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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
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ANNOUNCEMENTS
Benefit from Birding Wire Corporate Membership
Companies producing birding-related products and services, including gear, optics, birdseed, books, apps, birding tours and other commercial items may share their company news and latest products with the thousands of subscribers to The Birding Wire every week by becoming a Corporate Member. For individual company pricing or agency, multi-company bundling costs covering unlimited annual press-release placement, contact Birding Wire editor J.R. Absher at birdingwire@gmail.com.

APPS
New Version of eBird Mobile Available For IOS, Android
The CornellLab of Ornithology announces the release of a new version of eBird Mobile (1.3) that allows users to note breeding and behavior codes in mobile checklists—available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

BUTTERFLIES
Oklahoma Agency Hosting Monarch-Tagging Event
Citizen scientists are invited to join biologists on the area the week of October 2 as they tag individual butterflies and learn more about their long-distance migration at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area.

CANADA
BSC Represented at North American Ornithological Conference
More than 2000 delegates from around the world participated in the 6thNorth American Ornithological Conference last month in Washington, D.C. Sessions and activities promoted the theme of Bringing Science and Conservation Together.

CONSERVATION
Rice and Ducks Focus of New BassPro Shops Display at Memphis Pyramid
In celebration of National Rice Month, the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center at the BassPro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid has unveiled a new display section focused on the importance of rice agriculture to wintering waterfowl across the country.

DESIGNATIONS
Shepaug Forest Block Recognized as New Connecticut IBA
Audubon Connecticut announces the recognition of a forested landscape that spans 15 miles of the Shepaug River as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
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ENERGY
Audubon California Praises Renewable Energy Development Plan
Representatives of Audubon California said a new plan released Sept. 14 for renewable energy development across 10 million acres of federal public lands in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts will help birds two ways: first, by safeguarding the most important landscapes for resident and migratory birds; and second, by helping accelerate California to its ambitious renewable energy goals.
Landmark Renewable Energy/Conservation Plan Unveiled
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined federal, state and local officials to announce approval of Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), an innovative, landscape-level renewable energy and conservation planning effort covering 10.8 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the California desert.

ENVIRONMENT
Widespread Plastic Pollution Found in Great Lakes Tributaries
Tiny pieces of harmful plastic, called microplastics, are prevalent in many rivers that flow into the Great Lakes, according to a study published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Results are also illustrated on a new USGS microplastics website.

EXECUTIVE ACTION
Refuge Association Applauds Creation of New Marine National Monument
Located approximately 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, the 4,913 square mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the latest addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System and will be jointly administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Audubon Releases Statement on Marine NM Designation
The National Audubon Society said this week that President Obama's most recent executive order designating the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as the first Atlantic National Marine Monument will help protect critical habitat for Maine's Atlantic Puffins.

FESTIVALS
Florida Birding and Nature Festival in Tampa Bay, Oct. 13-16
The Florida Birding and Nature Festival returns to Tampa Bay, October 13-16, thanks to Tampa Audubon, Hillsborough County and a host of community partners. The three-day festival lands at the Hillsborough Community College, South Shore Campus in Ruskin.

INVASIVE SPECIES
European Frogbit Plant Detected in West Michigan Lakes
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of European frogbit, a prohibited aquatic invasive plant, in Reeds and Fisk lakes in the city of East Grand Rapids, representing the westernmost known locations of plant in Michigan and the Midwest.

ORGANIZATIONS
ANC Initiative to Protect More Golden-winged Warbler Habitats
Audubon North Carolina (ANC) will soon reach out to 1,000 private landowners across nine Western counties to encourage them to protect and restore priority bird habitats, while working to maintain or enhance their land to benefit Golden-winged Warbler populations in Western North Carolina.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Maryland DNR Names Photo Contest Winners
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2016 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to Mitch Adolph of Lutherville for his excellent action photo of sparring egrets on Assateague Island.

PODCASTS
Chandler S. Robbins on BirdCallsRadio
Appearing on the latest edition of BirdCallsRadio is Chandler S. Robbins, Founder of the Annual North American Breeding Bird Survey and co-author of the highly respected "Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification."

PRODUCTS
New Cotton Carrier Harness Holds Binoculars and Camera
Birders and wildlife photographers looking for a way to safely and comfortably carry both a camera and binoculars now have a solution: the Binocular & Camera Harness from Cotton Carrier.

