[audubon-news] FW: Audubon Bird Conservation News - Winter/Early Spring 2003

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  • Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 11:33:51 -0400

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-----Original Message-----
From: CECIL, John 
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2003 10:04 AM
To: BIRD-CONSERVATION-NEWS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Audubon Bird Conservation News - Winter/Early Spring 2003


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 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: WINTER/EARLY SPRING
***********************************************************************************************************************************

**IMPORTANT BIRD AREA UPDATES**
*IBA SCORECARD
*IBA CONFERENCE

*NEW STAFF*

*STATE PROGRESS
1. GEORGIA
2. ILLINOIS
3. MINNESOTA
4. MISSOURI
5. NEW YORK
6. NORTH CAROLINA
7. PENNSYLVANIA
8. PUERTO RICO
9. WASHINGTON

**IBA SUCCESS STORIES**
1. CONNECTICUT - CALVES ISLAND BECOMES PART OF MCKINNEY NWR
2. IOWA - SUCCESFUL BIRDING FESTIVAL
3. NEW HAMPSHIRE - PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT, AND ENHANCEMENT FUNDING
4. PENNSYLVANIA - CONTINUES FUNDING SUCCESS
5. TEXAS - RECEIVES FUNDING TO FOCUS ON COASTAL IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS

**AUDUBON WATCHLIST**

**BIRD CONSERVATION NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE**
1. WILSON BULLETIN ONLINE
2. NORTH CAROLINA PARTNERS IN FLIGHT NEWSLETTER ONLINE
3. WORLDWATCH RELEASES REPORT: WINGED MESSENGERS, THE DECLINE OF BIRDS
4. NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION ACT (NAWCA) STANDARD GRANTS
5. SHRIMP- FARMING IMPACTS ON BIRDS AND HABITATS
6. PIF RESEARCH AND MONITORING NEEDS DATABASE

**UPCOMING EVENTS & MEETINGS**
**SUBSCRIPTION INSTRUCTIONS**
***********************************************************************************************************************************
 
***********************************************
**IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS UPDATE**
***********************************************
The Important Bird Area (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
- 11 States With Documented Inventories - CA, CO, FL, ID, MD, NY, NC, OH, PA, 
WA, WY
- 1500 IBAs Identified (State Level)
- 36 Million Acres Encompassed in Identified IBAs
- >4000 Participants Involved

*IBA CONFERENCE
National Audubon's Science Office will be hosting the 3rd Important Bird Areas 
Conference, 23-26 April 2003, in Port Aransas, Texas.  This event will bring 
together IBA program coordinators and bird conservation partners from 
throughout the country and the hemisphere.  This three-day event will focus on 
the status of the initiative, as well as strategies and opportunities for 
moving forward.  If you would like more details, please visit: 
http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/conference.html.  Look to the next Bird 
Conservation Newsletter for a summary of this important meeting.  

*NEW STAFF*
1. GREG BUTCHER JOINS AUDUBON SCIENCE 
Conservation biologist Greg Butcher has joined Audubon's Science Team as 
Director of Citizen Science, based at Science headquarters in Ivyland, PA.  
Greg started his career at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as the Director of 
Bird Population Studies.  Among his accomplishments at Cornell, he started 
Project FeederWatch, an annual survey of birds that visit feeders in winter.  
As Executive Director of the American Birding Association from 1992 to 1998, 
Greg spearheaded the addition of education and conservation initiatives to the 
ABA program agenda.  

In recent years, Butcher served as editor of Birder's World magazine and then 
as the Midwest Coordinator for Partners In Flight, an international coalition 
of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and corporations 
focused on the conservation of migratory land birds.  As Director of Citizen 
Science, Greg will be involved with the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard 
Bird Count, and bird monitoring at IBAs.  

2. SCOTT HECKER JOINS AUDUBON SCIENCE 
Scott Hecker has joined Audubon's Science Team as Director of Coastal Bird 
Conservation.  Scott is based at Science headquarters in Ivyland, PA, and will 
work from an office in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  Starting in 1987, Hecker 
developed and directed the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Coastal Waterbird 
Program, which played a leading role in the four-fold increase of the 
Massachusetts population of Piping Plovers during that time period, as well as 
the significant increases in terns and other beach-nesting birds.  

