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    1. Get ready for field season – apply now for your permits!

      Author: Laura Bies

      Field season is right around the corner! If you haven't already applied for your permits/renewals, do it ASAP.

      • 1 comment
      • 403 views
    2. APHIS releases final guidance on field studies

      Author: Laura Bies

      The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a policy document, “Research Involving Free-living Wild Species In Their Natural Habitat," to provide guidance regarding field studies and the Animal Welfare Act. 

      • 0 comments
      • 896 views
    3. The Ornithological Council releases another update to its Import Guide

      Author: Laura Bies

      The OC has released an updated version of its Import Guide, a key resources for those importing, exporting, or transporting ornithological samples and specimens.  

      • 0 comments
      • 41 views
    4. USDA releases proposed animal welfare regulation for birds

      Author: Laura Bies

      USDA APHIS has released for public comment new regulations that would establish standards governing the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of birds not bred for research under the Animal Welfare Act.

      • 0 comments
      • 595 views
    5. The Ornithological Council and partners, including the National Academies, to hold workshop on the unique welfare challenges of wildlife research

      Author: Laura Bies

      The Ornithological Council is working with partners, including the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research within the National Academies, to hold a virtual workshop about animal welfare and wildlife research. 

      • 0 comments
      • 1,750 views
    6. USFWS finalizes revocation of MBTA incidental take rule, asks for comments on new permit system

      Author: Laura Bies

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the final rule officially revoking the Trump administration’s regulation that interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as only applying to intentional killing of birds

      • 0 comments
      • 635 views
    7. Important message from BirdsCaribbean re: St Vincent Parrot

      Most of you have probably heard about the explosive eruptions of La Soufriere Volcano on St. Vincent. They began on April 9th and have continued almost daily. The dome collapsed on April 12th and pyroclastic flows began. The volcano is decimating nearby towns, agriculture, and rivers, and has blanketed the entire country in ash.  BirdsCaribbean has launched a crowd funding page to raise money to assist with rescue and rehab of the St Vincent Parrot. Read more on the site: bit.ly/Volcano-Relief-StVincent-Parrot 
       

      • 0 comments
      • 618 views
    8. Get ready for field season - apply now for your permits!

      Author: Laura Bies

      Field season is right around the corner! If you haven't already applied for your permits/renewals, do it ASAP.

      • 0 comments
      • 1,160 views
    9. The Ornithological Council is updating the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research - and we need your help!

      Author: Laura Bies

      The Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research, published by the Ornithological Council, is a resource reference used by the federal animal welfare agencies and your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. Help the Ornithological Council keep it current!

      • 0 comments
      • 6,504 views
    10. USFWS launches new online permit system

      Author: Laura Bies

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today launched a new online permit system that will allow applicants to submit, pay for, and track their permit applications online. 

      • 0 comments
      • 1,635 views
    11. APHIS accepting comments on field study definition

      Author: Laura Bies

      USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a proposed policy document, “Research Involving Free-living Wild Species In Their Natural Habitat,” to assist research institutions in determining whether an activity involving free-living wild animals in their natural habitat meets the regulatory definition of “field study.” The proposed policy describes criteria that research facilities could use to identify activities that are invasive, harmful, or that materially alter animal behavior. 

      • 0 comments
      • 1,150 views
    12. USFWS Draft Environmental Statement on MBTA incidental take rule published

      Author: Laura Bies, Executive Director, Ornithological Council

      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.

      Late last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing their proposed rule to limit the reach of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by exempting incidental take (or unintentional killing or harming) of birds.

      The Service announced their proposed rule in January, in an attempt to provide more regulatory certainty to public, industries, states, tribes and other stakeholders. This DEIS assesses the possible effects of their proposed rule, as well as two other possible actions - or alternatives - on migratory birds, other environmental resources, and the economy.

      Read more....

      • 0 comments
      • 2,565 views
    13. USFWS proposes formal MBTA incidental take rule

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Update: Read the comments filed by the Ornithological Council.

      Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing a rule that defines the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to provide regulatory certainty to the public, industries, states, tribes and other stakeholders.

      This proposed rule clarifies that the scope of the MBTA only extends to conduct intentionally injuring birds. Conduct that results in the unintentional (incidental) injury or death of migratory birds is not prohibited under the act.

      Background: the USFWS under this Administration developed a policy known as an M-Opinion, which is internal agency policy, stating that the law does not prohibit incidental take of migratory bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

      The policy has been in litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for some time and is still pending. It is unlikely to be adjudicated before June of this year and any decision will be appealed.

      Throughout this time, the USFWS has stated that it intends to promulgate a formal regulation. Doing so would obviate one of the key aspects of the legal challenge - that there was no opportunity for public input. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, public input is required when a formal regulation is proposed.

       

       

      • 0 comments
      • 1,787 views
    14. Farewell to Bruce Peterjohn, BBL Chief

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Please join the Ornithological Council in saying farewell to Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the USGS Bird Banding Lab, who has announced his retirement.  We thank him for his superb service to the ornithological community and to the science and practice of bird banding, through both his excellent management of the BBL under very trying circumstances and for his own contributions as a long-time bander.

      • 0 comments
      • 1,527 views
    15. USFWS permit apps NOW ONLINE

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The Ornithological Council has been encouraging the USFWS to develop an online permitting system since 2002 and congratulates the agency on reaching this important junction - online permit applications. We encourage everyone to register; if you encounter any problems or questions, please let us know and we will relay them to the USFWS.

