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    1. 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
      • 882 views
    2. Gearing up for field season - get your permit apps in early

      Author: Ornithological Council

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

      URGENT NEWS FOR THOSE NEEDING PERMITS FROM USFWS REGION 8: This information was received by the Ornithological Council on 23 Jan 2020:

      Our office is currently very short-staffed and is experiencing a backlog of one year with processing permits and mail.

      Do not follow up with a hard copy unless asked to do so or if you are sending a processing fee through the mail.  The only way we can accept processing fees is with a hard copy check or money order payable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

      Reports – if you are submitting a report, no further action is needed.

      Applications – if you are submitting an application.  No further action is needed; however, we do recommend following up with our office if you have not heard from us after 6 months.

      Questions – if you have a question, a response may require research and time.  We appreciate your patience and will respond to your inquiry at our earliest opportunity.

       

      • 0 comments
      • 4,961 views
    3. 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
      • 375 views
    4. 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
      • 1,163 views
    5. DOI green lights preventable mass avian mortality

      Author: Ornithological Council

      It's official. No more prosecutions for incidental take of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The *(&)*& Admin wastes 41 pages explaining why it won't do what it was never going to do anyway...only a matter of time before they deny that this mortality even occurs.

       

      Update 29 Dec - Federal appellate court (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) ruled on 27 Dec 2017 in a case pertaining to incidental take of endangered sea turtles and migratory birds by long lining in the swordfish industry that the MBTA *is* a strict liability statute - in other words, that it would apply to incidental take. The score now stands 3-3 as to the federal appellate courts but none of this affects the new DOI policy, which simply means that the Administration will file no new cases pertaining to incidental take. It is hoped that the DOI will not ask the Supreme Court to review this case.

      • 0 comments
      • 5,013 views
    6. That time of year again: The Annual Ornithological Council Pledge Break

      What is the Ornithological Council and why should you support it?

       

      The Ornithological Council is a great resource for ornithologists. We help researchers navigate the permit maze, address animal welfare concerns, publish the peer-reviewed Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. The Ornithological Council is the voice of scientific ornithology. Learn more here!

       

      When you join a society or renew your OSNA membership via Membersuite (2019 renewal notices will go out October 8), please remember the OC. Visit the donations page to make a contribution.

      • 0 comments
      • 8,104 views
    7. AOU and COS agree to pursue merger

      Leaders of the AOU and COS formally approved pursuit of a merger of the two organizations at their annual meeting in Norman, Oklahoma. Both societies will be seeking input from their members as they take the necessary steps in this pursuit.

       

       

      UPDATE: 22 Dec 2015: Compilation of responses from members.

       

      UPDATE: 22 Sept 2015: AOU and COS leadership respond to inquiries from past COS presidents. Posted in the comments, below, with permission from the authors.

       

       

      UPDATE 14 Oct 2015: Society leadership reaches out to membership. See request for input below, under main article.

      • 4 comments
      • 3,575 views
    8. Reminder! Model protocol form for wildlife research now available

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Ornithological Council and American Society of Mammalogists develop model protocol form for wildlife research...released in beta for feedback from researchers, animal care and use committee members, institutional officials, and others, this form is designed specifically for wildlife research conducted either in the field or in captivity. First question: Is this protocol even required?

       

      MAJOR UPDATE AUGUST 2017: This August 2017 update incorporates important changes resulting from a Memorandum of Agreement between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) of the National Institutes of Health that calls for OLAW to oversee animal welfare compliance for NSF-funded research. To help IACUCs and researchers determine how the two animal welfare laws apply to wildlife research conducted in the U.S. (or outside the U.S. with funding from U.S. funding agencies), we have incorporated a comprehensive explanation that has been reviewed and approved by both OLAW and NSF. That statement, which was reviewed and approved by both OLAW and NSF, is found in Appendix B.

       

      Update August 2016: Error in discussion of pain and suffering categories (Attachment A) has been corrected.

      • 0 comments
      • 1,735 views
    9. Importing avian material? Critical new information

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Don't lose your research specimens for failure to comply with import requirements! A new automated system implemented by Customs and Border Protection is mandatory and it is a big, big challenge. Read this article to learn about this system and how to deal with this hurdle.

       

      UPDATE 15 AUGUST 2016: SEE THE INFO SHEET PREPARED BY CBP FOR SMALL COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS. DON'T FORGET THAT CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WILL HOLD A WEBINAR FOR OUR COMMUNITY IN EARLY JANUARY 2017. NOTICES WILL BE POSTED HERE AND ON AVECOLS AND NHCOLL LISTSERVES.

      • 0 comments
      • 3,441 views
    10. OC 2016 Small Grants Call for Proposals / Solicitud de Propuestas

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The Ornithological Council is pleased to call for proposals for the 2016 round of grants to be made under the OC Small Grants Program.
      El Consejo Ornitologíco se complace en la convocatoria de propuestas para el 2016 ronda de subvenciones que se harán en el marco del Programa de Pequeñas Subvenciones del OC.

