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Ellen Paul

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  1. Good article: https://www.hcn.org/articles/birds-egged-on-by-industry-lobbyists-interior-department-weakens-bird-protections/print_view
  2. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Does the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). include the take of protected bird species as a result of otherwise lawful activity? No one knows. The statute is silent on the subject. The proponents of this 100-year old law were concerned about indiscriminate slaughter of birds for their plumes, used by the millinery trade. They were also concerned about harvest limits on game birds. In short, they were not thinking about incidental take. In the early 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) became concerned about the impact of incidental take on migratory birds but knowing that there was legal uncertainty, never moved to formally regulate incidental take. Instead, the USFWS engaged with certain industries to encourage them to adopt practices to reduce the extent of incidental take. The first of these efforts was the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee. Together, the industry and the USFWS compiled a set of best practices and the USFWS gave industry members time to implement those practices. Only if a company refused to implement those practices would the USFWS sue under the MBTA. The companies, for their part, came to the table because they faced the same uncertainty - what if the courts would hold them liable for incidental take? Over time, some industries were more cooperative than others. In some cases, the USFWS imposed penalties for incidental take and these cases reached the federal courts. Some of the courts decided that the MBTA covers incidental take. Some courts decided to the contrary. And there things stand, ready for a Supreme Court show-down. (Editorial note: yes, you may and probably should take a drink or two as the enormity of that inevitable train wreck crosses your mind). During the second Obama term, some in DOI made an attempt to incorporate the incidental take policy into formal regulation, going so far as to issue a notice of intent to publish a programmatic environmental impact statement and a regulation defining take to include incidental take. However, the White House apparently did not support this effort and it never came to fruition. At the same time, some industries began pushing back. In particular, Duke Energy, which had been fined $1million and placed on five years probation for killing birds at a wind energy facility, persuaded Congress to include in an appropriations bill a provision to prohibit the USFWS from prosecuting incidental take. Worse, the company and its industry allies succeeded in persuading a South Carolina congressman to sponsor a free-standing bill to amend the MBTA to exclude incidental take from criminal liability (both efforts failed). Meanwhile, back at the Department of the Interior, the Office of the Solicitor was persuaded at the 11 & 11/12th hour of the Obama Administration (10 January 2017) to issue an "M-Opinion" stating that the MBTA does cover incidental take. Which the new Administration promptly withdrew (20 January 2017). And then on 22 December 2017 issued a new M-Opinion stating that the MBTA dos not cover incidental take. Several conservation organizations and eight states filed suit challenging that last M-Opinion. (all are still in the earliest stages; watch for updates). And now it has come to this. For months, it has been rumored that the USFWS would propose a formal regulation stating that the MBTA does not cover incidental take. A regulation is much, much hard to reverse than is an M-Opinion. Well, rumor no more. The USFWS is about to propose a formal regulation to codify its current position that incidental take is not covered. In the fall semi-annual regulatory agenda published on 17 October 2018, the USFWS list of regulatory matters included this entry: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish regulations that define the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA or Act) as it applies to conduct resulting in the injury or death of migratory birds protected by the Act. This rule would codify the legal opinion in the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Opinion M-37050 that incidental take resulting from an otherwise lawful activity is not prohibited under the MBTA. Worser and worser. The USFWS had a flabby carrot and a very small stick to work with, given the legal uncertainty about incidental take, but the way things are going, it is likely to lose even that leverage. Permanently.
  3. Ellen Paul

    AOS renewal notice

    Dear Ellen, Thank you for being a part of the American Ornithological Society in 2018 – it has been a great year together. We grew our membership by 10% to a community of over 2900 diverse individuals from all over the globe. We made great strides in fostering the next generation of ornithologists with a focus on engaging and funding women and underrepresented minorities. Both The Auk and The Condor are now ranked in the top three ornithological journals worldwide, and in 2019 we will expand the global reach of our science through a new publishing partnership with Oxford University Press. The AOS is looking forward to an exciting year ahead, and we hope you will renew your membership in the society in 2019. Your current AOS membership will expire on 31 December 2018. Supporting your society is supporting your discipline. It also empowers the AOS to support you – in your research, professional development, networking, and career pursuits. We continue to expand our membership benefits and look for opportunities to improve the ways in which we serve you. By renewing now, you can be sure to take advantage of your member discount when registration opens on 15 October for our 2019 meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. NEW this year! As a corresponding author, enjoy no author page charges to publish standard articles in The Auk and The Condor. Renewing online via the Member Portal is fast and easy—there is even an option to have your membership automatically renew in the future. [Please note: Since you hold membership(s) in other OSNA societies, you will receive a similar note from OSNA regarding the renewal process.] As you renew this year, we ask that you read and agree to abide by the AOS Code of Professional Conduct. By committing to these guidelines and best practices for professional behavior we, as a Society, can more effectively fulfill our mission to advance the scientific understanding and conservation of birds and to enrich ornithology as a profession. We are here to help. If you have any questions or need help logging into your Member Portal account, contact Scott Gillihan, OSNA Membership Manager, at OSNAmembers@gmail.com or 312-883-4670. Thank you for your continued membership in the American Ornithological Society! Sincerely, Kathy Martin, President Follow AOS on Social Media! Stay Connected! AOS Website, AmericanOrnithology.org AOS News (sign up!) AOS History of Ornithology (sign up!) AOS Social Weekly Review (sign up!) AOS Publications Website, AmericanOrnithologyPubs.org Auk Twitter, @AukJournal (follow) Condor Twitter, @CondorJournal (follow) AOS Journals Blog (sign up!) AOS Journals Newsletter (sign up!)