      To apply for permits through the Service’s new payment platform, visit: https://epermits.fws.gov/. For more information regarding the permitting process, visit: https://www.fws.gov/permits/.

       

      • 0 comments
      • 1,995 views
    16. BirdsCaribbean and the Bahamas National Trust need our help!

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Please help BirdsCaribbean and the Bahamas National Trust to help birds survive, and clean up and restore vital habitats. They need funds to carry out bird surveys, provide supplemental feeding, repair and replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, and restore their national parks on these islands.. 

      • 0 comments
      • 925 views
    17. Please write to protest 100% budget cut to U of Alaska Museum

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Update: the situation has improved to some extent. The museum is now facing "only" a 50% budget cuts. Meanwhile, the governor is still considering legislation that would restore most of the governor's drastic budget cuts. A veto has been expected but given that it has not yet happened, and given the enormous outcry at the cuts, it is possible that some funding, including funding for the museum, may be restored. More detailed info provided by UA Curator of Birds, in his blog.

      The curator of the bird collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North alerted the ornithological community to the increasingly dire situation at that museum, after Alaska Governor Dunleavy announced a 41% budget cut to the university (including the museum). That was phase one (the current fiscal year) of the bloodletting.

      On Friday, 26 July 2019, the governor proposed a phase two for the next fiscal year that would completely cut the state appropriation to the museum and to all of the university’s annual investments in research.

      Obviously, these drastic cuts would cripple the bird collection or even shut it down entirely.

      Details in the full article.

      RWD-BK-and-DDG-2005.jpg

       

      • 0 comments
      • 691 views
    18. USDA increases suppression of scientific information

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now added to existing restraints on the suppression of scientific research conducted and published by scientists employed by the U.S. government.

      UPDATE 14 May 2019: Per the Washington Post (10 May) "The Agriculture Department has dropped its demand that staff scientists label peer-reviewed research as “preliminary,” after angry protests followed a Washington Post story disclosing the policy." See more details, below.

       

      • 0 comments
      • 2,679 views
    19. MBTA permits and the shutdown

      Author: Ornithological Council

      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.

      Under federal regulation, you are authorized to continue doing the work for which you have been issued an MBTA permit after that permit expires IF you have applied for renewal at least 30 days prior to the permit expiration date. Continue reading for important detail.

      Update 30 Jan 2019 on BIRD BANDING PERMITS: We are advised by the BBL that the backlog of work awaiting them upon return from the shutdown return is daunting. Permit renewals were the #1 priority for the BBL permit office. The BBL staff has completed that task for the permits that expired in December/January and should have the February permits (that we have received) renewed before the end of the week. Any bander with a permit that expires in February or March should request renewal before Feb. 15 in case of a second shutdown. The BBL is turning our attention to the other permit related requests and will plow through that backlog as fast as week can, prioritizing those banding activities that are planned to start within the next month or so. They should be caught up with the band order requests by early next week. Operationally, the banding community should not experience many problems for ongoing operations as a result of the shutdown. They should be caught up before the activities for the 2019 field season crank up in May/June unless they experience another shutdown in mid-February.

       

       

      • 0 comments
      • 2,351 views
    20. OC to ask DOI to exempt MBTA permits program from shutdown

      Author: Ellen Paul

      The MBTA permits program has a funding source independent of federal appropriations and should be exempted from the shutdown.

      • 0 comments
      • 841 views
    21. MBTA incidental take situation worsens; formal regulation to be proposed

      Author: Ornithological Council

      UPDATE JULY 2019:

      The draft regulation that would codify the "Jorjani M-Opinion" stating that the MBTA dos not cover incidental take was apparently been circulated in early July to other federal agencies for comment. This is a standard process for pending regulations pertaining to matters that impact those agencies, or for which those agencies have shared legal authority (which is the case with most natural resource laws). The agencies were given only 15 days to respond, which is an incredibly short period of time - far shorter than is the norm.

      It is not known if the draft was also circulated to the state agencies (also standard practice; the states share responsibility and authority for protection of migratory birds). The OC is attempting to ascertain if the state agencies have been asked for their input yet. It is anticipated that the USFWS will face substantial push-back from the states, or many of them. In fact, one of the two lawsuits against the underlying M-Opinion was filed by a group of State Attorneys General. Both lawsuits - the case filed by the states and another filed by a group of NGOs - are still pending in the Southern District of New York. It was thought that the USFWS would not publish the proposed regulation for public comment until that case was resolved because if the decision is unfavorable to the USFWS (i.e., strikes down the M-Opinion), the new regulation would either be moot in its entirety or perhaps have to be re-written in accordance with the court decision.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      • 1 comment
      • 5,772 views
    22. Ornithological Council seeking papers that assess impact of study techniques

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The  Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research, published by the Ornithological Council, is considered a resource reference by the federal animal welfare agencies and your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. Help usmailto:ellen.paul@verizon.net to keep it current by making sure we know about your methods papers!

      • 0 comments
      • 2,139 views
    23. Senate ratification of migratory bird treaty - it was so much easier back then

      Author: Ornithological Council

      On 29 August 1916, the U.S. Senate ratified the migratory bird treaty with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the protection of migratory birds in Canada and the U.S.

       

      • 0 comments
      • 1,227 views
    24. Is the ESA doomed?

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Is the Endangered Species Act endangered? GOP committee leadership getting ready to move a big new bill ...

      Update 23 July 2018: 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 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.

      • 0 comments
      • 2,114 views
    25. New California permitting regulations issued

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Working in California? The new scientific collecting permit regulations have been published. Here's what you need to know.

      • 0 comments
      • 1,672 views
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