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Important Bird Areas Conference, states report progress, forthcoming events etc?

Important Bird Areas 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 US 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. State Progress & Success

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 fulfil 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 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 totalling 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. 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, see: http://www.audubon.org/bird/newsletter/Audubon%20Bird%20Conservation%20News%20-%20Spring%202002.pdfMINNESOTA
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 Centre 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.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. 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 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 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/. 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 south-western 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 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 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.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/ 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 totalling 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 . PENNSYLVANIA
Continued Funding Success
The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission have approved 15 projects in recent months for non-game fish and wildlife species. An advisory group comprised of Commission staff reviewed and ranked the projects, which totalled 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 TEXAS
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 Other News?Watch List
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.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 behaviour, ecology, adaptive physiology and conservation. 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 scrubland 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. 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/ 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 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 over wintering 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. 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, physio-graphic region, and more.Forthcoming Events2003 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 Cuiab?, the capital of the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Cuiab? is a modern city of over a million people situated between two unique natural preserves: the Pantanal and Chapada dos Guimar?es. 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 Guimar?es, to the north of Cuiab?, 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.

4th July 2014