  4. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    Jim Wiley, a mainstay of Cuban ornithology, passed away on 19 September 2018. Apart from his scientific contributions, Jim was a gem of a man, exceedingly and unfailingly kind, gentle, and humble. In 2010, the Journal of Caribbean Ornithology dedicated a volume to Jim. In the dedication, Herb Raffaele, Joe Wunderle, and Noel Snyder wrote: (Note - the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds is now BirdsCaribbean) Were his only contribution the monumental bibliography on West Indian birds that he published in 2000 (Wiley 2000), Jim Wiley would rank among the most important ornithologists to have ever focused their attention on birds of this region. But Jim’s contributions to the studies of Caribbean birds, beginning in the early 1970s and continuing without diminishment today, have been so much more. We know of no ornithologist of the region whose impacts have been more beneficial, going back to the first European explorers who mentioned birds in their natural histories. Therefore, it is with profound respect and admiration that this issue of JCO is dedicated to a colleague whose detailed knowledge extends to more species than seems possible and whose many publications and other contributions could hardly be more impressive. Normally such remarks are only possible for doddering ancient figures or for spirits who have already passed from the scene after lifetimes of devoted field work. Fortunately, Jim is still at the peak of his capacities, and it is reasonable to anticipate that much is yet to come, regardless of his recent official retirement from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Jim’s energy in pursuit of worthy goals has been legendary and sets a standard for diligence that we can only dimly comprehend. Perhaps it all goes back to the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, where Jim competed as a member of the United States bicycle team and trained up to a level of fitness that he has maintained ever since. All three of us have at one time or another had the privilege of collaborating in field studies with Jim, and we are directly familiar with his tireless capacities. Even more, we have been amazed how he somehow always manages good humor and a spirit of selfless cooperation under even the most miserable field conditions. Jim’s skills range from scaling towering rain-forest trees to crossing treacherous streams (Fig. 1) and scuba diving, and we will never forget his tale of being nudged in the back by a curious Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) as he conducted field observations on marine Gobies along the California coast for his master’s degree. Fortunately for all of us, he survived this incident to finish his master's research at California State University in 1970 and to go on to many other studies. From California, Jim moved on to graduate studies at the University of South Florida on Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus), interrupted in 1973 by taking a position with the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources to study Plain Pigeons (Patagioenas inornata ), White-crowned Pigeons (P. leucocephala), and other columbids, a group for which he has always had a special affection. In 1977, he took over supervision of the Puerto Rican Parrot Project for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) after completing a detailed study of the Hispaniolan Parrot (Amazona ventralis) in the Dominican Republic for the US Forest Service. He remained in the Puerto Rican Parrot position until 1986, having overseen a steady and convincing increase of the wild population and having launched the captive breeding and release efforts that continue today. The success Jim and his wife Beth had with Puerto Rican Parrot conservation was outstanding, and included an informative experimental release effort of captive Hispaniolan Parrots to the wild in the Dominican Republic in 1982. Concurrent with their efforts with parrots, Jim and Beth also conducted diverse ecological and behavioral studies of the raptors of Puerto Rican and Hispaniola and ground-breaking studies of the endangered Yellow-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus ) in collaboration with Will Post, particularly with reference to the invasion of Puerto Rico by the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis). It was Jim’s cowbird studies that led at last to finishing his Ph.D. with Bud Owre at the University of Miami in 1982. In 1986 Jim was transferred back to California by the USFWS to conduct efforts for the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus), a period when the very last wild condors were being trapped into captivity and when temporary experimental releases of surrogate Andean Condors (Vultur gryphus) to the wild were just beginning. This period also saw a profound change in Jim’s dietary habits that resulted, quite understandably, from his having to oversee the supplemental feeding program for condors. For those who have long wondered about Jim’s antipathy to Big Macs and Whoppers, he was faced at one point with the clean-up of a defunct walk-in freezer filled with rotting mammal carcasses immersed in an incredible miasma of toxic gases. Fortunately, despite this brush with hell on earth, his enthusiasm for guanabana ice cream and other nutritious tropical delights has remained intact. From California, Jim moved to Grambling State University in Louisiana in 1991, where he took charge of a cooperative wildlife unit for the USGS. At Grambling, he developed a special interest in the training of wildlife students from the West Indies, especially Jamaica and the Lesser Antilles, and a number of his former Grambling students are current members of the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB). There, he also had the good sense to keep all his local sightings of Bachman’s Warblers (Vermivora bachmanii) and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus principalis)to himself. As some indication of the importance of his mentoring contributions at Grambling, one of us (HR) recently was talking with an assistant to the Directorof the USFWS. This individual was a graduate from Grambling some 15 yr ago and spontaneously described how much he and the other grad students at the time appreciated and respected Jim’s dedication in assisting underprivileged students, particularly those from developing countries throughout the Caribbean. Jim’s ability to inspire others to careers in ornithology and conservation is one of his most important legacies. In 2001, and continuing until his recent retirement, Jim took over supervision of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. There, he continued to be involved with diverse conservation and research projects in the West Indies, as well as local projects in the Chesapeake Bay region, carefully guiding an impressive number of students toward their graduate degrees. Thus, despite being based in stateside locations from the late 1980s to the present, Jim’s first loyalties have always been in the Caribbean, with frequent trips to Cuba, the Cayman Islands and Hispaniola, and continued work with the psittacines of these islands, as well as many other bird species. He has been especially focused on aiding Cuban ornithological efforts in recent years, and was given special recognition for these efforts by Cuban ornithologists at the July 2001 meeting in Cuba of the SCSCB. Jim was a founding member of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology (now the SCSCB) and played an important role in launching the organization. He was the first editor of El Pitirre , and during the nine years of his editorship he was responsible not only for editorial duties, but with help of his students served also as the publisher (aided by desktop publishing software) and distributor of the publication. im oversaw the evolution of El Pitirre from a newsletter, for which he often scrambled for manuscripts in the early years, to a journal