RECOGNITION
AFWA Honors 2016 Annual Awards Recipients
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) recognized four individuals, three state agencies and one private landowner for their dedication to advancing fish and wildlife conservation at the Association's Annual Awards Ceremony held on Sept. 13 in Philadelphia. 


RESEARCH
Bird Studies Canada Receives Research Software Funding
Bird Studies Canada announces it has been funded to participate in CANARIE's Research Software Program, with a two-year grant of $560,000 to support development of the research software platform for the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, one of the world's most ambitious wildlife tracking initiatives.
Sage-Grouse Select Nest Sites to Maximize Their Success
A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, in which researchers examined the habitat preferences of the vulnerable grassland species Sage-Grouse, found that females look for vegetation characteristics that will boost their reproductive success when selecting nest sites, giving land managers new hints about what types of habitat are most in need of protection.

SPECIES
Water Walker: Markham's Storm-Petrel
The dark, fork-tailed Markham's Storm-petrel's genus name, Hydrobates, means "water walker," which describes the way it patters along the sea surface when foraging.

STATES
Free Admission to Indiana State Parks on National Public Lands Day
Admission to Indiana's state park properties and state forest recreation areas where entrance fees are charged will be free on Sept. 24 in recognition of National Public Lands Day.

TELEVISION
The Fast-paced World of Super Hummingbirds on PBS
See hummingbirds mate, lay eggs, fight, and raise families in intimate detail, on Super Hummingbirds, airing Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


Connecticut resident and Birding Wire subscriber Fred Laberge submitted this week's featured photograph of a White-breasted Nuthatch, taken May 12 at the Boyd Audubon Sanctuary located in Litchfield, Conn. Technical: Nikon D7100, 300mm f4 Nikkor lens with 1.4 TC, yielding an equivalent 420mm, 1/500th, f5.6, ISO 800.

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Birding Wire readers, if you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, you are encouraged to share it with our 45,000+ weekly subscribers. Please send submissions to birdingwire@gmail.com, and be sure to include details about the location, species and technical data.

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Building a New Colony for Threatened Seabirds on Kaua'i
(Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Sept. 20, 2016) A project years in the making took place on Kauaʻi's north shore on Monday when eight threatened Newell's Shearwater ('A'o) chicks were flown by helicopter from their montane nesting areas to a new colony protected by a predator-proof fence at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. There they will be raised to fledging from the same site where 10 Hawaiian Petrels were successfully translocated last year in the hopes of starting new colonies of both species.

The effort is a collaboration among the Kaua'i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), Pacific Rim Conservation, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). KESRP is a DOFAW/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit project. Other partners also provided much-needed assistance for the project. The Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative provided critical support for predator control in collaboration with DOFAW at montane nesting areas within the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) at Upper Limahuli Preserve. NTBG also conducted vegetation restoration at Nihokū, where the fence is located in the refuge. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided critical funding support.

"This project wouldn't have been possible without the support of all the partners and we are very excited to see it go forward," said Heather Tonneson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader. "The predator-proof fence area within the refuge will provide a safe haven for the shearwaters, which like many other native Hawaiian bird species are facing tremendous challenges with shrinking habitat and the onslaught of invasive species."

The translocation, which involved two separate teams and more than a dozen people, took place in Kauaʻi's rugged mountain interior and along the coast. In the early morning, a team was dropped by helicopter onto a mountain peak located in the Upper Limahuli Preserve owned by NTBG. The team members headed out to seven different nest burrows that had been monitored throughout the breeding season. Seven large, healthy chicks were carefully removed from their burrows by hand, placed into pet carriers, and carried up the side of the mountain to a waiting helicopter. The chicks were flown to the Princeville airport, then driven to the refuge and their new home within the predator-proof fence. An eighth chick was found several weeks earlier in the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve, managed by DOFAW under their Native Ecosystem Protection & Management team, where it had left its burrow and become lost. It has been in care at the Save our Shearwaters facility and will join the other seven in a few days. Photos and videos of the translocation can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region's Flickr page at: http://bit.ly/NewHomeForSeabirds.

Threatened Newell's Shearwaters are one of two seabird species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and are found nowhere else on earth. They have declined dramatically due to a number of factors, including predation by introduced predators (such as cats, rats, pigs and Barn Owls) and collisions with man-made structures during nocturnal flights from their breeding colonies in the mountains to the ocean where they search for food. Surrounded by fine mesh stainless-steel fencing, 6.5 feet high, the 7.8-acre enclosure at Nihokū protects the birds from predators and has been partially restored with native vegetation. Seabird-friendly nest boxes, specifically designed to mimic natural burrows, have been installed.