Hecker will launch coastal bird conservation projects modeled after the 
Massachusetts Audubon program.  With an initial grant from the National Fish 
and Wildlife Foundation and in collaboration with Audubon state offices, local 
chapters, and IBA Programs, Scott will work to enhance existing conservation 
activities and launch new efforts to increase on-the-ground protection efforts 
for Piping, Snowy, and Wilson's Plovers; terns; oystercatchers; and other 
beach-nesting birds from Maine to Texas. 


*STATE PROGRESS

1. GEORGIA
Georgia has been busy moving their IBA Program forward.  A second meeting of 
their IBA Technical Committee was held on 9 November 2002, at which 20 IBA 
nominations were reviewed.  Of those 20 nominations, 16 were found to fulfill 
the criteria for IBAs.  This brings the total number of IBAs for Georgia to 47. 
 To learn more about IBAs in Georgia and the criteria used to evaluate a site, 
visit: http://www.atlantaaudubon.org/pages/conservation.htm 

2. ILLINOIS  
The first meeting of the Illinois IBA technical committee was held in December 
2002.  Comprised of representatives from throughout the Illinois bird 
community, this committee will build on previous Illinois IBA work.  The 
committee co-chairs are Jim Herkert, Science Director with The Nature 
Conservancy of Illinois, and Judy Pollock, Audubon - Chicago Region.  Initial 
products of the committee's efforts will be IBA criteria and a nomination form. 
 Tailored for site review at the state level, both the criteria and nomination 
form will facilitate information gathering and review of sites.  Look for more 
details later this spring.  

In advance of formally identified IBAs, Audubon is partnering in two Chicago 
Region projects for restoring grassland bird habitat totaling over 1000 acres.  
These now rare habitats are significant to several Audubon WatchList species.  
Removal of hedgerows fragmenting one of the grasslands has resulted in 
increases of between 30 and 300% for four grassland bird species, including 
Henslow's Sparrow.

Reported in a previous Bird Conservation Newsletter, Chicago's Lights Out 
Program is working again this migratory season to help birds navigate the big 
city.  Chicago's downtown skyscrapers are turning off their lights from 17 
March until 7 June.  To learn more about this program, read 
http://www.audubon.org/bird/newsletter/Audubon%20Bird%20Conservation%20News%20-%20Spring%202002.pdf

3. MINNESOTA 
Mark Martell, formerly with the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center, has 
been named Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Minnesota.  Mark will 
initially focus on expanding the state's Important Bird Areas (IBA) program, 
assisting with next fall's Minnesota All-Bird Workshop, and collaborating on 
the Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail.

Martell was an integral part of The Raptor Center for more than 20 years, 
during which time he served as Coordinator of Conservation Programs/Research 
Fellow.  He has developed and managed a wide range of avian conservation and 
education projects, including Highway to the Tropics, Midwest Peregrine Falcon 
Recovery Program, Minnesota Burrowing Owl Conservation Project, and the Twin 
Cities Osprey Reintroduction Program.

4. MISSOURI 
Andy Forbes began work as the new Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon 
Missouri in November of 2002, a shared position with the Missouri Department of 
Conservation.  Stationed in Columbia, Missouri, Andy's work will include the 
coordination of the National Breeding Bird Survey in Missouri, implementation 
of the IBA program in Missouri, and participation in the development of the 
Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative.  

Leading up to this position, Andy has held various bird positions, including 
working with Red-cockaded Woodpecker management at Fort Bragg in North 
Carolina, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow research in Rhode Island, and Northern 
Bobwhite/fire ant interactions in Texas.  