format covering a broad range of topics. As editor, he was especially helpful and patient with inexperienced authors and viewed the journal as an important forum for their contributions. Other editing contributions he has made have included serving for many years as editor of publications for the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in California. Jim’s personal list of scientific publications includes well over a hundred substantial papers, books, and monographs, mostly on West Indian birds. We find ourselves consulting his annotated A Bibliography of Ornithology in the West Indies (Wiley 2000) with frequency, and it is impossible to exaggerate the usefulness of this colossal assembly of more than 11,600 references, stretching back to the earliest ornithological writings for the region. Among his other outstanding publications, we call special attention to his coauthorship of The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural History and Conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot in 1987 (Snyder et al.1987), coauthorship of A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies in 1998 (Raffaele et al. 1998), coauthorship of The Birds of Hispaniola in 2003 (Keith et al. 2003), and his authorship and coauthorship of numerous shorter papers on the Shiny Cowbird, the Puerto Rican Parrot, the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, and various other psittacids, raptors, and columbids of the West Indies, not to mention his publications on such subjects as the effects of hurricanes on West Indian birds and techniques of captive breeding and reintroduction for endangered forms. For his overall contributions to field studies of Caribbean birds and to ornithology in general, the SCSCB is truly indebted to Jim Wiley. LITERATURE CITED KEITH , A. R., J. W. WILEY , S. C. LATTA , J. A. OTTENWALDER . 2003. The birds of Hispaniola.British Ornithologists’ Union Checklist 21:1-293.. RAFFAELE , H., J. WILEY , O. GARRIDO , A. KEITH , J. RAFFAELE . 1998. A guide to the birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. SNYDER , N. F. R., J.W. WILEY , C.B. KEPLER . 1987. The parrots of Luquillo: natural history and conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot. Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Los Angeles. WILEY , J. W. 2000. A Bibliography of ornithology in the West Indies. Proceedings of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, vol. 7.
  5. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    A note from Eduardo Santana about Jim: Jim was my supervisor at the Puerto Rican parrot conservation project in the Luquillo Forest during the summer of 1978 and from 1979 to 1980. He also freely offered advice while I was doing my masters thesis fieldwork there on Redtailed-hawks from 1981 to 1983. Jim, along with Joe Hickey, Tim Moermond, Stan Temple, Lloyd Keith and Ariel Lugo, was one of my main professional role models, especially for his intense commitment to doing high-quality fieldwork and his knowledge and love for birds, and his love for the outdoors. As for how his worked helped, I share what my friend Eduardo Iñigo told me: “A significant indicator that Jim’s work was highly valued is that he was the first foreigner to receive the Gundlach recognition from the Cuban Zoological Society”. Since I came to work in conservation and teaching in western Mexico decades ago I unfortunately lost track of Jim (and most of my Caribbean ornithology colleagues!). But I have always remembered him and acknowledged that he was a good teacher to many and “a teacher affects eternity.” esantanacas@gmail.com
  6. Ellen Paul

    BirdsCaribbean 2019

    The BirdsCaribbean 22nd International Conference will be held from 25 to 29 of July, 2019, in Le Gosier, Guadeloupe. Conference information will continue to be updated on the BC Conference Website.
  7. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Open Public Comment Period: Submit Your Ideas Before November 30 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has published a Federal Register notice informing the public about proposed amendments to the CITES Appendices and proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda Items that the United States might submit for consideration at the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18), and to provide information on how agencies or bodies can apply to attend CoP18 as observers. Public comments will be accepted until November 30, 2018. Click here to read the Federal Register notice and learn how to submit comments. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty agreed to by 182 nations and the European Union (referred to as "Parties) that protects species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. Every two to three years, a meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. CITES CoP18 will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from May 23 – June 3, 2019. How can I contribute information or ideas for CITES CoP18? We're committed to conducting an open and transparent process as we prepare for CoP18 that considers the interests of the public, stakeholders, other federal agencies, and Congress. We will publish a series of Federal Register notices to solicit public input on the development of U.S. proposals, documents, and negotiating positions for CoP18. This process helps us to develop robust proposals and positions by taking into account a wide variety of views and anticipating potential implementation and enforcement challenges. -- Thomas E.J. Leuteritz, Ph.D. Chief, Branch of Conservation Science Policy Division of Scientific Authority U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Headquarters MS: IA 5275 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 thomas_leuteritz@fws.gov T: +(703) 358-1708 (Office) T: +(703) 358-2306 (Direct) F: +(703) 358-2276
  8. TO RENEW OR JOIN A SOCIETY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE OC WHEN RENEWING OR JOINING THROUGH MEMBERSUITE, CLICK ON THE DONATIONS BUTTON. RENEWAL NOTICES FOR 2019 GO OUT OCTOBER 8 OR DONATE THROUGH PAYPAL. What does the Ornithological Council do, and why should you care? The Ornithological Council gives voice to scientific ornithology wherever & whenever that voice should be heard in the making of policy decisions that affect ornithological research or wild bird conservation and management. The OC works with multinational, federal, and state governments and nongovernmental organizations to assure that the policies that affect the way you conduct your research have a biological basis and do not impose biologically unwarranted restrictions on your research. Permits, permits, permits: Migratory Bird Treaty Act (bird banding, scientific collecting, import/export), Endangered Species Act, CITES, Wild Bird Conservation Act, special use permits for the National Wildlife Refuge Systems, National Forest Service, research permits for the National Park Service, authorizations for BLM land, state permits, USDA APHIS import permits, CDC import permits. In Canada, working with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the provincial wildlife authorities on Migratory Bird Convention Act permits (banding, scientific collecting, import/export), SARA permits. Animal welfare: Working with USDA APHIS Animal Care on policies that affect ornithological research in the lab and in the field; working with the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Research and the National Science Foundation on implementation of the Animal Welfare Act through their grant policies; working with the National Academy of Science, Institute of Laboratory Animal Welfare on the authoritative guidance document; working with the AAALAC International (the private accreditation organization). For you and your IACUC, we wrote a Model Wildlife Protocol. Research integrity and peer review policies: Representing the views and concerns of the ornithological community to the federal agencies that establish national policies regarding research integrity