MIGRANTS)
The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, with support from conservation groups 
including Audubon Iowa and Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign, has 
released a booklet entitled "A Bird's Eye View". The booklet describes habitat 
needs for neotropical birds focusing on the Upper Mississippi River Blufflands, 
otherwise known as the Driftless Area.  

This 52-page booklet describes the specific needs of "Iowa's jungle birds" - 
the Neotropical migratory birds that nest in the United States, Canada and 
southern Mexico and then migrate thousands of miles to winter in the tropical 
climates of southern Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.  
Designed for landowners, conservationists, policy-makers or bird enthusiasts, 
this booklet explores the definition of neotropical migrants, the threats they 
face, why humans should care, and what can be done to address those threats. It 
contains numerous photos, maps, illustrations and other support features.

The booklet can be downloaded in PDF format from the following web site: 
http://www.inhf.org/neotropbook.htm .  


*****UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS*****

*LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHOREBIRD MONITORING will take place during three 
weekends in August and September (August 9-10, 23-34, and Sept. 6-7).  
Sponsored by the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture (LMVJV), this count 
period provides an opportunity for you to go count shorebirds at your favorites 
site or sites and report your observations back to the Joint Venture's office 
via their web-based database.  Shorebird watchers are also encouraged to input 
all shorebird observations from the migration season.  For more information, 
visit the database, www.lmvjv.org/shorebird, or contact Randy Wilson 
(randy_wilson@xxxxxxx or 601-629-6626).  

*2003 RAPTOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION ANNUAL MEETING to be held 3-7 September in 
Anchorage, Alaska.  Early registration and abstract submissions due by 1 June 
(papers must be given in English).  An all-day symposium on the ecology and 
management of the Northern Goshawk will be held in conjunction with the 
conference.  Additional information about the meeting and how to register can 
be found at: http://biology.boisestate.edu/raptor/.  

*2003 MEETING OF THE WATERBIRD SOCIETY to be held 24-27 September 2003, in 
Cuiabá, the capital of the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.  Cuiabá is a modern 
city of over a million people situated between two unique natural preserves: 
the Pantanal and Chapada dos Guimarães.

The Pantanal, the largest freshwater wetland in the world, boasts the highest 
abundance of animal life on the continent, and is home to over 700 species of 
birds, 64 species of mammal and 405 species of fish.  Wading-bird colonies are 
a common attraction throughout the wetland, and Wood Storks and spoonbills will 
have large chicks at the time of the conference.

In contrast to the Pantanal's floodplains, the lesser-known Chapada dos 
Guimarães, to the north of Cuiabá, is a high plains cerrado region.  Famous for 
its chain of waterfalls, culminating in the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls, this 
area is known for its Scarlet Macaws, Seriemas, Burrowing Owls and Harpy 
Eagles. There is also a strong cultural and artistic tradition surrounding the 
local town, where the annual Winter Musical Festival is free and has presented 
such names as Jorge Ben Jor and Caetano Veloso.  Additional information about 
the conference can be found at: 
http://www.mp2-pwrc.usgs.gov/cws/annual_meeting.htm. 

*7th NEOTROPICAL ORNITHOLOGICAL CONGRESS to be held in Puerto Varas, Chile, 
from 5-11 October 2003.  The Neotropical Ornithological Congress brings 
together ornithologists and conservationists from across the neotropics and is 
convened every four years.  The scientific program will include plenary 
lectures, concurrent symposia sessions, oral papers, poster sessions and 
round-table discussions. The congress is open to all with interests in the 
study of birds of the neotropics, both resident as well as wintering migratory 
birds.  English and Spanish will be the working languages of the Congress.

For more information about the conference and how to participate, please visit: 
http://www.nocchile.cl.

*MORRO BAY WINTER BIRD FESTIVAL will be held from 16 - 19 January 2004 in Morro 
Bay California.  Migrate to one of the country's pre-eminent birding spots and 
join the Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) for the 8th Annual  Morro Bay 
Winter Bird Festival.  Morro Bay - located on California's scenic Central Coast 
- is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway and is recognized worldwide for 
its diversity of both resident and wintering birds. Over 200 species of birds 
have been identified during past Festivals.  

For more information about the Festival, check out the website, 
www.morro-bay.net/birds, where you can request that your name be added to the 
mailing list for the 2004 brochure. 

* BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL will be hosting the BirdLife World Conservation 
Conference & Global Partnership Meeting from 9 - 15 February 2004 in Durban, 
South Africa.  The Conference aims to share and celebrate successes, 
experiences, skills and knowledge in biodiversity conservation with a special 
focus on birds and empowering people to achieve conservation; to strengthen 
local, national and global capacity to deliver conservation action; to agree 
and adopt strategies and policies for the conservation of birds, wider 
biodiversity; and to achieve sustainability in the use of natural resources.  
For more information on the partnership meeting 
visithttp://www.turners.co.za/bird2004/ 

*THE WATERBIRDS AROUND THE WORLD CONFERENCE will take place in Edinburgh, 
Scotland from 3-8 April 2004.  The Conference will focus on all major themes 
and developments related to the global conservation of waterbird flyways during 
their full annual cycle: breeding areas, stop-over sites and wintering areas, 
harvest of waterbirds, site networks, flyway monitoring, flyway management 
plans, climate change and flyways, nomadic migration and many more.  It will 
address achievements of the last 40 years and formulate gaps and needs for 
initiatives to stimulate future conservation of the world's flyways and the 
species and habitats involved.  To learn more, visit 
http://www.wetlands.org/GFC/Default.htm 


AUDUBON BIRD CONSERVATION NEWSLETTER
The Audubon Bird Conservation Newsletter is an electronic periodical that 
brings you up to date on the accomplishments and work of Audubon's Bird 
Conservation Program, the progress of the Important Bird Areas Initiative, and 
issues and events in bird conservation.

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Archives of the Bird Conservation Newsletter are available at 
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Ivyland, Pa 18974
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