5. NEW YORK
The second round of IBA identifications opened in the fall of 2002.  In 
addition to soliciting grassroots nominations, New York has expanded the 
identification process to include a GIS assessment.  To assist in this 
assessment, a GIS Analyst, Jamie Halperin, was hired on March 17th, 2003.  
Jamie will work with the guidance of a GIS Committee to assess bird habitat 
statewide to identify potential IBAs for "responsibility" species assemblages 
and threatened species.  Other IBA highlights include continued work on a 
monitoring document that will guide monitoring efforts at IBAs, additional IBAs 
being adopted by Audubon chapters, and creation of a state resolution on wind 
power development.  To learn more about Audubon New York's IBA Program, visit: 
http://ny.audubon.org/iba/nomination.html or 
http://www.audubon.org/chapter/ny/ny/iba/index.html 

6. NORTH CAROLINA
Audubon North Carolina's IBA program has now identified 98 IBAs that include 
approximately 3.5 million acres.  Most of these sites have had their boundaries 
delineated using a Geographic Information System.  These boundaries are now 
being reviewed and edited as additional information is received.  

Audubon North Carolina recently participated in the first-ever Atlantic Coast 
Winter Oystercatcher survey.  The American Oystercatcher is a yellow-light 
species on the Audubon WatchList.  In addition to providing the first-ever 
estimate of North Carolina's winter population of oystercatchers, the survey 
identified two key wintering areas and confirmed that the Bald Head Smith 
Island complex IBA in the lower Cape Fear River holds the state's largest 
concentration of wintering oystercatchers.

In addition to counting American Oystercatchers, Audubon is also involved in 
habitat restoration.  Ferry Slip Island and South Pelican Island, sanctuaries 
managed by Audubon in the lower Cape Fear River, are two of North Carolina's 
most important nesting sites for Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, and Brown 
Pelicans.  In January, Audubon North Carolina contracted with Coastal 
Earthworks, Inc., to restore 12 acres on the islands to bare sand.  This open 
sandy habitat required by nesting terns has slowly disappeared over the past 
few years as grass and other vegetation has taken over the island.  

To learn more about Audubon North Carolina's IBA Program, visit: 
http://www.ncaudubon.org/nccas_ibas.html 

7. PENNSYLVANIA
Audubon Pennsylvania's first Birder's Workshop of the year was held March 1st 
in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge IBA.  A very talented 
and enthusiastic group of birders attended, all of whom signed on as Important 
Bird Area volunteers for conducting future bird inventories and long-term 
monitoring. The workshop was especially well received by Jim Lockyer:  "There 
was a lot of information, and I think you had it organized well - science in 
the morning and ID in the afternoon.  I have already sent emails to friends of 
mine who were debating on attending the course and didn't that this was the 
best $25 I have spent in a very, very long time."

Information about this spring's Birder's Workshops can be viewed at 
http://pa.audubon.org/birdersworkshops.htm.  For more information on Audubon 
Pennsylvania's IBA Program visit: http://www.audubon.org/chapter/pa/pa/.  

8. PUERTO RICO
Results of the first year of the Puerto Rico IBA program, being coordinated by 
the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society (PROS), were recently presented at a 
meeting of the Puerto Rico IBA Steering Committee.  An IBA program workplan for 
2003 was also discussed, with suggestions being made regarding the education 
and fundraising campaigns.  A Conservation Award from the Ford Motor Company 
will support part of the education efforts.  

Another exciting development for 2003 will be the preparation of a conservation 
plan for the Sierra Bermeja, thanks to a Small Grant from the American Bird 
Conservancy.  The Sierra Bermeja is a range of hills in southwestern Puerto 
Rico that provides habitat to 75% of Puerto Rico's endemic bird species, 
including the Endangered Puerto Rican Nightjar and Yellow-shouldered Blackbird 
(both species are on Audubon's WatchList listed as red).  During the first half 
of 2003, members of the PROS will facilitate field surveys targeted at sites 
where the avifauna is poorly known.  

Also, as an IBA initiative, students and researchers of the University of 
Puerto Rico will conduct an island-wide inventory of the vulnerable Elfin Woods 
Warbler.  The list of potential IBAs on the island is currently being reviewed 
by the Technical Advisory Committee (which will meet this spring) and is 
expected to be refined again once the results of the year's survey program are 
available.  

