Ornithologists applying for and receiving NSF grants can now be assured that the animal welfare guide written by and for ornithologists has been officially accepted by NSF as the appropriate standard for Animal Welfare Act compliance. The National Science Foundation has revised its Grant Proposal Guide to recognize Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research as an official reference document for Animal Welfare Act compliance. This publication, along with similar guides for mammals, fishes, and herpetofauna, was first created – at the prompting of and with funding from NSF but it was not accepted by any federal agency as an official standard... until now.
Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? What if you woke up one day and realized that your ornithological society was gone? If only you'd renewed your membership!
In 2011 we began highlighting articles that we believe deserve special attention. For the October 2012 issue of the Auk, we highlight the following two articles: One species but two patterns: Populations of the Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) differ in spring migration timing by Nathan R. Senner and El Niño–Southern Oscillation influences annual survival of a migratory songbird at a regional scale by Joseph A. LaManna, T. Luke George, James F. Saracco, M. Philip Nott, and David F. DeSante.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Honorary Assistant Curator Ildiko Szabo presents a how-to guide for novices needing instruction on how to prepare spread wings, avian round study skins, skeletons, and collect tissue DNA samples. The downloadable manual provides step-by-step instruction on how to prepare spread wings, avian round study skins, skeletons, and collect tissue DNA samples. This is the first comprehensive avian preparation manual web-published in colour photo-essay format. The series is designed to help novices who have never prepared a bird study skin and for people looking for a refresher course.
The first installment of the LPBO Technical series tackles the very simple but integral skill of tying a mist net pole. There are of course many ways to tie a net pole, but this video shows a method used for decades at LPBO. I'm still not entirely sure of the exact origin or designer of the knot and I'm sure other variations exist. Enjoy and comments are welcome.
Feedback for the SFO planning committee:
The new SFO planning committee is preparing the documents that will describe what the new organization is intended to be, what it will do, and how it will function. When drafts are available for comment, they will be posted here, and we hope you will join the discussion in this forum. The governance subcommittee has released a draft for comment and would like to have your feedback. Read more about it here and join the discussion.
The editor of The Auk highlights two articles from the most recent issue that deserve special attention. In the first, Kevin Burns and Allison Schultz report on widespread cryptic dichromatism in Neotropical songbirds. In the second, Iván de la Hera et al. expore the relationships between migratory behavior and speed and timing of molt in Nearctic passerines. Both articles are available for free online thanks to the AOU.
Are you aware of the consequences to governance and editorial boards for American ornithology that would occur if our current societies merged into a single Society for Ornithology? Are corporate leaders appropriate board members for a scientific society? Do you think our financial situations warrant an immediate action toward the new society? Please take the time to think critically about what our pending decisions may mean for American ornithology by reading the following thought piece.
The SFO Vision Statement below represents the initial efforts to plan the Society for Ornithology. The document was prepared over the past year by senior ornithologists from across North America. It will now be used by a new committee comprised of 4 representatives from each of the ornithological societies in the Americas interested in helping further plan SFO.
At a meeting held in Dallas, TX, 10-11 February 2012, the SFO Committee met with the AOU Council and presidents of the AFO, SCO/SOC, COS, NOS, and WOS to explore avenues to re-vitalize ornithology and its professional organization. After two days of discussion, the group elected to move forward by developing a structure for a Society for Ornithology that will result in dissolving the original Committee to make way for a new committee with equal representation from all interested ornithological societies.
As the number of articles, discussions, and files related to the prospective Society for Ornithology grows, we wanted to provide an index to every article and post on the subject. Latest update 11 October 2012
- Letters from the AFO and COS presidents to their societies
- Report from WOS president regarding AOU-COS task forces
Societies, and perhaps their members, will soon be called on to comment on the business plan being developed by the Society for Ornithology committee this weekend (Feb.11-12) in Texas. As they ponder that plan, perhaps they should also consider alternatives to the SFO, a bold measure with sweeping consequences for ornithology and for the ornithological societies. Might there be other ways to address the concerns that motivate the SFO proposal, while retaining the identity, history, and culture of the individual societies?
Legislation is pending in the House of Representatives that would require the public release of sensitive information regarding peer review of federal grants.
The 2011 William Brewster Memorial Award is presented to Sandra L. Verhencamp. Dr. Vehrencamp is a behavioral ecologist who studies social evolution in birds. Her research integrates the evolution of social behavior, life history evolution, signal evolution, sexual selection, and parental care.
