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  • 109 articles in this category

    1. 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.

       

       

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    2. 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.

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    3. MBTA incidental take situation worsens; formal regulation to be proposed

      Author: Ornithological Council

      For months, it has been rumored that the USFWS would propose a formal regulation stating that the MBTA does not cover incidental take.

      Well, rumor no more.

      The USFWS is about to propose a formal regulation to codify its current position that incidental take is not covered. In the fall semi-annual regulatory agenda published on 17 October 2018, the USFWS list of regulatory matters included this entry:

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish regulations that define the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA or Act) as it applies to conduct resulting in the injury or death of migratory birds protected by the Act.  This rule would codify the legal opinion in the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Opinion M-37050 that incidental take resulting from an otherwise lawful activity is not prohibited under the MBTA. 

       

       

       

       

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    4. 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!

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    5. 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.

       

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    6. 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.

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    7. 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.

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      • 827 views
    8. 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?

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      • 1,664 views
    9. 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!

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      • 2,078 views
    10. 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.

       

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    11. 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.

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    12. 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.

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    13. Serious threat to Migratory Bird Treaty Act

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The oil and gas industries and others would have a complete pass for the incidental take of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act should the SECURE American Energy Act (H.R. 4239) become law.

       

      SEC. 207. CLARIFICATION REGARDING LIABILITY UNDER MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT. Section 6 of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 707) is amended by adding at the end of the following: ‘‘(e) This Act shall not be construed to prohibit any activity proscribed by section 2 of this Act that is accidental or incidental to the presence or operation of an otherwise lawful activity.’’.

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    14. YOU DID IT! TUITION REMISSION WILL NOT BE TAXED!

      Author: Ornithological Council

      GOOD NEWS: From the Chronicle on Higher Education, 12/14:

       

      A legislative provision that would have effectively taxed tuition waivers used by graduate students to offset their educational costs will not be in the final tax package in Congress, Bloomberg reports. A House-Senate conference committee met on Wednesday to discuss the compromise bill, which Republican leaders hope to put on President Trump’s desk as soon as possible.

       

      From Inside Higher Ed:
      Senate and House negotiators meeting this week to craft compromise tax-reform legislation plan to exclude from a final bill some controversial proposals affecting students and colleges, according to multiple reports.
      Lawmakers from the two chambers of Congress agreed to drop provisions that would treat graduate student tuition benefits as taxable income and repeal student loan interest deductions. Both provisions were included in House tax legislation passed last month but left out of a bill that narrowly cleared the Senate Dec. 2.

       

      Also said to be OUT OF THE FINAL BILL: the elimination of student loan interest deductions

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    15. Endangered Species Act legislation moving through House

      Author: Ornithological Council

      The GOP-led House of Representatives is leading attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Get ready to contact your members of Congress.

       

       

       

      UPDATE 29 Sept: Another anti-ESA bill has been introduced. Read more here.

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    16. International Ornithological Congress 2018

      Author: Pat Baird

      One year till the International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver Canada.

       

      Short video highlighting what's coming. Access the website at www.IOCongress2018.com

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      • 1,243 views
    17. BirdsCaribbean Hurricane Relief Fund

      Please help BirdsCaribbean help its members and partners throughout the Caribbean to restore the birds, their habitats and the local communities. By acting today you can help ensure immediate needs will be met and conservation and science will guide the recovery efforts.

       

       

       

      https://www.razoo.com/story/Birdscaribbean-Hurricane-Relief

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      • 1,872 views
    18. Are you a concerned scientist? Read this ASAP (deadline 9/26)

      World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice

       

      If you are a scientist from any scientific discipline (e.g. ecology, medicine, economics, etc.), and are concerned about global environmental and climate trends, we invite you to become a co-signatory for our in-press Viewpoint article in the journal Bioscience entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice” by Ripple et. al. (2017). In doing so, you will be included in the full list of co-signatories in the article’s online supplemental material.

       

      Over 13,000 scientists have signed the letter. If you'd like to add your name, be sure to do by 9/26.

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    19. Numerous bird-related regulations appear to be extinct

      Author: Ornithological Council

      It is no secret that the current U.S. administration has great disdain for regulations. It now looks as though several bird-related regulations - including some that would have affected ornithological research - are now on the scrap heap. Gone are pending regulations on CITES, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Animal Welfare Act. The bird banding regulatory revisions have been consigned to the long-term action list. Updates to the Wild Bird Conservation Act are still moving forward, as are regulations updating import and export procedures and an increase in permit and other fees.

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    20. Fifty-eighth supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds

      The 17th supplement to the seventh edition of the Checklist of North America Birds has been published in the Auk.

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      • 1,159 views
    21. Government moves to shut down or cripple federal natural resource agencies

      Author: Ornithological Council

      If you value and support the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and other federal natural resource agencies, make your voice heard!

       

      Please share this article with your colleagues, students, friends and family.

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      • 751 views
    22. Concerned about preservation of National Monuments?

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Update May 28: The deadline for commenting on Bears Ears National Monument has passed.

       

      ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT TO COMMENT ON THE POSSIBLE RECISSION OF THE DESIGNATION OF DOZENS OF NATIONAL MONUMENTS. THE DEADLINE IS JULY 10.

       

      Express your views!

       

      Comment here:

       

      https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

       

      Details below.

       

      In addition to submitting comments, you might also want to send a copy of your comments to your Representative and Senators!

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      • 998 views
    23. Thinking of using geolocators? Read this first.

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Those planning to use geolocators on songbirds should take note of this critical new research.

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      • 1,552 views
    24. DOI contracts/grants on hold - OC needs to hear from you!

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (Secretary) recently took action that will delay the issuance of of all planned FY 2017 grants and cooperative agreements in the amount of $100,000 or more. If you are affected by this change (directly, or because you are working under such a grant or cooperative agreement to someone else), please contact the Ornithological Council immediately.

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      • 814 views
    25. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - permit app & report forms under review

      Author: Ornithological Council

      Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, federal agencies must obtain approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget whenever the agency wants to collect information from 10 or more members of the public. That includes permit application forms. Every three years, the agencies must request renewal of the OMB approval and when they do so, the public is afforded a chance to comment on the forms themselves and the burden imposed on those who must use the forms.

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      • 690 views
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