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    Farewell to Bruce Peterjohn, BBL Chief


    Ellen Paul
    • 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.

    After nearly 29 years of Federal service including 11 years as Chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL), I have decided to retire at the end of 2019. The responsibility of leading the US Bird Banding Program has presented numerous challenges and opportunities. It has been a great privilege to have served in this capacity and help advance the contributions of the BBL in support of research, conservation, and the management of North American bird populations.

    USGS has not yet finalized its transition plans for replacing me. You should expect for acting BBL Chief(s) to lead the program for 1-2 years before a permanent replacement is hired. During this transition, the BBL staff will assume additional responsibilities. Processing applications for new banding permits and requests for permit modifications will probably slow down and you should allow for a minimum of 3-4 months to be complet e these requests. Please send all permit-related requests to the BBL permits office (BBL_Permits@usgs.gov) to ensure that these requests are handled as efficiently as possible. Other BBL support activities for banders will also likely be slower during this transition. Your patience will be greatly appreciated as the BBL staff deals with the increased workload.

    During my tenure as BBL Chief, the program experienced annual reductions in the resources available to operate the lab. Since 2008, the budget has been reduced by half and the staff was reduced by nearly 40%. Despite these drastic cuts, the size of the banding program did not change. Maintaining the banding program under these circumstances is testimony to the dedication and hard work of the entire BBL staff. I am sure that the staff will continue their high level of support for the banding program during the transition to a new Chief and hope that you will work with the staff to make this transition as smooth as po ssible.

    It has been an honor to work with everyone over the years. While I am retiring from this job, I am not retiring as a bird bander and hope to see you somewhere out in the field banding birds. Bird banding remains an essential tool to advance ornithological science and bird conservation, and every bander should be proud of their contributions towards advancing this science.


    BRUCE PETERJOHN, BBL CHIEF
    BIRD BANDING LABORATORY


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