The 2011 Elliott Coues Award is presented to Timothy Birkhead for his outstanding contributions to ornithology through his pioneering work on sperm competition and post-copulatory sexual selection in birds, his long term studies of seabirds, magpies and zebra finches, and his many books about birds written for both professional and lay audiences. Dr. Birkhead is a British behavioral ecologist who studies promiscuity and sperm competition in birds. His work has helped to re-shape our understanding of avian mating systems, and his unique combination of studies focusing on both free-living and captive birds has done much to shape modern ornithology.
The 2011 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award goes to Dr. W. Alice Boyle for her exciting and original work on the evolution and ecology of migration in birds. In her short career, she has made significant contributions to our understanding of the evolution of long-distance and altitudinal migration. Dr. Boyle is a Research Associate in the Centre for Applied Conservation Biology, Department of Forest Sciences - University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada. She has held post-doctoral fellowships in the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario where she has worked with Dr. Chris Guglielmo and Dr. Ryan Norris, another Ned K. Johnson Award winner (2006).
The 2011 Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award goes to Dr. Robert S. Ridgely for his outstanding contribution to the conservation of South American birds. Throughout his career Dr. Ridgely has made significant contributions to the taxonomy and biology of South American birds and has made such information accessible to the public and researchers through his books. His field guides and technical volumes provide important resources to enhance ecotourism (for birds), an important adjunct to conservation. However, it is his hands on efforts to preserve and protect critical habitat for rare species in Ecuador that serve as a model for bird protection.
One of the most accomplished ornithologists in North America and one of our most dedicated members, John W Fitzpatrick’s (“Fitz”) record of service to the American Ornithologists’ Union, his professional home society, has been exemplary. With greatest appreciation for his outstanding contributions to the AOU, the Executive Committee proudly chose John Fitzpatrick as the 2011 recipient of the Marion Jenkinson Service Award.
You really want to read this if you need to obtain protocol approval from an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee!
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education has named Edward H. “Jed” Burtt Jr. of Ohio Wesleyan University as the 2011 Ohio Professor of the Year. The two prestigious higher education organizations bestow the award “to honor the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students.”
We are writing to update the ornithological community on our efforts to develop a business plan for the Society for Ornithology. We understand that lack of details at this point can be frustrating. However, we are working as quickly and thoughtfully as we can so that soon you will have a better idea of what we are proposing and be able to comment on it. (6 comments)
New meta-analysis on the impact of researcher presence on nest predation: you may actually be doing those birds a favor!
Have you been worrying that your presence may cause the birds you study to have a lower rate of breeding success? Well, for some species and in some conditions, you may actually be helping them to increase their breeding success by deterring predation!
Wings that “sing” are nothing new to ornithologists. The American Woodcock and Club-winged Manakin both create sounds with feathers. New research published in Science by Yale ornithologist Chris Clark and coauthors shows that the 35 species of “bee” hummingbirds have some talking feathers of their own.
Starting with the October 2011 issue of The Auk, we are highlighting articles that we believe deserve special attention from our members and hopefully increase interest in the journal in readers who are not members now. Below are my choices for this issue of The Auk.
Do abused children grow up to become abusers? David Anderson and his colleagues have found evidence of an intergenerational cycle of abuse in Nazca Boobies. This paper, published in the AUK, has drawn wide attention from the press, including the New York Times and BBC Nature.
When faced with environmental threats like bad weather, predators or oil spills, wild birds secrete a hormone called corticosterone. Traditionally, researchers have analyzed blood samples to detect corticosterone levels in wild birds. But recently, scientists have shown that corticosterone spikes can also be detected by analyzing bird feathers.
In a unanimous vote at the July 2011 annual meeting, the AOU Council approved a motion to move forward with planning to form a new society, with ultimate hopes of uniting and strengthening Western Hemisphere ornithology. The plan could involve a merger of AOU and one or more other ornithological societies into a western hemisphere ornithological society tentatively named the Society for Ornithology.
UPDATED: How Safe is Mist Netting? First Large Scale Study into Bird Capture Technique Evaluates the Risks
Capturing birds using mist nets to study behaviour, movement or the demographics of a species is one of the most common research techniques in ornithology, yet until now there have been no large scale studies into the risks mist nets pose to birds. Writing in the British Ecological Society’s Methods in Ecology and Evolution researchers from California used a dataset of over 345,000 records to evaluate the risks of mist netting.
Mr. Brad Bortner has been selected as the new Chief for the Division of Migratory Bird Management. Brad currently serves as Chief of the Division of Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs in Region 1. During his tenure, Brad has been involved with numer...
Mixed-species flocks of birds are exciting models for community ecology because they can be found throughout the world, and thus by studying communities with different evolutionary histories one can search for general patterns in community structure. Here we list those descriptive studies that we have encountered that are in terrestrial landscapes.
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