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Ellen Paul

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  1. 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
  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. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Ellen Paul

    New ornithology textbook!

    https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/ornithology And one of the authors is Melanie Colon, one of the OrnithologyExchange administrators!
  8. 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. With the GOP in control of both the House and the Senate as well as the White House, it was inevitable that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would come under attack. In recent years, sporadic attempts have been made by the GOP in Congress to weaken the ESA, including attacks on the scientific bases for decision-making. None of these bills succeeded. Now, since the November 2016 election, two dozen or more bills to gut or even revoke the ESA have been introduced. On 2 July 2018, John Barrasso, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works, released a draft discussion of a comprehensive bill that is likely to be the legislation that the GOP will try to enact. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior has proposed a series of regulatory changes that would drastically reduce the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect species under the current law. In other words, even if the legislative proposals fail, the regulatory changes would render the ESA ineffective in many regards.**The proposed rules are scheduled to be formally released for public comment on 25 July 2018.** Comments for each notice must be received within 60 days, by September 24, 2018. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means any personal information provided through the process will be posted. Update 7/25: the formal notices have now been posted. The links to regulations.gov are as follows: Listing habitat and designated critical habitat Changes to prohibited acts Interagency cooperation The specific changes proposed are as follows: 1. Listing and critical habitat designation (Note - everything in this section is prospective only). There are a number of specific sections that would change but this one is of particular concern: The USFWS is seeking public comment for additional potential changes to 50 CFR 424 (the joint USFWS and NOAA provisions for listing species and for designating critical habitat. "We seek public comments recommending, opposing, or providing feedback on specific changes to any provisions in part 424 of the regulations, including but not limited to revising or adopting as regulations existing practices or policies, or interpreting terms or phrases from the Act.In particular, we seek public comment on whether we should consider modifying the definitions of “geographical area occupied by the species” or “physical or biological features” in section 424.02. Based on comments received and on our experience in administering the Act, the final rule may include revisions to any provisions in part 424 that are a logical outgrowth of this proposed rule." a) The current regulation defines geographical area as "Geographical area occupied by the species. An area that may generally be delineated around species' occurrences, as determined by the Secretary (i.e., range). Such areas may include those areas used throughout all or part of the species' life cycle, even if not used on a regular basis (e.g., migratory corridors, seasonal habitats, and habitats used periodically, but not solely by vagrant individuals)." b) The USFWS proposes to remove the phrase, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination [determination = listing, delisting, or reclassifying]. "In removing the phrase, the Services will continue to make determinations based solely on biological considerations. However, there may be circumstances where referencing economic, or other impacts may be informative to the public....While Congress precluded consideration of economic and other impacts from being the basis of a listing determination, it did not prohibit the presentation of such information to the public." 2. Changes to prohibited acts (new listings only) The ESA allows the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to apply to threatened species the same protections from prohibited acts as those afforded to endangered species. The USFWS has done that but NMFS has not. NMFS applies the prohibited acts provision on a species-by-species basis. The proposed rule - which is prospective only - would do likewise. This would also apply to experimental populations. 3. Interagency cooperation This proposed change is prospective only. It pertains to the way agencies coordinate in the evaluation of activities that affect listed species. Specific changes: a) Adding the phrase “as a whole” to the definition of habitat modification or destruction. The USFWS explains that it intends to clearly indicate that the final destruction or adverse modification determination is made at the scale of the entire critical habitat designation. Smaller scales can be very important analysis tools in determining how the impacts may translate to the entire designated critical habitat, but the final determination is not made at the action area, critical habitat unit, or other less extensive scale. b) Deleting this sentence entirely. “Such alterations may include, but are not limited to, effects that preclude or significantly delay the development of the physical or biological features that support the life history needs of the species for recovery.” c) Definition of "effects of the action." The USFWS collapsed the various concepts of direct and indirect effects, and the effects of interrelated and interdependent actions into the new definition. It also limits the analysis to effects of the proposed action. Activities that might result from that proposed action (i.e., BLM building a dam is an action; thousands of people boating on the lake that forms is an activity) would be considered only if they would not occur but for the action and are reasonably certain to occur. d) Environmental baseline - The USFWS is considering this definition: "Environmental baseline is the state of the world absent the action under review and includes the past, present and ongoing impacts of all past and ongoing Federal, State, or private actions and other human activities in the action area, the anticipated impacts of all proposed Federal projects in the action area that have already undergone formal or early section 7 consultation, and the impact of State or private actions in the action area which are contemporaneous with the consultation in process. Ongoing means impacts or actions that would continue in the absence of the action under review.” e) The USFWS plans to formally recognize the concept of programmatic consultation. "They can be used to evaluate the effects of multiple actions anticipated within a particular geographic area; or to evaluate Federal agency programs that guide implementation of the agency’s future actions by establishing standards, guidelines, or governing criteria to which future actions will adhere. By consulting on the program, plan, policy, regulation, series, or suites of activities as a whole, the Services can reduce the number of single, project-by-project consultations, streamline theconsultation process, and increase predictability and consistency for action agencies." f) Eliminating the consultation requirement - in essence the USFWS proposes to allow other agencies to determine that the proposed action will: (1) not affect listed species or critical habitat; or (2) have effects that are manifested through global processes and (i) cannot be reliably predicted or measured at the scale of a listed species ’ current range, or (ii) would result at most in an extremely small and insignificant impact on a listed species or critical habitat, or (iii) are such that the potential risk of harm to a listed species or critical habitat is remote, or (3) result in effects to listed species or critical habitat that are either wholly beneficial or are not capable of being measured or detected in a manner that permits meaningful evaluation g) Establish a deadline for informal consultations - the USFWS and NMFS seem to be struggling to complete these consultations as quickly as some might like. h) Clarify in the regulations what is needed to initiate consultation. i) Clarify the analytical steps the Services undertake in formulating a biological opinion. These changes are intended to better reflect the Services’ approach to analyzing jeopardy and adverse modification as well as address revisions to the definition of “effects of the action.” In summary, these analytical steps are: (1) review all relevant information, (2) evaluate current status of the species and critical habitat and environmental baseline, (3) evaluate effects of the proposed action and cumulative effects, (4) add effects of the action and cumulative effects to the environmental baseline, and, in light of the status of the species and critical habitat , determine if the proposed action is likely to jeopardize listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This would include any elements of the proposed action that would avoid, minimize, or offset effects of the proposed action, even if there are no “specific and binding plans,” “a clear, definite commitment ofresources”, or meet other such criteria. j) Biological opinion - would allow the USFWS to adopt information from the action agencies into the USFWS biological opinion. The USFWS proposes a collaborative process to facilitate the Federal agency’s development of an initiation package that could be used as all or part of the Service’s biological opinion. First, the Federal agency and the Service must mutually agree that the adoption process is appropriate for the proposed action. Subsequently, the Services and the Federal agency may develop coordination procedures that would facilitate adoption. This agreement must be explained in the Federal agency’s initiation package and acknowledged in the Services’ biological opinion. The purpose of the collaboration is to bring the information and expertise of both the Federal agency and the Service (and any applicant) into the resulting initiation package to facilitate a more efficient and effective consultation process. k) Expedited consultations - the USFWS proposes to add a new provision titled “Expedited consultations”at § 402.14(l) to offer opportunities to streamline consultation, particularly for actions that have minimal adverse effects or predictable effects based on previous consultation experience. This consultation process is proposed to provide an efficient means to complete formal consultation on projects ranging from those that have a minimal impact, to those projects with a potentially broad range of effects that are known and predictable, but that are unlikely to cause jeopardy or destruction oradverse modification. . .