and peer review Providing scientific information about birds: The Ornithological Council endeavors to ensure that the best ornithological science is incorporated into legislative, regulatory, and management decisions that affect birds. The scientific information you generate is made available by the OC to government, conservation organizations, industry, and private landowners; that information is provided in an unbiased manner that helps decision-makers to understand how their choices will affect wild birds. AND FOR YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL ORNITHOLOGIST, THE ORNITHOLOGICAL COUNCIL: Publishes the peer-reviewed Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research Publishes guides to permit requirements and procedures for all federal and state permits Assists individual ornithologists to get through the permit maze and trouble-shoots difficult permit problems Provides expert input to Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (in Canada, Animal Care and Use Committees) More examples of what the Ornithological Council does for you can be found in our bimonthly OC newsBRIEFS. In short? The Ornithological Council: Keeping the world safe for ornithology since 1992! The Annual Ornithological Council Pledge Break (only once per year!) Members of AOS, AFO, RRF, and WOS will soon receive annual membership renewal notices from the Ornithological Societies of North America (OSNA) via Membersuite. We hope that when you renew, you will consider contributing to the Ornithological Council. If you renew online, You can also contribute via the line for contributions to the OC, on the webpage where you enter the society membership dues and contributions. If you renew by mail, you will find a line on the printed renewal notice, at the top of the column where you will list your dues and contributions to the OSNA societies. Members of the Waterbird Society will receive renewal notices from the Schneider Group; the online renewal form has a contribution line for the OC. Those who are not joining or renewing memberships in the AOS, AFO, RRF, or WOS via Membersuite of Waterbirds via Schneider Group can contribute directly through the PayPal button on our homepage using your free PayPal account or a credit card or by check (payable to the Ornithological Council and mailed to 6512 E. Halbert Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817, USA). About 90% of OC's support comes from annual contributions from its 12 member societies but we also rely on contributions from individual ornithologists. How and why the OC was hatched As early as the 1960s, ornithologists realized that they had no effective means of providing scientific information about birds to federal and state agencies, the private for-profit sector, and the conservation community. As awareness of the need for science-based bird conservation and management grew, ornithologists needed a way to assure that ornithological science was incorporated into decisions that affect wild bird populations. At the same time, ornithologists were struggling with the growing array of permit requirements. In fact, there were occasions when ornithologists even faced possible prosecution for violation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act due to problematic implementation of the permit requirements. Dick Banks (President, AOU 1994-1996; President Wilson Ornithological Society 1991-1993) proposed the formation of an ornithological council to speak for scientific ornithology with the publication of a paper in The Auk. And so...a committee was formed. And the committee recommended that such a council be formed. The Council was founded in 1992 by seven ornithological societies in North America: American Ornithologists' Union, Association for Field Ornithology, Cooper Ornithological Society, Pacific Seabird Group, Raptor Research Foundation, Waterbird Society and Wilson Ornithological Society. In recent years, the Society of Canadian Scientists, the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, the Neotropical Ornithological Society, CIPAMEX, and the North American Crane Working Group have become members. The Ornithological Council - a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including the Ornithological Council!
  9. How can we make fieldwork less dangerous? We are analyzing Richard Conniff's Memorial of Fallen Naturalists (https://strangebehaviors.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/the-wall-of-the-dead/) to better understand the circumstances and causes of scientist mortality during fieldwork. If you know of someone who is missing from this list, please add their information to our database. Your contribution will help establish new safety standards for fieldwork and memorialize the contributions of those who gave their lives to further our understanding of the natural world. Please contribute your information at https://goo.gl/forms/2TEjQCPh2KhLfFG13, where you can read more about the study. Also, please forward this call for information widely. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. This is an IRB-exempt study registered with the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board. Many thanks in advance, Talia Yuki Moore, University of Michigan: taliaym@umich.edu Martin Stervander, University of Oregon: mste@uoregon.edu
  10. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    In 2014, the Association of Field Ornithologists honored Jim with the Alexander F. Skutch Medal. This year, the council and members of the AFO are honored to present the Skutch Medal for Excellence in Neotropical Ornithology to Dr. James W. Wiley. Dr. Wiley is recognized for his significant contributions to the scientific literature that have aided in the conservation of a wide range of imperiled Neotropical species in the Latin American-Caribbean region. He was one of the founding members of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), and served as the editor of The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology between 1988 and 2004. His research efforts have not only assisted in the recovery of endangered species and management of critical habitat, but have also provided benefits to the public. For example, Dr Wiley has co-authored numerous popular books including three seminal field guides, Birds of the West Indies, Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and The Birds of Hispaniola. These definitive field guides have not only provided pleasure for scientists and recreational birders alike, but have also significantly contributed to the understanding of ornithology in the region. Throughout his career, Dr. Wiley’s extensive mentoring and teaching efforts have impacted a wide range of students and professionals, particularly those in the Latin American-Caribbean region. Dr. Wiley engaged students formally through supervision within Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unitsat Grambling University and at the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore, and informally in the field, through ornithological meetings, and personal communications. His dedication to mentoring and developing his students is legendary. The Skutch Medal committee was chaired by Dr. Herb Raffaele, Chief, Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The committee consisted of Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director and former President of Birds Caribbean; Amiro Perez-Leroux, Director of Birdlife International for Latin America and the Caribbean; Bert Lenten, Deputy Secretary General of the Convention on Migratory Species; Richard Huber, Principal Environmental Specialist for the Department of Biological Protection and Management at the Organization of American States and Chair of Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative; Maria Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas in the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance; and Nestor Herrera, Director of Wildlife and Ecosystems at El Salvador’s Environmental Ministry.
