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 *********************************************************************************************************************************** INDEX TO FEATURES VOLUME: 2003 ISSUE: SUMMER *********************************************************************************************************************************** **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** *********************************************************************************************************************************** *********************************************** **IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS UPDATE** *********************************************** 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). *********************************************************** **AUDUBON WATCHLIST** *********************************************************** 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 . ******************************************************************** **BIRD CONSERVATION NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE** ******************************************************************** 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. *TO SUBSCRIBE to Audubon's Bird Conservation newsletter send an e-mail to LISTSERV@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the following text in the body of your e-mail: SUBSCRIBE Bird-Conservation-News Archives of the Bird Conservation Newsletter are available at http://www.audubon.org/bird/news.html and http://list.audubon.org/archives/bird-conservation-news.html Please visit Audubon online at: www.audubon.org National Audubon Society Bird Conservation Program Audubon Science Office 545 Almshouse Road Ivyland, Pa 18974 PH: 215-355-9588 FX: 215-355-2353 copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by National Audubon Society, Inc. All rights reserved. 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