  9. Ellen Paul

    Is the ESA doomed?

    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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! Update 23 July 2018: As of 20 July, this legislation appears to still be in the "discussion draft" stage. The full draft and other information - such as a list of supporters - can be found here. A hearing was held before the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 20 July and at that time, the bill was still in draft and had not been introduced. The likelihood of this bill moving through the Senate before the midterm elections is fairly unlikely, even though the Senate will recess for only one week this year. The Senate will be in session for only 36 days prior to the midterm elections. The regulatory proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced 19 July (though not yet formally published for public comment) is of at least as much concern, if not more so, as it is far more likely to become law and implemented. Please read the Ornithological Council analysis of this proposed regulatory change. This article was published in The Hill on Monday 2 July 2018. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/395135-senate-gop-seeks-overhaul-of-endangered-species-act This is the "big comprehensive push" for "reform" that has been in the offing since the 115th Congress started. Many smaller bills (including some to repeal the ESA) have been proposed but the comprehensive legislation from committee chair Barrasso is the bill likely to move through Congress. Unless...November. Senate Republicans are embarking on an ambitious effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Draft legislation due to be released Monday by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) would give new powers and responsibilities for state officials to determine how animals and plants should be protected. The GOP contends that its goal is not to weaken protections, but to take advantage of the experience of state regulators. “When it comes to the Endangered Species Act, the status quo is not good enough,” Barrasso said in a statement to The Hill in advance of the unveiling. “We must do more than just keep listed species on life support — we need to see them recovered. This draft legislation will increase state and local input and improve transparency in the listing process.” Conservationists, however, say the new bill represents the most significant threat in years to the 44-year-old law, which has been credited with rescuing the bald eagle, gray wolf and grizzly bear from possible extinction. “It’s a bill which, on a broad basis, rewrites the ESA, with a whole host of consequences — as far as we can tell, almost entirely adverse consequences — for the protection of species,” said Bob Dreher, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife. Dreher and other critics fear the effort would tilt the balance too far toward industries while deemphasizing the role of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. “This is bill is all about politics. It’s not about science. It’s especially not about better ways to conserve endangered species,” he continued. “It’s a partisan bill.” The species act has sometimes restricted energy production or development to protect habitats, an irritant to many landowners and energy interests in the West, where governors are mostly Republican. Barrasso’s legislation is modeled after efforts the Western Governors Association, led by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R), has undertaken over the last three years to identify potential changes to the ESA, Republicans have long identified the ESA as a problematic law, arguing that it disrespects landowners and states while putting major, unnecessary burdens on industry. They also say it’s overwhelmingly ineffective. “States, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are all making it clear that the Endangered Species Act is not working today," Barrasso said in a February 2017 hearing that marked the beginning of his reform efforts for the conservation law. “Of 1,652 species of animals and plants in the U.S. listed as either endangered or threatened since the law was passed in 1973, only 47 species have been delisted due to recovery of the species," he said. To conservationists, the law isn't perfect, but measuring its effectiveness solely by the number of species taken off the endangered or threatened lists undersells its successes. "The success of the act is only partly in keeping species alive. It’s more importantly, in the long run, a commitment to recover them and restore them to health in a healthy ecosystem," Dreher said. ESA's supporters credit it with bringing back from the brink species ranging from the bald eagle to the gray wolf and the grizzly bear. One of the biggest changes the legislation would make is to require that, for each species listed under the ESA, the team overseeing its recovery plan could not have more federal members than state and local representatives, who would be nominated by state governors. That team would have new mandates, including setting standards to judge the species’s recovery that could not be changed later without unanimous approval. The team would also have to give “great weight” in its deliberations to scientific data and findings provided by state, local or tribal governments, a standard that other science wouldn’t be subject to. Before any new species is listed for protection, states would get an opportunity to implement conservation programs to avoid a listing. The legislation would also prioritize federal resources toward the most at-risk species, and it would prohibit lawsuits against de-listing actions under a species’s recovery monitoring period concludes, a period that usually takes years. A senior GOP committee aide told The Hill the proposal “focuses on elevating the states’ role in implementation of the act, elevating its partnership to a more equal partnership with the federal government.” “It focuses on trying to increase transparency of the information and process with regard to implementation of the ESA, in order make sure decisions are as well-informed as they can be, to make sure that resources are utilized as well as they can be,” the aide said. Republicans on the Environmental panel say they want a final bill to be bipartisan, but Democrats are skeptical. “I believe the primary impediment to species recovery is lack of dedicated resources at both the state and federal level. While I’m still reviewing Sen. Barrasso’s proposed legislation, it does not appear to address this serious challenge,” Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the panel’s top Democrat, said in a statement. “Beyond a funding solution, any proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act should be judged on the basis of whether or not they improve conservation outcomes and recover species. That is a hard conversation to have in a Congress that has put forth dozens of proposals to undermine this important law and with an administration that seems intent upon supporting such efforts.” Dreher said states already play a strong role, and giving them more power would be counterproductive. “They’ve never played a particularly strong role in conservation of endangered species. Most states, in fact, lack adequate authority to conserve endangered species,” he said. Barrasso plans to hold a hearing on the draft bill in the coming weeks.