  11. Your ornithological societies need your support if they are to continue providing the services that help you pursue your research and your careers. They provide journals to publish your research, grants to help fund your research, travel awards to help you attend professional meetings. They provide mentorships and academic and professional opportunities. They support the Ornithological Council, OrnithologyExchange, and myriad activities for ornithologists. How do you join or renew your membership? Please visit Membersuite for: American Ornithological Society (formerly AOU and COS) Association of Field Ornithologists Raptor Research Foundation Wilson Ornithological Society A special request: when you join one or more of these societies, please consider making a donation to the Ornithological Council. The OC provides ornithologists with a direct link to (1) government agencies that affect research (including permits, animal welfare, funding, data access policies, and more) and (2) decision-makers who need scientific information about birds to make sound decisions about bird conservation and management and other activities that affect birds. The OC is supported by its member societies across the Western Hemisphere and by individual ornithologists. Contributions to OC can be made when you join/renew one of these societies via the contributions page or if you decide not to join at society at this time, through the OC Paypal. Please visit Waterbird Society for Waterbird Society A special request: when you join the Waterbird Society, please consider making a donation to the Ornithological Council. The OC provides ornithologists with a direct link to (1) government agencies that affect research (including permits, animal welfare, funding, data access policies, and more) and (2) decision-makers who need scientific information about birds to make sound decisions about bird conservation and management and other activities that affect birds. The OC is supported by its member societies across the Western Hemisphere and by individual ornithologists. Contributions to OC can be made when you join/renew one of these societies via the Schneider Group renewal website or if you decide not to join at this time, through the OC Paypal. Please visit Society of Canadian Ornithologists for Society of Canadian Ornithologists A special request: when you join the SCO/SOC, please consider making a donation to the Ornithological Council. The OC provides ornithologists with a direct link to (1) government agencies that affect research (including permits, animal welfare, funding, data access policies, and more) and (2) decision-makers who need scientific information about birds to make sound decisions about bird conservation and management and other activities that affect birds. The OC is supported by its member societies across the Western Hemisphere and by individual ornithologists. Contributions to OC can be made through the OC Paypal.
  12. The Ornithological Council publishes the peer-reviewed Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. It was most recently updated in 2010 and it has been our intent to supplement it with literature published after that date, ultimately developing a database that incorporates all literature cited and all supplemental literature (volunteers welcome!). The Guidelines are recognized by federal agencies and private organizations as a resource reference. It is extremely important that we provide them - and your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (Animal Care and Use Committees in Canada) - the most up-to-date information available. If you have published methods papers since 2010 that assess the impact of study techniques on the birds you are studying, please bring them to our attention. The OC simply doesn't have the resources to search for these studies on an ongoing basis (volunteers welcome!). Additionally, if yours is not a methods paper per se but assessed the impact of the study methods, please bring that to our attention, too. Help us to help you!
  13. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/science/saltmarsh-sparrow-extinction.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront The species, which breeds in coastal marshes from Maine to Virginia, and lives only on the Atlantic Coast, has always been at the mercy of time and tide, nesting between the highest spring tides. But now a sea level rise of a fraction of an inch a year caused by climate change is pushing tides higher and higher, threatening the birds’ survival. Their population has been declining about nine percent a year since the late 1990s. They now number somewhere from 40,000 to 80,000, although overall population estimates are tentative because the birds are not always easy to find. Dr. Elphick and his colleagues recently predicted that they will reach a threshold, when the highest spring tides come too often to allow the birds time to raise their young. “After that threshold is crossed,” he says, “these birds have maybe six years before they’re extinct.”
  14. 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  15. https://www.birdscaribbean.org/2018/08/funding-opportunity-the-betty-petersen-conservation-fund-to-help-caribbean-birds/ August 29, 2018 Funding Opportunity—The Betty Petersen Conservation Fund to Help Caribbean Birds 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  16. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-trump-administration-rollbacks-will-harm-millions Wednesday, September 5, 2018 Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today took decisive action against the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw protections for America’s migratory birds. Attorney General Becerra and state attorneys from seven states filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging the Administration’s decision to put corporate interests ahead of protecting the nation’s public interests by rolling back protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The 100-year-old treaty originally codified an agreement between the United States and Canada to help ensure the preservation and protection of migratory birds from both intentional and incidental mortality caused by human activities. Over the years, the MBTA has broadened to include similar agreements with Mexico, Japan, and Russia. “Birds such as the bald eagle are not only national symbols of freedom and liberty, they are also vital for our country’s ecosystem and survival,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This latest reckless action by the Trump Administration threatens one hundred years of international cooperation to protect precious wildlife and ecosystems. The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are obligated to act in the best interest of the public at large, not corporate interests. The Administration’s utter disregard for the ecosystem it is entrusted to maintain and its incessant crusade to ensure that corporations are not held accountable for their actions is inexcusable. As the Administration fails to fulfill its obligations to the American public, we will continue to hold it accountable.” The MBTA protects more than 1,000 native U.S. species of birds, including the bald eagle, America’s national bird, and other bird species that were hunted to near extinction before MBTA protections were put in place in 1918. Under longstanding interpretation of the Act by Democratic and Republican administrations alike dating back decades, the MBTA has required utilities and operators of facilities such as wind farms, power lines, and oil waste pits to take preventative measures to reduce and mitigate bird mortality. Under the Administration’s reinterpretation, companies would be exempt from these requirements. Experts estimate that eliminating these requirements would significantly increase migratory bird deaths by tens of millions each year. Attorney General Becerra joins a lawsuit brought by New York, which, alongside separate suits by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society, asserts that the Administration’s revised opinion and planned pullback of MBTA is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and in violation of the law.