To learn more, visit: http://www.avesdepuertorico.org/ingl_site/bird_life2.htm 

9. WASHINGTON
Audubon Washington has unveiled a new website which highlights their Bird 
Conservation activities.  The new Audubon Washington website 
(http://wa.audubon.org) showcases bird conservation activities around the 
state.  The completely re-designed site - the product of more than a year of 
work by volunteers, Audubon staff, and chapter members - highlights the 
organization's work in habitat protection, environmental education, and 
advocacy.  Professional webmaster Brian Criss of Olympia donated the equivalent 
of $75,000 in custom programming for the site.  In addition, Audubon's national 
office helped launch the site by providing hardware.  The new website contains 
an updated and re-designed IBA section, including the full text of the 2001 
publication "Important Bird Areas of Washington."  To view the IBA section 
visit: http://wa.audubon.org/new/audubon/default.cfm?pageID=30 


**********************************
**IBA SUCCESS STORIES**
**********************************

1. CONNECTICUT - CALVES ISLAND BECOMES PART OF MCKINNEY NWR
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced in February that Calves Island became 
officially protected as part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife 
Refuge (portions of which have been identified as Important Bird Areas).  The 
island provides habitat for wading birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds, as well as 
seals and other marine life, and is a potential nesting site for colonial 
wading birds.  TPL was the lead group on getting Calves Island, but Audubon 
played a supporting role, including nominating it under the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, with which the property was purchased.

2. IOWA - SUCCESSFUL BIRDING FESTIVAL 
Developed in part as an outreach and education event for Audubon Iowa's 
Important Bird Areas Program the Rivers and Bluffs Fall Birding Festival proved 
to be a resounding success.  Occurring from 15-17 November in Lansing, Iowa, 
the weekend focused on getting folks interested in birds and bird conservation. 
 Featured events included field trips to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa 
resulting in over 60 species of birds being recorded.  Some of the highlights 
included watching a flock of roughly 500,000 waterfowl on pool 9 of the 
Mississippi River.  Another was watching numerous new birders observe tens of 
thousands of Tundra Swans at very close range both Saturday and Sunday. 

A total of 123 people registered for the three-day festival, coming from 39 
cities in four states.  Also, approximately 50 other people (including 22 
visitors from Russia) attended programs with a live Trumpeter Swan or Bald 
Eagle.  Total attendance for this first-time event was close to 175 persons.  
Work is already underway to improve and strengthen the Rivers & Bluffs Fall 
Birding Festival for next year, with next year's festival slated for Nov. 7-9, 
2003.  

For more about birding in Iowa and the Important Bird Areas Program, visit the 
following: http://www.iowabirds.org/ and http://www.iowabirds.org/IBA/ 

3. NEW HAMPSHIRE - HABITAT PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT, AND ENHANCEMENT FUNDING
Early this year the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, in partnership with the 
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, successfully landed a contract from the 
Office of State Planning for tern conservation at a potential IBA.  The grant 
totaling over $20,000 will focus on the protection, management, and enhancement 
of the breeding populations of Common and Roseate Terns on White and Seavey 
Islands.  To learn more about Audubon New Hampshire and their IBA efforts, 
visit: http://www.ceinfo.unh.edu/forestry/documents/NHIBA.htm .  

4. PENNSYLVANIA - CONTINUED FUNDING SUCCESS 
The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission have approved 
15 projects in recent months for nongame fish and wildlife species.  An 
advisory group comprised of Commission staff reviewed and ranked the projects, 
which totaled more than $8 million in grant proposals.  The projects are to be 
funded from a $2.5 million allocation provided by the State Wildlife Grant 
Program, a cost-share program administered through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service's Federal Aid Program.  One of the 15 projects was an award for $50K 
for the continuation of the IBA program.  This project will accelerate the 
protection of habitats for rare (Endangered, Threatened, Candidate, Audubon 
WatchList) birds at IBAs throughout Pennsylvania.  Efforts will be focused on 
implementing community-based habitat protection, management, and monitoring on 
IBAs statewide.