  10. From Jared Wolfe: The calendar-based age classification system (widely used in North America) separates age classes based on hatch date relative to January 1st which, unfortunately, renders the system useless in tropical systems where breeding seasons often overlap January 1st. Based on relationships between molt extent and bird age, we developed a universal system of bird-age classification called the WRP system. To help ornithologists effectively use the WRP system in the field and museum, I created a tutorial with photographic examples that reflect the majority of molt patterns exhibited by resident Neotropical birds. I will be adding photographic examples from North American as well as representative birds from central and east Africa in the near future. Make sure that you are familiar with the WRP system before reviewing photographic examples.
  11. 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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! Synopsis: The issuance of this new regulation concludes a process of regulatory change that spanned two years. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offered several opportunities for public comment. After canvassing California ornithologists and banders, the Ornithological Council submitted comments prior to the drafting of the proposed regulation and again once the draft regulation was published for comment, Further analysis of the specifics of this final regulation will be provided in the next day or two. New Scientific Collecting Permit Regulations Effective October 1, 2018 Title 14, Sections 650 and 703, California Code of Regulations Information for existing and prospective permitholders On May 1, 2018, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory changes to Sections 650 and 703, Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR) (OAL regulatory file 2018-0320-05S) for Scientific Collecting Permits (SCPs). The new SCP regulations (including the new application structure and online submission format) will be effective on October 1, 2018. To help inform existing and prospective permitholders and other affected stakeholders, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) is addressing the following information on the new SCP regulations and transition to the new SCP online application portal: · How existing permits will be honored after the October 1, 2018 effective date of the new regulations; · How the new permit structure and other changes in new regulations compare to the existing regulations; and · General information about the new SCP online application portal. The Department’s SCP home page will serve as the primary online resource for information about implementation and, starting on October 1, 2018, will also provide access to the online application portal. Department staff will inform and educate affected stakeholders by posting outreach materials, guidance, and tools to this webpage throughout the summer of 2018. The Department has prepared a FAQ document (attached PDF, and will be posted to the SCP home page) to address common concerns that existing and prospective permitholders may have about the new regulations and online application portal. The Department highlights two immediate considerations for existing and prospective permitholders: 1. Phasing out of existing application forms. Any permit issued prior to October 1, 2018, or any issued permit that was applied for by September 30, 2018 using the existing hard copy forms will be valid until the expiration date listed on that permit. However, all new applications, amendments to existing permits and permit renewals requested on or after October 1, 2018 will require submission in the new SCP online application portal, and adherence to the new SCP regulations (refer to Title 14, Subsection 650(a)(7), CCR for more information). In an effort to promote a smooth transition into the new regulations, the Department will accept and process applications under the existing regulations and hard-copy forms through September 30, 2018. This will allow affected permitholders to continue their permitted activities without interruption in their scheduled field and/or laboratory activities, after the new regulations become effective October 1, 2018. Applications submitted via the new online application portal starting October 1, 2018 will be processed concurrently with applications on the existing hard copy forms submitted by September 30, 2018. If a permitholder anticipates needing to amend or renew their existing permit in the next three or so months, or throughout that permit’s term, it is in the permitholder’s best interest to wait, if practicable, until October 1, 2018 or later, to apply under the online application portal, for the following reasons: § Applications to amend or renew existing permits will not be accepted after September 30, 2018 in the existing hard copy process, under current regulations. An amendment to, or renewal of, an existing permit on and after October 1, 2018 will require the permitholder to apply (as a new applicant in accordance to the new permit and fee structure) in the online application portal. This way the permitholder pays just the new permit fees (Question 8 in the FAQs), rather than paying existing fees to amend or renew before September 30, 2018, in addition to paying new permit fees when coming in to use the new online application portal after October 1, 2018. § Once active, early use of the online application portal will also assist: · Department’s IT staff to identify and then work out any issues not identified during beta-testing. · Department review staff to process the queue of existing applications under the existing hard copy process. The Department highly recommends that a permitholder whose existing SCP does not expire until January 1, 2019 or later, wait to amend or renew an existing SCP under the new online application portal. This will help the Department process applications in the order received, and work with applicants to help maintain permit coverage for necessary periods of work (see also Question 6 of the FAQs). 2. Permit Fees. Currently, the non-refundable application fee is required when an application is submitted, and then the permit fee is requested separately when the permit is approved. Effective July 15, 2018, new applicants or renewing permitholders under the existing hard copy process will be required to submit at the same time both the application fee ($108.92, or $27.04 for students) and the permit fee ($324.75, or $54.59 for students) to the Department’s License and Revenue Branch (LRB) at the time of application submission. This will help the Department: o Finalize permits issued under the existing system sooner, to better facilitate a smooth transition to the new online application portal. o Phase out these older license items earlier; Department staff will not have to delay issuance while requesting permit fees upon permit approval (from applicants applying under the existing system between July 15 and September 30, 2018). o Encourage applicants to save a few dollars by avoiding the annual fee adjustments for any permits issued after December 31, 2018. Department license items are adjusted annually in January pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 713. Therefore, if the application is approved in early 2019, then the applicant would have to pay the higher, adjusted fee (up to a 3% increase). ************************************ Scientific Collecting Permits *** New Scientific Collecting Permit regulations (Title 14, Section 650) go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. Please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Scientific-Collecting for more information, and contact SCPermits@wildlife.ca.gov with any questions you might have.*** *************************************
  12. Available now. http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1642/AUK-18-62.1 This is the 18th supplement since publication of the 7th edition of the Check-list of North American Birds (American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU] 1998). It summarizes decisions made between April 15, 2017, and April15, 2018, by the AOS’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America. The checklist is produced by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America of the American Ornithological Society.