  17. Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) is pleased to announce the availability of a Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science. One fellowship, the ConocoPhillips/SMSC Conservation Research Fellow, will be offered in fall 2019 for a student with a B.S. or M.S. in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Zoology or a related field, and whose research interests coincide with scholars from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University. Prospective candidates must qualify for admission to a conservation-focused Ph.D. program at George Mason University. Support will be provided for five years with a stipend of $28,000/year, health insurance, and tuition remission for 18 total credits for the academic year. Fellowship awardee will be expected to pursue this research full time. Preference will be given to applicants who will work on a research project involving collaboration between Mason and Smithsonian investigators and whose mentor(s) are actively collaborating with SMSC (e.g., accepting practicum/research students, unpaid instruction). The awardee will be required to acknowledge SMSC and the donor on all publications and presentations resulting from work completed while funded by this fellowship. SMSC will construct marketing material showcasing the awardee’s work. Awardee will be expected to meet annually with the donors, and will be required to present research results each year at Mason’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (MaGIC) and/or Mason’s 3MT® competition. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the following links before applying: Ph.D. program in Environmental Science and Policy: http://esp.gmu.edu/academic-programs/graduate/admissions/ Ph.D. program in Biosciences: http://catalog.gmu.edu/colleges-schools/science/systems-biology/biosciences-phd/ - requirementstext Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation Applicants should contact potential research advisors in advance of submitting the application. Arrangements with SCBI and Mason mentors may take time and is required for successful application. Lists of potential research mentors (other Mason and SI researchers may serve): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/about/staff https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation/scbi-staff https://biology.gmu.edu/people/faculty/departmental-faculty-bios/ https://cos.gmu.edu/ssb/research/ https://esp.gmu.edu/faculty-staff/graduate-program-faculty/ A full application packet must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office of George Mason University (https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/apply-now). Follow instructions for a Graduate-Degree Seeking Student for fall 2019. Include the extra Letter of Interest for the doctoral fellowship.   The following materials must also be submitted as part of the application: 1. Letter of Interest addressing the candidate’s research experience and how this experience relates to SMSC and SCBI research agendas. This statement should be specific and reflect discussions with prospective SCBI and Mason research mentors. 2. Three letters of reference. 3. Endorsement letters by SCBI and Mason mentors. 4. Transcripts from completed degrees. 5. GRE scores (general test). 6. International students must submit adequate TOEFL scores. For full consideration, applications must be received by February 4, 2019. Specific questions may be addressed to Cody W. Edwards, Ph.D., Executive Director, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, cedward7@gmu.edu.
  18. The entire text (from the Congressional Record) reads: PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS. During the executive session the Senate adopted a resolution advising and consenting to the ratification of a convention between the United States and Great Britain, Executive Document E, providing for the protection of migratory birds in the United States and Canada, signed at Washington August 16, 1916, and on motion by Mr. O'GORMAN the injunction of secrecywas removed from the same. 64 Congressional Record 13348 (29 August 1916)
  19. BBL collaborates with University of Baltimore Release Date: August 23, 2018 The BBL is collaborating with graduate students at the University of Baltimore to revise Reportband.gov and BANDIT software. The BBL initiated a collaboration with the University of Baltimore’s graduate program in Interaction Design and Information Architecture in fall 2017. This novel partnership provides graduate students with real-world problems and allows the BBL to leverage local talent in areas outside of the expertise of current staff. During the fall semester, graduate students reviewed the BBL’s website and Reportband.gov. In the spring semester a different group of graduate students conducted user testing of Bandit software. We’ve recruited two graduate students from these courses to continue working with the BBL as part of their Master’s theses. Jaime Dalbke is working on the redesign of Reportband.gov. Brandon Turner is gathering additional feedback from Bandit users in advance of the replacement of current software with a new, web-based data submission process. Stay tuned for updates about these projects here!
  20. I have received a request from Akbar Shah, a Pakistani Ph.D who has been studying tragopans. The Pakistani government offers a full-freight six-month post-doc fellowship. He has contacted the very few who have published on tragopans and is hoping there might be someone else who is interested in having him in his lab. The fellowship pays his airfare, lodging, and something called "bench fees." It has to be at one of the top 200 universities as per this ranking: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2018/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats If you are interested in having Dr. Shah working in your lab for six months, please contact him directly. His e-mail address is wildlifeswat@gmail.com I have attached his CV. AkbarShahCV-2.pdf
  21. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. August 9: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/401163-fws-head-associated-with-endangered-species-act-rollbacks-departing Greg Sheehan, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is stepping down from his post, the Interior Department confirmed to The Hill Thursday. [NOTE: Sheehan was never actually the chief of the USFWS. He was appointed as an "acting" and when his term as "acting" exceeded legal limits, the DOI re-named the slot "Principal Deputy Director. The USFWS could not name him to the director's position because the law provides that, "No individual may be appointed as the Director unless he is, by reason of scientific education and experience, knowledgeable in the principles of fisheries and wildlife management." Sheehan earned a bachelor’s degree at Utah State University and later received an MBA.] "Greg Sheehan has been an incredible asset to the Interior team and was tremendous in helping Secretary Zinke expand access for hunting and fishing on over a quarter million acres of public lands across the country. We will miss working with him and wish him and his family nothing but the best," Interior Spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. In an all employee email Sheehan sent to staff Thursday evening, he referenced family time as the impetus behind his stepping down. He plans to move back to Utah. "I have been away from my family for quite some time now, and while they have been patient and understanding, it is time that I rejoin them," he wrote. He acknowledged that he will not be serving his full term, as he originally promised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In the letter he cited a number of achievements he accomplished while at the agency, including "opening more than 380,000 acres of our Refuge System to new hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses." Sheehan additionally mentioned his close relationship with Zinke saying that he was "constantly under the gun in the media." I can tell you from experience that he genuinely cares about our public lands and their responsible and sustainable use by all. I have spent time over dinner or driving remote roads with the Secretary, and I honestly believe that your thoughts and ideas of conservation stewardship align more closely with him than you may know," Sheehan told FWS staff. Since starting at FWS last June, Sheehan has largely been regarded as a driving force behind some of the service's more controversial decisions. A member of the Safari Club, Sheehan was a key figure in the Trump administration's push last fall to overturn an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports from a number of African nations. Sheehan first made the announcement that FWS was releasing a finding to overturn the ban at a Safari Club event in Tanzania last November. Following public outrage and a few tweets from President Trump promising to put a halt on the decision, the administration later announced it would allow imports in on a "case by case" basis. In February Sheehan attended the Safari Club's annual conference in Las Vegas on behalf of the administration. Sheehan was also influential in implementing a number of agency-wide reforms to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. In July he helped the agency roll-out a number of new proposals that could ultimately weaken ESA species protections. On a call with stakeholders, Sheehan--the former head of Utah’s wildlife agency-- said the changes would help the agency meet the ESA's main goal of “species recovery,” so that animals and plants could more easily be removed from endangered and threatened species lists. As Acting Administrator of FWS, Sheehan never went through the official confirmation process, an issue addressed by a number of environmental groups. At least one environmental group praised the news that Sheehan was leaving. "Sheehan’s departure is welcome news for America’s wildlife. In just one year in office, he inflicted incredible harm on imperiled animals by consistently putting special interests ahead of science and the environment," Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. "His actions derailed the recovery of countless endangered species, gutted protections for billions of migratory birds and wreaked havoc on our natural heritage.”