To learn more about Audubon Pennsylvania's IBA efforts visit: 
http://www.audubon.org/chapter/pa/pa/Ibamain.htm 

5. TEXAS - RECEIVES FUNDING TO FOCUS ON COASTAL IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS
Audubon Texas announced in February that it is launching the coastal portion of 
its IBA program.  This will be Audubon's lead conservation initiative in the 
state, with the goal of identifying potentially dozens of sites along the Texas 
coast that are critical to the survival of birds and promoting conservation 
management efforts of these sites through the support of public and private 
landowners.  

"As one of the first stopover points for migratory birds from South America, 
the Texas coast plays an extremely important role in the survival of millions 
of birds," said Jesse Grantham, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon 
Texas.  "As a state we have an obligation to protect our great natural heritage 
and ensure that the land these birds depend on will be managed for their 
benefit as well as ours.  The Important Bird Areas program will help land 
managers make informed decisions when it comes to using their natural 
resources, so that birds can continue to thrive in Texas and people can 
continue to enjoy watching them."

For more information on Audubon Texas's IBA efforts and to see a list of 
potential sites, visit: http://tx.audubon.org/iba.html 


***********************************************************
**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.

PEENT. . . PEENT. . .PEENT
It's that time of year again when bird enthusiasts stroll out for an evening 
walk to a nearby field to witness one of the most spectacular avian displays in 
the eastern United States.  Yes, American Woodcocks have returned to their 
breeding grounds.  Classified as a shorebird, it is anything but your typical 
shorebird.  American Woodcocks prefer a mix of open fields and 
early-successional forest.  A chunky bird with short legs, American Woodcocks 
have large eyes set far back on their head, and a long, straight bill, which is 
used to probe the soil for invertebrates. The plumage is an intricate pattern 
of light and dark colors that provides excellent camouflage against the forest 
floor. 

American Woodcock is most often identified by the "peent" call of males given 
during the infamous courtship display.  Males take flight, rising high into the 
sky in a spiraling flight before eventually dropping downward, somewhat 
leaf-like, and returning to the ground. While in the air, the male gives a 
variety of twittering sounds, which are produced both vocally and by the 
rushing of air over modified wing feathers.

The American Woodcock is essentially a bird of eastern North America, with its 
breeding range stretching from the Maritime Provinces to eastern Manitoba in 
the north, and from southern Georgia to eastern Texas in the south. This 
species is a permanent resident in many southern states, but northern 
populations are migratory; wintering grounds include the southern part of the 
species' breeding range, as well as large parts of Florida, the entire Gulf 
Coast, and a swath of eastern Texas stretching to the Rio Grande Valley.  
American Woodcock can be found at IBAs throughout its range, such as North 
Carolina's Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) IBA, Pennsylvania's John 
Heinz NWR at Tinicum IBA, and New York's Iroquois NWR, Oak Orchard and 
Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area IBAs, among others.

American Woodcock is listed as a WatchList species because of a decreasing 
population trend and threats on its breeding and nonbreeding grounds.  Habitat 
loss is a major factor in the decline of American Woodcock across its range due 
to a reduction in farmland abandonment and succession of early-successional 
habitat into mature forest.  Other WatchList species that share 
early-successional habitat with American Woodcock also suffer from loss of 
habitat, including Golden-winged, Blue-winged, and Prairie Warblers.

To learn more about the American Woodcock, visit: 
http://audubon2.org/webapp/watchlist/viewSpecies.jsp?id=10 


********************************************************************
**BIRD CONSERVATION NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE**
********************************************************************

1. WILSON BULLETIN ONLINE
The Wilson Bulletin (1889 - 1999) is available online in a test mode for free: 
http://elibrary.unm.edu/wilson/.  The Bulletin is a quarterly publication 
consisting of major articles based on original studies of birds and short 
communications that describe observations of particular interest.  Each issue 
also includes reviews of new books on birds and related subjects, as well as 
ornithological news.  The principal focus of the Bulletin is the study of 
living birds, their behavior, ecology, adaptive physiology and conservation.  