  13. Ellen Paul

    Collections Manager

    University of Michigan Museum of Zoology has opened a search for a Collections Manager for the Bird Division. Janet Hinshaw will be retiring at the end of 2018, after an extraordinary 45 years of dedicated service in this position. Please forward this posting to any qualified candidates in your networks. The official job description and application is found here: http://careers.umich.edu/job_detail/157842/research_museum_collection_manager_-_bird_division Candidates with a PhD will have the opportunity for a partial (<10% effort) cross-appointment on the Research Scientist track in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Thus, this position is an exciting opportunity for a PhD scientist trained in specimen curation and specimen-based research and dedicated to the maintenance, growth, development and promotion of biodiversity collections. With over 215,000 bird specimens, the UMMZ contains one of the largest University-based bird collections in North America. It is now housed at the newly-opened Research Museums Center, which contains all UMMZ collections as well as those of the UM-Herbarium, Museum of Paleontology, and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. The facility also houses a newly renovated cryogenic facility and BSL2 molecular research lab, in addition to ample laboratory spaces for collections-based research. Also note that UMMZ is concurrently running a separate search for a Collections Manager of Fishes. Please do not hesitate contact me with any questions, but applications must be submitted through the link I provide above. Best, Ben Winger ------------------------------ Ben Winger, PhD Assistant Curator of Birds, Museum of Zoology Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Assistant Professor, Program in the Environment University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA (734) 763-3379 wingerb@umich.edu www.wingerlab.org https://lsa.umich.edu/ummz
  14. Powdermill Nature Reserve will be holding an “Extraction/Banding” workshop in September 2018. Fall “Extraction/Banding” Workshop: Wednesday, September 19 through Sunday, September 23. The workshop will begin before dawn on Wednesday (9/19) and end Sunday (9/23) at noon. Participants will want to arrive Tuesday evening (9/18) prior to the workshop. The majority of time will be spent in the field with live birds, and these sessions will be complemented with afternoon presentations and discussions. This workshop is an excellent primer for NABC (North American Banding Council) Bander Certification as we will cover banding ethics, banding methodology, molt terminology, and use of the Pyle Guide. The focus of this workshop is on training participants to handle and extract birds from mist nets, and to band birds, but we’ll have discussions and practice ageing and sexing birds via plumage and molt limits, and will include discussions on molt terminology and how to decode the “Pyle Guide”. The cost is $750 per person and includes on site lodging (with kitchen) and breakfast. This workshop will be NABC-approved. To sign up please fill out the following Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/kaQiLhs1aZ Annie Crary Banding Workshop Coordinator, NABC Trainer Powdermill Nature Reserve
  15. From AOS President Kathy Martin: It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Scott Sillett, Research Wildlife Biologist at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, as the 19th Editor-in-Chief of our journal, The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Scott is an internationally recognized ornithologist widely known and respected for his many productive collaborations, interdisciplinary work, and pioneering research on the study of avian life cycles. Beginning early in his career, Scott served the Society and engaged in many of its important programs to advance our mission and inspire ornithologists. Scott earned his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 2000 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S.G.S Patuxent Wildlife Research Center before joining the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 2002. Dr. Sillett will take over the reins of the journal in August following a short period of overlap with retiring editor Mark Hauber. Scott intends to build on the momentum generated by Dr. Hauber’s outstanding leadership over the past five years, and will introduce new features to our publications program, including data archiving. He brings vision, energy, and a global perspective to leading the journal into the future. You can read more about Scott’s appointment here. Our two peer-reviewed journals, The Auk and The Condor, consistently rank among the highest impact factors among all the 24 ornithological journals worldwide. The journals publish conceptual discovery (The Auk) and applied (The Condor) ornithology, thus covering the spectrum of modern avian research advancing the fundamental scientific knowledge of broad biological and applied concepts through the study of birds. The editorial team delivers quality and excellence with each issue, their special collections, and related publications content. Click here to join the mailing list for the journals’ newsletter and content alerts. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Scott Sillett in his new appointment as Editor-in-Chief of The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Welcome aboard, Scott!! Sincerely, Kathy Martin President, AOS 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!)
  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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! A new report from the Government Accountability Office examines animal use in federal research and, in particular, reporting and data sharing about animal use. The report points out, among other things, that APHIS’s instructions have not ensured consistent and complete reporting in three areas: research with birds, activities outside the United States, and field studies outside a typical laboratory. The GAO recommended that APHIS clarify its reporting instructions and fully describe the potential limitations of the animal use data it makes available to the public. USDA stated that APHIS will take steps to implement GAO’s recommendations, with the exception of clarifying reporting instructions for activities outside the United States. GAO continues to believe that APHIS needs to ensure complete reporting of such activities by federal facilities. The GAO also recommended that APHIS (1) develop a timeline for defining birds that are not bred for research and that are thus covered under the Animal Welfare Act and (2) requiring that research facilities report to APHIS their use of birds covered by the Act. In response, the APHIS Animal Care program committed to submitting a recommendation and timeline for defining birds subject to the Animal Welfare Act by 30 September 2018. Presumably, this would lead to a formal regulatory process and the opportunity for public comment. In addition, the GAO recommended that APHIS should provide research facilities with clear examples of studies that are excluded from the definition of "field study" and are thus covered by the Animal Welfare Act and that should therefore be reported to APHIS, as well as examples of studies that meet the definition of "field study" and thus should not be reported. This comes against the background of the 21st Century Cures Act which mandates the federal agencies such as APHIS and the National Institutes of Health to reduce the burden of animal welfare regulations, as well as the anti-regulatory stance of the current Administration. Background on the inclusion of birds Amajor change in policy took place in 2004 when the agency decided, as a result of litigation, that it would begin to regulate rats, mice, and birds used in research (the law exempted "purpose-bred rats, mice, and birds so the agency rule would have affected other birds bred in captivity but not for the purpose of research, wild birds brought into captivity, and wild birds studied in the field). The agency began the process of developing regulatory standards by way of an advanced notice of public rulemaking, asking the stakeholders and the public for input as to what and how to regulate. Nothing more was heard until December 2011, when the agency announced that the proposed regulation was on hold pending an assessment of the agency's resources for implementing the rule. Nothing more has been heard since then. For all practical purposes, this regulation would have had little impact on those studying wild birds because it was unlikely that the agency would have attempted to oversee such research. However, it would have impacted those studying wild birds in captivity. The new, extreme anti-regulatory stance of the current Administration led the OC to surmise that this regulation was in permanent repose. In fact, the listing for this pending regulation had been dropped from the semi-annual unified regulatory agenda of all pending regulatory processes. Now, it seems to have come back to life. Background on field studies The Animal Welfare Act regulations exempt field studies, defined as those that do not involve invasive procedures, harm to the animal, or material alteration of behavior. No further definitions have been provided. Recently, APHIS Animal Care attempted to develop guidance without any input from wildlife biologists. After strenuous objections from the Ornithological Council that process was put on hold. The Ornithological Council developed a survey to determine how IACUCs were interpreting those criteria; as of now, we have not received a sufficient number of responses. The few we received suggest that IACUCs are actually overly inclusive and requiring reviews (and reporting) for methods that do not involve any of those three conditions.