  22. Ever wonder just what the Ornithological Council does for you and for your societies? The Ornithological Council is a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Here's the run-down for June-July 2018. Prior newsBRIEFS can be found on BIRDNET, the Ornithological Council's website. In this time period, the Ornithological Council: 1. Submitted a second set of comments to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare of the National Institutes of Health pertaining to the potential reform of animal welfare laws, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. These comments focused on specific changes that the animal welfare agencies (OLAW and the Animal Care program of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) are considering. As before, the OC focused on burdens to the researcher (as opposed to the institution) and the use of these policies to better animal welfare. The OC comments supported the idea of continuing review using risk-based methodology (a logical extension of the standard operating procedure concept); harmonizing guidance issued by the two agencies; streamlining the guidance; refraining from regulating via guidance (which actually violates the law!); expanding the scope of guidance documents to include the taxon-based materials such as Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research: much more extensive opportunity for stakeholder input into guidance documents. 2. Pursued discussion with the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management about many long-standing permit policy and procedures problems. Met with Eric Kershner (Branch Chief for the Branch of Conservation, Permits, and Policy) and Ken Richkus (Deputy Division Chief and Acting Division Chief since Brad Bortner retired). For the first time in many years, we are hopeful that our persistent efforts are about to bear fruit! Key among these changes underway: an upcoming online permit application and reporting system (!) that may be completed as soon as February 2019, extending permit duration, and completing long-pending standard operating procedure manuals and the scientific collecting policy (which has been in draft since 1995). 3. Met with Aurelia Skipwith, the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary (and acting Assistant Secretary) for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to urge DOI support for the efforts of the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management, including funding for the online permit application and reporting system, staffing, and efforts to reform and streamline permit procedures. During that meeting, OC also informed Ms. Skipwith of the decades of effort by OC and others to reach an agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) regarding the ownership of specimens collected on NPS land. This problem was on the brink of resolution via a "permanent custody" agreement. The NPS was planning a press conference and a pilot project comprising five museums but then suddenly and without explanation reversed course and and left things to stand in the same unsatisfactory situation that had been problematic for biology collections for at least 30 years. At the same time, the OC asked Ms. Skipwith to look into the petition filed by the OC in 2014 to suspend or revoke the CITES "validation" requirement, which has proved unworkable and has the potential to result in the loss of valuable imported research material. 4. Submitted a request to USDA regulatory reform initiative to increase import permit duration to three years. The only reason for the one-year duration is the need for the fees generated by import applications. The OC explained that extending the permit duration would decrease the agency workload and decrease burden on the stakeholders. 5. Spearheaded an effort to bring attention to serious resource limitations at the USGS Bird Banding Lab. The OC learned that there is a real possibility that the BBL will not have funding for its current data management software, much less funding for a much-needed upgrade. Loss of the data management system would almost certainly force a shut-down of the banding program, with dire consequences for ornithological research. The OC also learned that the BBL is in need of permission from the Department of the Interior to move forward to fill four approved positions. The OC shared this information with other organizations -including Ducks Unlimited, the Flyway Councils, the Wildlife Society, and bird observatories - and proposed a sign-on letter to Timothy Petty, Ph.D (DOI Assistant Secretary for Water and Science), but due to the urgency of the situation (department budgets will be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 10), chose instead to send its own letter and encourage the other organizations to do likewise. To date, the Atlantic Flyway Council, twelve bird observatories, and one independent research institution have sent letters. The OC is attempting to arrange for an in-person meeting with Dr. Petty. 6. OC is working on a side-by-side-by-side analysis of the new California scientific collecting permit regulation, comparing it to the proposed regulation and with OC requests and suggestions (prepared with the input of numerous ornithologists and research organizations in California); fielded questions from ornithologists, submitted follow-up questions to the agency, and updated the California permits information on the BIRDNET permits page 7. Completed the year-end financial analysis and completed the annual 990 tax returns. 8. Worked with Jeff Stratford, the new chair of the conservation committee of the Wilson Ornithological Society, on options and strategies for that society's conservation efforts. 9. Attended the joint meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society. 10. In anticipation of a resolution (or at least a temporary resolution) of the import problems resulting from the implementation of the "ACE" declaration system by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), OC has resumed efforts to update the import manual for scientific specimens and samples. In the meantime, OC has continued to act as a liaison between the research community and the CBP with regard to specific problems that occur. 11. Investigated a report by the Government Accountability Office pertaining to animal welfare regulations as those regulations pertain to federal agencies. The report is of concern because it addressed the issue of the "field studies" exemption and the long-pending regulations pertaining to birds. The GAO is one of the most highly respected of government agencies but they have no expertise in these issues and no understanding of how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to issue guidance on field studies. The Animal Care program of APHIS, which also lacks such expertise, seems to be continuing its efforts to do just that, and again, with essentially no input from experts. 12. Circulated the research papers by Joanne Paul-Murphy, Ph.D (supported by the American Ornithological Society) and Andy Engilis (published in the Condor) pertaining to rapid cardiac compression. We explained that these papers should suffice as "scientific justification" to approve a departure (for research funded by NIH, NSF, and certain other federal agencies) until the AVMA changes the classification (at that point, it would no longer be a departure) or, if the AVMA opts not to change the classification, then to continue approving departures.This information was sent to the IACUC-Administrator's listserve, the Scientists' Center for Animal Welfare, PRIM&R (a leading research ethics organization), AAAALAC International (a private accreditation organization), the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians. Assistance with permits - assisted 10 individuals with permit issues. Names are provided in reports to society leadership.