2. NORTH CAROLINA PARTNERS IN FLIGHT NEWSLETTER ONLINE
The spring edition of the North Carolina Partners In Flight newsletter is now 
online, http://faculty.ncwc.edu/mbrooks/pif/Newsletter/NCPIF%20NLspr03.htm.  
One of the highlights, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission has launched a new 
initiative to restore grassland and shrubland habitats on a landscape scale.  
Cooperatives of at least 5000 acres have been established for intensive habitat 
management on 3 private and 4 public areas across North Carolina.  Baseline 
bird surveys have documented a number of birds of conservation concern that are 
likely to benefit from the CURE program.  In addition, a "Greenways for 
wildlife" project seeks to establish design guidelines for greenways in the 
language of landscape and urban planners.  The guidelines will be developed 
using information gained by studying how birds, small mammals, and exotic 
vegetation are affected by forest corridor width, adjacent development 
intensity, and other factors.  Check out the NC PIF newsletter for more 
information on the exciting conservation projects happening in North Carolina.  

3. WORLDWATCH RELEASES REPORT: WINGED MESSENGERS, THE DECLINE OF BIRDS
The Worldwatch Institute, a non-profit environmental research organization 
based in Washington, DC, recently released a new study by biodiversity and bird 
expert Howard Youth. Entitled "Winged Messengers - The Decline of Birds," the 
study uses examples from around the globe to illustrate not only the numerous 
threats encountered by bird species in our ever-more-crowded world, but also 
what can be done to save birds. As Youth explains, what it takes to stem the 
tide of bird extinctions (since 1800 at least 103 species have vanished and as 
many as 1,200 of the world's 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the 
century) is similar to what is needed to put our own future on a more 
sustainable path. Successful conservation efforts, as Youth explains, are 
overwhelmingly characterized by alliances among environmentalists, scientists, 
businesses, and communities.  Increasingly, the growing ranks of birders are 
also making a difference, providing conservation efforts with a powerful 
infusion of eyes and ears that assist scientists in monitoring bird populations 
and mapping out the world's most important bird habitats.  For more 
information, see: http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/paper/165/

4. NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION ACT (NAWCA) STANDARD GRANTS
This year's deadline for submitting a NAWCA standard grant is 25 July 2003.  
The March deadline has already passed.  A NAWCA (North American Wetlands 
Conservation Act) standard grant proposal is a 4-year plan of action supported 
by a NAWCA grant and partner funds to conserve wetlands and wetlands-dependent 
fish and wildlife through acquisition (including easements and land title 
donations), restoration and/or enhancement, with a grant request between 
$51,000 and $1,000,000.  The match must be non-Federal and at least equal the 
grant request (a 1:1 match).  The match is eligible up to 2 years prior to the 
year the proposal is submitted, and grant and match funds are eligible after 
the proposal is submitted and through the project period.  For additional 
information about submitting a grant proposal, please visit: 
http://northamerican.fws.gov/NAWCA/USstandgrants.html 

5. SHRIMP-FARMING IMPACTS ON BIRDS AND HABITAT 
In late January a meeting was held to discuss the effects of shrimp farming on 
migratory birds.  There has been loss of integrity of mangrove ecosystems and 
salt flat habitat in northeastern Brazil, Surinam, Guyana and other northern S. 
American countries.  Of the suspected causes of this degradation, shrimp 
farming and other forms of coastal development such as salt ponds top the list. 
 Migratory birds, specifically shorebirds, use mangrove ecosystems and salt 
flat habitat for overwintering grounds and to store fat reserves for their 
spring migration north.  The habitat degradation continues along the Atlantic 
Flyway in Canada and the U.S. where coastal areas are used for aquaculture, 
development, recreation, and other activities.  The goal of this group is to 
develop a strategy to pursue the issue throughout the Atlantic Flyway, 
potentially linking protected areas in the U.S. to sites in South America.   
Efforts could be made to market shrimp as ecologically sustainable, similar to 
the shade-grown coffee efforts.  

The meeting was organized by members of the USFWS's Div. of Migratory Bird 
Management, Div. International Conservation, and National Wildlife Refuge 
System.  Representatives from Audubon, Wetlands International, American Bird 
Conservancy, Mangrove Action project, University of Sao Paulo, Dept. of State, 
and others attended.  Stay tuned to future issues of the Bird Conservation 
newsletter for updates on this group's efforts.  