  17. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a globally renowned nonprofit institution that advances research, education, citizen science, and conservation to improve the understanding and protection of birds and biodiversity. A vibrant unit within Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Lab has 12 interdisciplinary programs directed by full-time faculty and staff. The Macaulay Library (ML) is the world’s largest (over 6,750,000 media assets) and oldest (started in 1929) scientific archive of biodiversity media recordings (audio, video and photos); it is the most heavily used archive of its kind in the world. Collections Development Manager Extension Support Specialist II - Band F Lab of Ornithology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cornell University The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Collections Development Manager. Specific duties include: Strategically grow the ML archive, increase rates of data collection and improve data quality. Lead activities and projects that work collaboratively with ML staff and other Lab programs, particularly Information Science, as well as outside partners. Work with Program Manager and ML leadership to set overall strategies that align with ML’s mission and the Lab’s strategic priorities. In collaboration with the ML leadership, develop goals and priorities for collections development that will ensure the expansion of the ML archive to better serve clients; build strategic partnerships with institutions and individuals; provide guidance and contribute to the development of online tools and other mechanisms/strategies to facilitate acquisition of media specimens and data from contributors; expand ML’s training efforts to become state-of-the-art and global in scope; sustain a fleet of professional audiovisual field recording equipment for use in the field; and organize and conduct training workshops in collaboration with other Lab programs (particularly eBird and Bioacoustics Research Program) and partners. Basic functions and responsibilities include the following: Collections Development and Strategic Partnerships Development: In collaboration with ML’s Program Manager, Collections Management Leader, and other Lab staff, define strategic plans and projects to increase the rate of media submission and data quality. Facilitate communication, coordination and high-level collaboration with research groups, institutions, biological collections and media archives around the world, particularly with respect to development of biodiversity audiovisual collections. Outreach, Training Activities, and Research Facilitation: Design, implement, and conduct audiovisual field recording, media editing, data management, and recording analysis training programs and related educational resources. Fundraising: Initiate and/or substantially contribute to the identification, preparation and securing of grant proposals and other fundraising efforts in support of the Macaulay Library. This may include recruitment of corporate and institutional partnerships, in addition to foundations or government funding. Project Management: Provide day-to-day functional leadership by overseeing projects and managing workflows, including setting priorities, coordinating individual and group activities and managing activities to meet project deadlines. Facilitate communication within and across teams to ensure that project goals/deadlines are met. Annual term appointment with possible renewal based on performance and available funding. Based in Ithaca, NY. Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references. Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in biological sciences, museum studies, information sciences or other relevant field. Less than 5 years of experience with a combination of: using/curating biological research collections, using audiovisual media for scholarly activities, large-scale digital asset management initiatives, and/or biodiversity informatics data management projects and initiatives. Advanced identification skills and experience with birds. Advanced sound and video recording, and/or photography experience. Must have a record of successfully meeting schedules and milestones of projects involving multiple stages, participants and stakeholders. Demonstrated record of success in large-scale project leadership and management. Experience with audiovisual media recording technology, manipulation and archival practices, with emphasis on birds and natural history. Experience using audiovisual media collections for research, formal and informal science education, and/or public outreach. Mastery of standard office management software (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint , etc). Excellent organizational and time management skills. Must have ability to obtain and maintain a valid passport and driver’s license. Must be able to think critically and make a positive contribution to ML’s and the Cornell Lab’s mission. Preferred Qualifications: PhD in biology or related field with at least 2 years of postdoctoral experience. Demonstrated track record of obtaining extramural funding. Experience mentoring and advising undergraduate students. Advanced knowledge and multiple years of experience using eBird. Fluency in Spanish highly preferred. When applying through our system, please remember to attach your application materials (resume/cover letter/CV) in either Microsoft Word or PDF. In the Experience section of your application, use the Paperclip icon to search for file(s) or use the ‘Drop Files Here’ box to manually drag document(s) into your application. For a more detailed description and instructions on how to create a profile online please click here as an external candidate or click here if you are an internal candidate Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position. University Job Title: Extension Supp Spec II Level: F Pay Rate Type: Salary Company: Contract College Contact Name: Sue Taggart Number of Openings: 1 Current Employees: If you currently work at Cornell University, please exit this website and log in to Workday using your Net ID and password. Select the Career icon on your Home dashboard to view jobs at Cornell. Online Submission Guidelines: Most positions at Cornell will require you to apply online and submit both a resume/CV and cover letter. You can upload documents either by “dragging and dropping” them into the dropbox or by using the “upload” icon on the application page. For more detailed instructions on how to apply to a job at Cornell, visit How We Hire on the HR website. Employment Assistance: If you require an accommodation for a disability in order to complete an employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are encouraged to contact Cornell University's Office of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations at voice (607) 254-7232, fax (607) 255-0298, or email at equalopportunity@cornell.edu. Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also visit the office of Workforce Recruitment and Retention Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to use a dedicated workstation to complete an online application. Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant. EEO Statement: Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.