       

      We are now ready to accept proposals via the online submission page. Please be sure to read the Call for Proposals before submitting.

       

      Ahora estamos listos para aceptar propuestas a través de la página de presentación en línea . Por favor
      asegúrese de leer la convocatoria de propuestas antes de enviar .

      • 0 comments
      • 13,229 views
    11. OC 2014 Small Grants Call for Proposals / Solicitud de Propuestas

      Author: Ellen Paul

      The Ornithological Council is pleased to call for proposals for the 2014 round of grants to be made under the OC Small Grants Program.

      El Consejo Ornitologíco se complace en la convocatoria de propuestas para el 2014 ronda de subvenciones que se harán en el marco del Programa de Pequeñas Subvenciones del OC.

      • 1 comment
      • 10,594 views
    12. USFWS to issue programmatic environmental impact statement on incidental take of MBTA species

      Author: Ornithological Council

      USFWS takes first step towards possible regulation of incidental take of bird species protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act: will prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement

       

      Full text of the notice and instructions for comments are here.

      • 2 comments
      • 4,419 views
    13. Ornithological Council and other societies petition Dept. of Interior for fix to CITES problem

      Scientists exercise First Amendment right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances!

      • 1 comment
      • 2,574 views
    14. Editor's Choice: Waterbirds

      Author: Stephanie Jones

      African waterbirds on intensively used and managed waterbodies - how their distribution and abundance informs ecosystem management.

      • 0 comments
      • 2,168 views
    15. Could the days of free bird bands be coming to an end?

      For decades, the USGS Bird Banding Lab has issued fee-free permits and free bands. Could this be about to change?

      • 0 comments
      • 2,896 views
    16. MBTA Permits: Practical suggestions for the ornithologist

      Author: Ellen Paul

      If you need an MBTA permit, the time to apply is...NOW! Do you need one? What should you do to make the process go quickly and smoothly?

      • 0 comments
      • 6,352 views
    17. New model protocol form for wildlife research now available

      Author: Ellen Paul

      Ornithological Council and American Society of Mammalogists develop model protocol form for wildlife research...released in beta for feedback from researchers, animal care and use committee members, institutional officials, and others, this form is designed specifically for wildlife research conducted either in the field or in captivity. First question: Is this protocol even required?

       

      UPDATE 13 Feb 2014: Slightly modified document; changes made in response to comments from the staff of the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Note that OLAW will hold a webinar about this model protocol on 20 March 2014 at 12:30 Eastern. Be sure to notify your IACUC members!

      • 0 comments
      • 3,197 views
    18. New DOI Policy steers grants to Administration priorities

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Ornithologists who want Dept of interior grants may want to consider digging for oil. Dept of Interior grants are now subject to political scrutiny and will be used only to fund Admin-friendly projects.

      • 0 comments
      • 1,204 views
    19. Thinking of using SUA to study birds in the U.S.? Read this first!

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The Airborne Hunting Act applies to "any contrivance used for flight in the air" and prohibits "harassment" which is defined as "disturb, worry, molest, rally, concentrate, harry, chase, drive, herd, or torment." Does this mean that ornithologists can't use small unmanned aircraft (SUA) to study birds? IF YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR A STATE PERMIT TO USE DRONES (A STAND-ALONE PERMIT OR AS PART OF YOUR STATE SCIENTIFIC COLLECTING PERMIT, PLEASE CONTACT THE ORNITHOLOGICAL COUNCIL. We want to hear about your experience, particularly if you were NOT working collaboratively with a state or federal agency. UPDATE 27 March 2018: A PowerPoint explaining all U.S. laws that pertain to the use of drones to study wildlife has been posted on BIRDNET.

      UPDATE JAN 2019: AS A RESULT OF THE ORNITHOLOGICAL COUNCIL'S EFFORTS, THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE WILL BE ISSUING A NEW REGULATION  - PROBABLY IN THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2019 - TO ALLOW THE USE OF DRONES TO STUDY BIRDS. Of course, as the shutdown drags on, the work needed to develop this new regulation will be delayed.

       

      • 0 comments
      • 7,092 views
    20. BIRDNET- new, improved...and essential for ornithologists

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Announcing the new and improved BIRDNET. Lots of great, updated content and key resources for ornithologists Come visit!

      • 0 comments
      • 2,632 views
    21. USDA to move forward with bird regulations and reporting requirements for field studies

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Could new Animal Welfare policies and additional burdens be on the horizon?

      • 0 comments
      • 2,067 views
    22. 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
      • 1,860 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
      • 1,001 views
    24. 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
      • 1,847 views
    25. 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
      • 5,380 views
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