"We are hopeful that translocation of this first group of chicks will mark the turning point in the downward trend for this species," said Hannah Nevins, Director of American Bird Conservancy's Seabird Program. "The future of the Newell's Shearwater on Kaua'i is dependent on multiple actions, from colony protection in the mountains to creating new predator-free colonies with fences, and continuing to mitigate light and collision impacts."

Newell's Shearwater chicks imprint on their birth colony location the first time they emerge from their burrows and see the night sky, and will return to breed at the same colony as adults. Since chicks were removed from their natural burrows before this critical imprinting stage, the hope is that they will emerge from their nest boxes and imprint on the Nihokū area and return to the site as adults. In the meantime, they will be hand-fed a slurry of fish and squid, and their growth will be carefully monitored until they leave their new nest burrows and fly out to sea. They will remain at sea for the next 3 to 5 years. The new colony will be the only fully protected colony of this species anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands and represents a huge achievement toward recovering this species.

"Kaua'i is home to an estimated 90 percent of the world population of Newell's Shearwater, so the island really is critical to the long-term survival of this species," said Dr. André Raine of Kaua'i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project. "Now is the time to focus all of our efforts on protecting the remaining colonies, using all the management strategies available to us, and establishing new colonies in protected areas like Nihokū. By using a diverse array of approaches, we hope to ensure that these beautiful birds will continue to grace our islands long into the future."

"We are very excited to have accomplished a major recovery objective for one of Hawaiʻi's endemic seabird species," added Dr. Lindsay Young, the project coordinator with Pacific Rim Conservation. "What we learn on this project will be crucial to implementing what we hope will be many more projects like this on Kauaʻi and across the state."

FWS completed an environmental assessment (EA) on 'A'o (Newellʻs Shearwater) management actions in May of this year, and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the EA has been issued. While this project will be the first translocation of Newell's Shearwater chicks within Hawai'i, translocation of closely related seabird species has been used with success in New Zealand in order to create new colonies, and this is the second year of testing this technique in Hawai'i. It is hoped that similar outcomes will be achieved on Kaua'i. The public was an important part of this process, and FWS evaluated and responded to comments received on the EA. This information, the EA, and FONSI are now available for public review and may be found at http://www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint.

The Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge was established to preserve and enhance migratory bird nesting colonies; federally listed species; and native coastal strand, riparian, and aquatic biological diversity, as well as to support fish and wildlife-oriented recreation. The refuge is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in the main Hawaiian Islands and the historic Daniel K. Inouye Kīlauea Point Lighthouse. In 1988, the refuge was expanded to include Nihokū and Mōkōlea Point.

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Provided by American Bird Conservancy www.abcbirds.org

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Sept. 22 - Sept. 29
Fall Birding Days
Little St. Simons Island, Ga.
Sept. 23 - Sept. 25
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Watsonville, Calif.
Sept. 24
Public Release of California Condors
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Ariz.
Sept. 24 - Sept. 25
Sept. 27 - Sept. 29
Sept. 28 - Oct. 2
41st Annual Western Field Ornithologists' Conference
River Lodge Center, Fortuna, Calif.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 2
Delmarva Paddling Weekend
Laurel, Del. and Snow Hill, Md.
Oct. 1
Oct. 5 - Oct. 7
2016 State of Stopover Symposium
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
Oct. 6 - Oct. 9
Oct. 8 - Oct. 9
Michigan Audubon Cranefest
Berenard A. Baker Bird Sanctuary, Bellevue, Mich.
Oct. 13 - Oct. 16
Florida Birding and Nature Festival
Hillsborough Community College, Ruskin, Fla.
Oct. 16 - Oct. 22
"Ding" Darling Days
Sanibel Island, Fla.
Oct. 18 - Oct. 23
Oct. 21 - Oct. 23
Oct. 27 - Oct. 29
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Annual Meeting
Stoney Creek Hotel, Rothschild, Wis.
Nov. 2 - Nov. 6
Nov. 2 - Nov. 6
Nov. 11 - Nov. 13
California Swan Festival
Marysville, Calif.
Nov. 14 - Nov. 20
Nov. 19 - Nov. 20
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