  18. *EXPERIENCED BIRD BANDERS IN CHARGE (6) *needed from *15 August to 5 November *(start and end dates flexible) to study the stopover ecology of small passerines along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama and Louisiana). BANDERS need to have experience with banding large volumes of birds, be familiar with the aging and sexing of eastern species, be able to train mist net assistants, and independently lead a small team. Also must be able to effectively communicate with project leader and site coordinator in completing tasks associated with the banding operation as well as oversee banding operation including other technicians. MIST NET ASSISTANT duties include extracting birds from mist-nets and analyzing fecal samples. AVIAN SURVEYOR duties include identifying eastern species by sight and sound, mist net extraction, and analyzing fecal samples. Additionally, opportunities may exist for all positions to assist with active research during the field season. All individuals are required to work 7 days a week, assist with data entry, vegetation sampling, arthropod sampling, and fruit counts, have the ability to work and live well with others in close quarters, have a good sense of humor, and be able to tolerate heat, venomous snakes, biting insects, and wet conditions. In addition to abundant experience, each bander will be compensated a total of $5,000 and each other position will receive $4,000 over the course of the season. Housing is provided. In *ONE* Word document/PDF named in the following format: Lastname-Firstname (e.g. Zenzal-TJ.pdf) please send letter of interest, resume, and names, phone numbers, and email addresses of 3 references to Dr. T.J. Zenzal, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 or by email (preferred): MBRGhiring(AT)gmail.com Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. The University of Southern Mississippi conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. -- T.J. Zenzal, Ph.D tjzenzal@gmail.com (217)-300-3095 Research Gate <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/TJ_Zenzal_Jr> Migratory Bird Research Group Department of Biological Sciences University of Southern Mississippi 118 College Drive Box 5018 Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 1102 S. Goodwin Ave. Urbana, IL 61801
  19. The Rufous-throated Dipper or Argentine Dipper (Cinclus schulzi) is an aquatic songbird found in South America, and is part of the dipper family. It is the subject of an article in the current issue of Waterbirds. The Rufous-throated Dipper lives along rapid rocky streams in the Andes in Bolivia and Argentina at 800 m to 2500 m in elevation. The bird breeds in the alder zone at 1500 metres to 2500 m in elevation. BirdLife International has classified this species as "Vulnerable". Threats included reservoir construction, hydroelectric dams, and irrigation schemes. The current population is estimated at 3,000 to 4,000 individuals. Nests and Nest Site Characteristics of Rufous-Throated Dipper (Cinclus schulzi) in Mountain Rivers of Northwestern Argentina. Patricia N. Sardina Aragón, Natalia Politi and Rubén M. Barquez. Waterbirds 38(3) : 315-320. http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1675/063.038.0301 The Rufous-throated Dipper (Cinclus schulzi) is an endemic and threatened bird that inhabits the mountain rivers of southern Yungas of Argentina and Bolivia. This is the rarest and least known species of the genus, in part because of its restricted distribution. The aim of this study was to describe the nests and nest sites of the Rufous-throated Dipper in mountain rivers of northwestern Argentina. Five rivers were surveyed in transects of 3 to 6 km long from 2010 to 2013. The shape, size, substrate and building material of nests and nest and non-nest characteristics were assessed and compared in plots of 2 by 2 m. Plots with nests were compared to non-nesting plots for a number of habitat characteristics. Most nests found (78.57%; n = 28) had a globular shape, were attached to rocky substrates and were built using moss. The height of nests above the water level (P = 0.02), slope (P = 0.03) and watercourse width (P
  20. Not too long ago, the United States president and the Congress evidenced some hostility towards scientific research. Federal officials who had no scientific credentials were found to have altered the recommendations of federal agency scientists. Limits were imposed on the ability of federal scientists to speak publicly and those who did so were often punished. Restrictions on attendance at scientific meetings were implemented. A federal rule allowed anyone, regardless of scientific qualifications, to challenge the scientific information upon which federal agencies relied. In short, science was dissed. And we all survived. After 21 Jan 2009, things got better in a lot of ways. Some members of Congress continued to pursue an anti-science agenda, both as to the use of science (particularly in the context of climate change) and the funding for scientific research, with the chair of the House Science Committee pushing legislation to force NSF to restrict funding to research "in the national interest," ridiculing specific grants, and assailing the peer review process. Overall, though, things got better. This time it feels different. More extreme. More permanent. Nuclear. It feels as though they are going to break it beyond repair. Prior to the inauguration, a request was made of DOE for the names of all climate change scientists. The request was withdrawn after public uproar but DOE scientists heard the message loud and clear. They have since backed up all their data on non-government computers outside the United States. The administration has instituted what it described as a temporary media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch. An internal email sent to staff at the USDA Agricultural Research Service unit this week called for a suspension of “public-facing documents,” including news releases and photos. The original email, sent Jan. 23, said: "Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content." The USDA later said that the e-mail was flawed and that new guidance would be issued to replace it. The ARS focuses on scientific research into the main issues facing agriculture, including long-term climate change. The nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget said on Facebook, "… do we really need government funded research at all." In his committee hearing, he was asked if he agreed that federal funding for science had promoted innovation. Mulvaney, who had since deleted the post from Facebook, agreed. And here we were worried about the nuclear codes.
  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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! In May 2017, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke took action that delayed the issuance of all planned FY 2017 grants and cooperative agreements in the amount of $100,000 or more. Now, as reported by the Washington Post, the Department of the Interior has issued a new policy that steers all grants to 10 priorities of the Administration. The policy instructs staff to ensure that awards to outside groups “promote the priorities” of the Trump administration. This politicization of grants follows that now in place at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has instituted a system requiring that a political appointee in the public affairs office sign off on each grant before it is awarded. Scott J. Cameron, Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, instructed other assistant secretaries and bureau and office heads to submit most grants and cooperative agreements for approval by one of his aides. Those include any award of at least $50,000 “to a non-profit organization that can legally engage in advocacy” or “to an institution of higher education.” These reviews are unrelated to the merit of the potential grant and worse, the Congress established and funded these programs for particular purposes. Re-directing them to fulfill political goals unrelated to those Congressional mandates may be illegal, according to former deputy secretary of the Interior David Hayes. He explained that under the Clinton and Obama administrations, "“... we recognized that government contract processes are complex, and that political interference would sully the integrity of contracting processes that applicants have a right to expect are governed with fairness, impartiality, and integrity as their guide.” The policy also threatened Interior employees who fail to comply. A sentence that is bolded as well as italicized warns that employees who defy the directive will be subject to even stricter oversight as a result. “Instances circumventing the Secretarial priorities or the review process will cause greater scrutiny and will result in slowing down the approval process for all awards.” Interior has already ordered the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to halt two studies that conflict with the administration’s goal of expanding domestic fossil fuel production. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources opined, "“This grant approval process looks like a backdoor way to stop funds going to legitimate scientific and environmental projects.” He added, “Using the federal grant process to punish scientists doing important work because they disagree with that philosophy is unacceptable, and there’s good reason to think that’s what’s really happening here.” View attachment: Interior-guidance-for-fiscal-2018-grants.pdf View attachment: InteriorGrantPriorities2018.pdf
  22. Please visit the new and improved BIRDNET. We continue to add new resources and update information. Added today: an important animal welfare document for wildlife biologists and their IACUCS And a downloadable Pennsyvlania permit application.