6. PIF RESEARCH AND MONITORING NEEDS DATABASE 
Are you looking for ideas for research and monitoring projects?  Try searching 
the Partners In Flight Research and Monitoring Database.  This searchable 
database provides information about the research and monitoring priorities 
identified in various PIF Bird Conservation Plans.  It can be found under PIF 
Resources on the PIF website or directly at: 
www.partnersinflight.org/pifneeds/searchform.cfm 

The database has been available on the web for about two years and is a 
valuable resource for a variety of bird enthusiasts.  The academic community, 
from professors to undergraduate and graduate students alike, can look for 
ideas for research or monitoring projects.  It is also useful for those writing 
proposals as it enables them to emphasize when their proposal will help address 
a priority PIF need.  National, regional, state and local coordinators and 
working group chairs can use it to summarize the priorities that have been 
identified for their areas.  The database is searchable by species, bird 
conservation issue, habitat type, natural history, state, physiographic region, 
and more.

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

*The 2003 COOPER ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY MEETING will hold its 75th annual 
meeting 30 April - 3 May, in Flagstaff, AZ.  In addition to oral and poster 
presentations on avian ecology, there will be workshops on estimating avian 
abundance, and how to obtain federal endangered species permits.  Two symposia 
will also be held: "Exploring the loss of sagebrush ecosystems and declining 
bird populations in the Intermountain West", and "Ecology and Management of the 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo."  For more information about the conference, please 
visit: http://www.cooper.org/. 

*AMERICAN WETLANDS CONFERENCE from 1-4 May 2003 in Minneapolis, MN.  The 
biennial American Wetlands Conference is a national training and networking 
opportunity for wetland stewards.  The purpose of the conference is to educate 
and inspire people to initiate and sustain on-the-ground wetland conservation 
and education projects.  This year, the conference will include three tracks: 
education and outreach, wetland science, and wetland conservation policy. The 
conference is targeted to volunteer and professional wetland stewards 
interested in learning more about wetlands and how to conserve them.  For more 
information about the conference and for details on submitting presentation 
proposals, please visit: www.iwla.org/sos/awm/conference.  

*INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY.  Set for 10 May, International Migratory 
Bird Day or IMBD is an invitation to celebrate and support migratory bird 
conservation throughout the Americas.  Like any day of recognition, IMBD exists 
to focus attention on a valuable resource - the nearly 350 species of migratory 
birds that travel between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding 
grounds in South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  The theme for 
this year's event is "Birds As Catalysts."  Although IMBD is officially a 
single-day observance, events will occur throughout the spring.  For more 
information and to find an event near you, visit: http://birds.fws.gov/imbd/ or 
http://www.birdday.org.  

*2003 LIMNOLOGY AND WATERBIRDS CONFERENCE from 4-7 August 2003.  The 4th 
Conference of the Working Group on Aquatic Birds of the International Society 
of Limnology  (SIL) "Limnology and Waterbirds 2003" will be held in Sackville, 
New Brunswick, Canada.  Early registration is 1 May 2003.  The Proceedings will 
be published in the journal Hydrobiologia as well as a separate volume of the 
"Advancements in Hydrobiology" series by Kluwer Publishers.  Background of the 
Working Group on Aquatic Birds of the International Society of Limnology (SIL) 
and information about the conference can be found at: 
http://www.links.umoncton.ca/lw/. 

*2003 AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION MEETING slated for 5-9 August at the 
University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  The meeting will consist of 
symposia, workshops and roundtables, contributed oral presentations, and poster 
sessions. The deadline for papers is 2 May 2003.  Early registration is 23 June 
2003. For more information, please visit: 
http://nautilus.outreach.uiuc.edu/conted/conference.asp?ID=264 or 
http://www.aou.org/#MEETINGS.

*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, Siriemas, 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.  We plan to offer day trips 
before, during, and after the conference to both of these regions, so be sure 
to bring your binoculars! 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.

This is a superb opportunity to continue to expand the network of bird 
conservation into South America.  For more information about the conference and 
how to participate, please visit: http://www.nocchile.cl.


AUDUBON BIRD CONSERVATION NEWSLETTER
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