  23. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. On 24 May 2018, the National Audubon Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and American Bird Conservancy filed suit against the Dept. of the Interior challenging as unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory BirdTreaty Act of 1918, 16 U.S.C. § 703(a) (“MBTA” or “Act”). A copy of the lawsuit is attached. STATUS: on 13 July 2018, the court held a pretrial conference. At that conference, the government was ordered to submit a brief on its motion to dismiss the litigation ( as described in the attached letter notifying the court that such motions would be filed) no later than 17 August 2018. The plaintiffs were ordered to submit their separate reply briefs by 17 October 2018 and their joint reply brief no later than 20 November 2018. In addition, there is an earlier-filed case brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation (Civil 1:18-cv-4596). The court has not yet consolidated the two cases but is likely to do so if the two cases survive the motion to dismiss. It is not known if the court will decide the motion on the briefs or if oral argument will be heard. IncidentalTakeComplaintMay18.pdf IncidentalTakeComplaintLetterResponse.pdf
  24. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks seeks a highly motivated individual with the talent and creativity to deliver the Society’s online communications and social media. The successful candidate will have experience in science writing and storytelling; online communication programs and services, including website development, social media, email communications; content management; and publicity. Strong science writing and marketing skills, proven interpersonal skills, and the desire to work in a mission-driven organization are highly desired. This is an outstanding opportunity for someone seeking to lead a communications program in a growing professional society. The Communications Specialist will also be at the front line of implementing the comprehensive communications strategy for the AOS. The Communications Specialist is a part-time position, up to 25 hours per week on average, through Dec 2018, and is expected to go to a full time position in 2019. Compensation: $2,150 per month, for an average of 25 hours per week through December 2018. Base salary range anticipated for the full time position is $42,000-$46,000, starting in 2019. The successful candidate is not required to be located in Chicago. The position begins as soon as the vacancy is filled. See the complete position description. The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 25 August 2018. To be considered, send an application in one file that includes a current C.V. and cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest in the position (no more than four pages combined) to jobs@americanornithology.org. Please direct any questions about the position to Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations, at cruiz@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
  25. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks candidates for the editor-in-chief position for its journal, The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The new editor-in-chief will begin their term in 2019 when Phillip Stouffer, Ph.D, the current editor-in-chief of the journal, will step down after a distinguished 5-year term of service. The Condor is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, syntheses, and assessments focusing on the application of scientific theory and methods to the conservation, management, and ecology of birds, and the application of ornithological knowledge to conservation and management policy and other issues of importance to the society. The journal holds an Impact Factor of 2.722, making it the top-ranked journal in the field of ornithology. The new EIC of The Condor will serve as the chief scientific authority responsible for the process and output of top quality peer reviewed articles in the journal. The EIC is responsible for assembling and overseeing a diverse editorial board; determining the scope and direction of the scientific content of the journal; overseeing manuscript submissions; ensuring that journal content is effectively and broadly disseminated; and aiding the society in developing new policies responsive to changing publishing needs. The EIC also attends annual AOS meetings and, as an ex officio member of the Elective Council, is responsible for representing and reporting on the publication program of the AOS. The ideal candidate for the editor-in-chief position should be an internationally recognized scientist whose reputation brings prestige and visibility to the journal. Candidates should have five or more years of cumulative hands-on editorial (associate editor or above) experience with international peer reviewed journals; a demonstrated ability to lead teams of fellow scientists; dedication to supporting individual diversity and inclusivity in our field; and a commitment to publishing and broadly disseminating our science. Excellent organizational and communication skills, strong professional ethics and a willingness to adapt to new techniques in scholarly publications are essential. The term of the initial appointment is one year with annual reappointment subject to AOS Council approval; the position includes an annual honorarium of $16,000 USD, and full financial support to attend the AOS Annual Meetings during their editorial term. See the complete position description. The AOS welcomes both direct applications and nominations for the position. Nominees will be contacted by the Chair of the Condor Editorial Search Committee. Interested candidates should submit, electronically, the following materials to the Editorial Search Committee aggregated in one file: cover letter describing their qualifications for the position, editorial experience and ability to meet the annual time demands of the position vision and goals to improve the reach, impact and visibility for The Condor curriculum vitae The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 4 September 2018. For questions about the Condor editor-in-chief position and to submit applications, please contact: Dr. Anna Chalfoun, Chair, The Condor Editorial Search Committee at jobs@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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