  23. Ellen Paul

    Kimberly Gray Smith, 1948- 2018

    Kimberly Gray Smith, 69, passed away in Fayetteville April 9, 2018. He was born July 19, 1948, in Manchester, Connecticut, to Robert H. and Janet (Simon) Smith. He was third of 5 children. He is survived by siblings Holiday Houck, Robert H. Smith, Jr., Wendelin J. Smith, Bradford S. Smith, their spouses and many nieces and nephews. Kim and his wife Peggy J. (Jones), of the home, were married 45 years (since 1972). Their daughter, Mallory and husband Sheldon Steinert of Fayetteville are parents of Erowyn, Simon, Laura, and Kara. Kim, as Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at UA-Fayetteville, pursued research in various areas of terrestrial ecology. His interests ranged widely from black bears to birds to bugs. His formal education took him from Kimball Union Academy (prep school) in New Hampshire to undergraduate studies at Tufts University (B.S. 1971). He received advanced degrees from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (M.S. 1975) and Utah State University (Ph.D. 1982). Kim was a post-graduate research ecologist at Bodega Marine Lab, UC Berkley (1980-1981). He also served as Research Associate at Manomet Bird Observatory (1977-1980). Kim began his professional teaching and research career at UA-Fayetteville in fall 1981. He attained status as University Professor of Biological Sciences (2009) and Distinguished Professor (2015). During his career he was Departmental Chair of Biological Sciences (2004-2008) and a highly productive researcher and collaborator, with approximately 300 professional publications. Kim was a committed educator and nurtured students at various stages of career preparation and development, including 8 post-doctoral research associates, 23 doctoral students, 36 masters students, and many undergraduate honors students. Kim was deeply involved in numerous professional organizations in a variety of roles: officer, editor, meeting organizer, etc. He served as Editor in Chief of The Auk (2000-2004), the primary scientific journal of what is now the American Ornithological Society. In lieu of flowers, the family invites contributions to causes and activities valued by Kim. Specifics about contributions, as well as a celebration of Kim’s life will be announced on a future date. Kim presented a retirement seminar in the Department of Biological Sciences on April 5, just 4 days before his death. He entertained a packed room with an often humorous summary of his life and career, “Life in the Fast Lane: My Life as a Community Ecologist.” He ended his seminar with some advice to younger colleagues: “Be curious, be creative, challenge yourself to learn new things, learn the history of things that interest you, take students on field trips, take students abroad,” and finally, “have fun doing what you do … I did …” Cremation arrangements by Beard’s Funeral Chapel.
  24. If you need an permit, the time to apply is...NOW! Do you need one? More than one? What should you do to make the process go quickly and smoothly? This information is 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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! Your advisor has signed off on your research proposal. You’ve got your funding. Your IACUC has approved your protocols. What stands between you and your field work is a permit. Maybe two or more permits (don't forget state permits!). There are a number of things that you can do to make sure you get your Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, and state permits in time to get your field work underway. It can take up to 90 days to obtain a permit - longer if the permit examiner has questions or concerns. And, if you are applying to work on an endangered species, allow six months because the law requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on all permits to "take" all species listed as endangered (but not threatened); that notice-and-comment process can take in excess of six months. If you have questions or need help with permits, contact the Ornithological Council. Check the new BIRDNET for info on permits, including best practices. Your society membership allows your society to support the Ornithological Council and to provide this valuable service to you. Don't forget your state permits. Most states use the term "scientific collecting" to mean any research activity that involves capture and handling. Don't assume that because your research does not involve lethal take, you don't need a scientific collecting permit. In most states, you will need a state permit, although one or two states have some exceptions for banding permits. Need gear? If you buy your banding supplies from the Association of Field Ornithologists, 100% of the profits will support student research. AFO members receive a 10% discount. Society membership has its rewards! Some other helpful hints: Don't assume that you know if a species is protected. The MBTA list includes over 1,000 bird species. In the United States, 80 bird species are listed as endangered and 21 are listed as threatened. Another 214 foreign species are listed as endangered and 17 are listed as threatened. Status changes and some species are listed in only some places. ALWAYS CHECK THE MBTA AND ESA LISTS. You can collect blood and feather samples under a banding permit ONLY if the permit expressly authorizes this activity and ONLY if you are also marking the bird. If you are not marking the bird, you must have a scientific collecting permit. If you wish to collect blood and feather samples under your banding permit, you must request that authority when you file your application. It is not automatically allowed under a banding permit. Yes! You do need a federal scientific collecting permit for every activity that involves capture or handling of a bird protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act other than capture and marking with bands, radio-transmitters, geolocators, patagial tags, neck rings, or other auxiliary markers that are approved by the USGS Bird Banding Lab. If you intend to implant a transmitter (other than subcutaneously), you will need a scientific collecting permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and most state agencies use the term "scientific collecting" to encompass all research activities, unlike scientists, for whom that term connotes permanent removal of an animal from the wild. Apply early! No later than mid-March for a summer field season, and earlier if possible. The permit offices are short-staffed and facing an ever-increasing workload. Remember, yours is not the only permit application they will handle. Besides all the other ornithologists who are submitting applications, they also have to handle applications for rehabilitation, falconry, raptor propagation, taxidermy, and a number of special purpose permits. In 2002, the USFWS conducted a workload analysis. The regional staff (at that time, Region 8 did not exist) were processing about 12,000 permits per year. In the subsequent 10 years, the level of staffing has not increased but the workload has. Although the permit application states that you should allow 60 – 90 days for processing, it might take more time if the permit examiner has questions or if you have to submit additional information. This is particularly true if you are planning to work in more than one region. You will apply in the region that includes the state where you reside or attend school, but that regional office will consult with the regional offices that cover the other places where you plan to work, and that consultation will take time. And, of course, because workflow varies, your permit application might be one of an unusually large number of applications that arrive over a short period of time. The absence of an examiner, planned or otherwise, can cause a back-up. If your permit is delayed for any reason, you and the permit examiner will both be in the frustrating position of having to rush to get the permit in time. If you apply early, these problems are less likely to result in your not having your permit when you need it. If you are planning to start your work in mid-May, for instance, try to apply by mid-January. Make your requests clear and simple. State exactly what you are seeking permission to do before you go into more detail about the project. Example: I plan to conduct a study of the impact of rodenticides on Barn Owl reproduction. To do this, I will: locate the nest holes of up to 100 Barn Owls and place cameras inside the nest holes; use the camera to monitor the number of eggs laid and the number hatched; take blood samples from not more than 150 hatchlings until the last bird fledges or dies; use the camera to determine the number and frequency of feedings; periodically check the nest hole to obtain pellets I will compare the results from 50 nests in an area known to be free of rodenticides to those of 50 nests in an area where rodenticide use is known and documented. [*]If you have more than one project planned, it will help to include a table that lists the species, number of birds, type of activity, and location. If your permit will cover more than one project, describe the projects in a numbered list and key each line in the table to the project description. Example: We seek authority for the following activities: Species Number Activity Location Project description Common Loon (Gavia immer) up to 250 Collect nonviable eggs and broken shells Maine, Vermont, New York 1 All passerines unlimited Collect (salvage) birds found dead All states 2 Barn Owl (Tyto alba), Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), Barred Owl (Strix varia) up to 50 of each Obtain crop samples Pennsylvania 3 Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana up to 35 per year Collect live birds Arizona 4 Make sure the numbers in the table match the number of birds in the project description. [*]Remember that for MBTA permits, you are allowed by law to continue the permitted activities if you have applied for renewal at least 30 days prior to the expiration date (and the permit has not been revoked or suspended). You can avoid worrying about receiving your renewed permit if you remember to apply at least 30 days before the current permit expires. So do not worry that if you apply early, your permit will expire before you can complete your work. Just be sure to get your renewal application at least 30 days before the current permit expires and you can continue your work. However, please note that the expired permit does not authorize any new projects that might be included in your renewal application. You must have the renewed permit in hand before you can begin any new projects that were not listed on the expired permit. [*]Do all you can to be sure your permit covers all the activities that your research project will entail. Having to apply for amendments just increases the workload - including your workload, and your expenses - and slows things down for you and everyone else . For instance, do you anticipate bringing birds into captivity to study in the lab? Be sure you state what you plan to do with the birds when the research is completed. If you don’t plan to release them (or your IACUC won’t approve a protocol that entails release) make sure the permit application asks for authority to keep the birds after the research is completed, or give the birds to a zoo, other researcher, or euthanize the birds and give the carcasses to a museum or teaching collection. [*]If you plan to work on federal land (such as National Wildlife Refuges, national parks, Forest Service or BLM property), check these guides: http://www.nmnh.si.e...rmit/index.html [*]·Under some circumstances, you may need to contact the USFWS to determine if you need an ESA permit, even if you are not studying an ESA species. The USFWS has no official policy at this time. The OC has asked the USFWS to issue formal guidance but in the meanwhile, err on the side of caution. If you will use non-selective capture techniques ( such as mist nets or rocket nets, for instance) or using other techniques such as predator playback or nest searching in an area where a federally-listed species is known to occur and within the habitats where it occurs, then you should communicate with the endangered Species office. They will determine if you will need an endangered species “Section 10” (incidental take) permit. This would be true for all endangered Species, not just listed bird species. If the endangered Species office determines that your activity is not likely to impact a listed species in the project area, then you should obtain a written determination for your records. It is advisable to contact the endangered Species office before applying for a Section 10 permit; provide as much detail as possible about your project so they can make this determination. Finally - READ YOUR PERMITS WHEN YOU RECEIVE THEM! Make sure they allow you to do what you need to do. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions.
  25. 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 Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! On 24 January 2018, the Ornithological Council (OC) submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Department of the Interior, asking that the USFWS re-write its regulations pertaining to the Airborne Hunting Act. Earlier in the month, OC asked the Office of the Solicitor to advise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), other federal agencies, and the state agencies that this activity is not subject to the Airborne Hunting Act. OC also asked that if the Solicitor determines that the use of drones to study wildlife is subject to the AHA, that the Solicitor address the need for permits, and specifically federal permits, given the lack of state laws pertaining to drone use for wildlife research and monitoring. In support of that request, OC submitted the entire legislative history of the AHA, a comprehensive review of the state laws pertaining to drones, and a critical literature review. The requested rulemaking is needed because under current regulations, the USFWS actually prohibits itself from issuing permits under the AHA, except in very limited circumstances. It was thought in 1972 (when the AHA was enacted) that the states would develop their own airborne hunting regulations. Most have done so but those laws pertain only to actual hunting and only to game species;. Some states reiterate the exemption language of the AHA regulations but, as explained below, that exemption is unclear at best as to scientific research and monitoring generally. More specifically, it is not clear if the exemption is limited to state and federal agencies and their contractors. Only a few states allow use of drones for research and monitoring to some extent. Therefore, if the Solicitor determines that the use of drones for wildlife research is covered by the AHA, permits would be needed and a single federal permit would be far more efficient and practical than waiting for dozens of states to promulgate their own statutes and regulations, particularly in the case of states that already have statutory restrictions on drone use that would have to be amended. It would also allow researchers to obtain a single permit for research and monitoring to take place in more than one state. The petition asked that the USFWS issue permits for SUA use for ornithological study under existing MBTA regulations rather than establishing a new permit, which would be time-consuming. Obviously, such a permit would be needed for other taxa but allowing the use of MBTA permits for ornithological research would avert that delay. NOTE: The critical literature review has been published as an addendum to Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research and is now available on the new OC website. If you are writing your animal care protocol, it should be very helpful to you and your IACUC. More background, for those who want to know... The AHA originated with a 1969 television documentary about airborne hunting of wolves in Alaska. In response to the ensuing public outcry, two congressmen sponsored legislation to ban the practice of hunting from aircraft. The legislation was intended to address hunting and nothing other than hunting. As is the ordinary practice in the legislative process, federal agencies with an interest in the subject were consulted. The Department of the Interior (DOI) raised concerns that the statute might prohibit scientific research. In response to that concern, the language of the bill was revised to include an exemption for persons operating under a license or permit of, any State or the United States to administer or protect or aid in the administration or protection of land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops. As the legislative history (below) makes clear, this exemption addressed DOI’s concern that the language of the bill as introduced might prohibit research by private universities, institutions, and foundations. At the first hearing on H.R. 15188, Leslie Glasgow (then Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife, Parks, and Natural Resources) voiced the objection of the Department of the Interior to enactment of the several bills introduced to prohibit airborne hunting. He explained: Among are objections are the scope of their language and their form as an amendment to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956. Though we do not anticipate that enactment would hamper the conduct of most airborne research activity undertaken by employees of the States or Federal Government, such research by a private university, institution, or foundation would be curtailed. However, the bill does not clearly exempt governmental employees engaged in duties other than those associated with the administration or protection of land, water, or wildlife (16 March 1970 hearing, p. 23). That the statute does not prohibit the use of aircraft for research activities is unequivocally supported by the statement of co-sponsor of H.R. 15188, Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI) when the original legislation came to the House floor in 1970: Mr. Speaker, the substantive objections to this legislation have been met. It will not prohibit research by university or other personnel. It is flexible enough to allow either State or Federal authorities to issue permits which will exempt persons from the prohibitions provided for in the bill (116 Cong. Rec. 40205; 7 December 1970). Unfortunately, the actual language of the bill, as enacted, failed to express that clear intent to exempt non-governmental scientific research from the statutory prohibitions. The definitions failed to stated that “administer[ing] or protect[ing] or aid[ing] in the administration or protection of land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops” was intended to include scientific research and monitoring. The lack of specificity in the statutory language has resulted in uncertainty as to the application of the exemption to research and monitoring. Given this uncertainty, many state wildlife agencies and FWS officials seem to err on the side of caution and determine that aircraft (manned or unmanned) can be used only by state agencies or contractors of state agencies.