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Karen Stein New Moose Hill Sanctuary Director
Mass Audubon has appointed Karen Stein Director of its Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, the respected conservation organization's very first sanctuary, dating back more than 98 years.

BirdsEye Bird-Finding App Available for Android Devices
Launching with the same features that have made BirdsEye a hit on the iPhone, BirdsEye for Android is now available as a free download with various optional in-app regional purchase options covering all bird species in the world.

Counting in Canada? Find a Count Near You!
Every year between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas help monitor populations of our wintering birds - including more than 13,000 Canadian birders in almost 450 count circles.

$28 Million to Conserve Waterfowl, Shorebirds in 16 States
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission on Nov. 13 approved $28 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease, restore or otherwise conserve more than 128,000 acres of wetland habitats for ducks, bitterns, sandpipers and other birds in the United States.

Missouri 2014-15 Eagle Days Announced
Fro December through February, discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through Eagle Days events around the state, or enjoy eagle-viewing on your own.

Sage-Grouse as 'Threatened' a Wise Compromise
John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, comments on the recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

Breakfast With the Cranes on Galveston Island
The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC) announces the expansion of its annual Breakfast with the Cranes weekend Dec. 13-14, with the addition of an evening Roosting with the Cranes event.

Birder Gift Ideas from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides its Top 10 holiday gift suggestions that will appeal to the bird and nature lover on your list -- gifts that improve the mind, create fun, and highlight the beauty of the natural world.

Iowa Man Will See Prison Time for Killing an American Bald Eagle
On November 6, 2014, Jason John Thomas, age 36, of What Cheer, Iowa, was sentenced by District Court Judge John A. Jarvey to 60 days imprisonment for taking and possessing a bald eagle, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.
Duck Stamp

Duck Stamp Price Increase Passes House, Moves to Senate
A bill to raise the price of the Federal Duck Stamp from $15 to $25 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday by a voice vote and now moves to the U.S. Senate for action.

Votes Tallied and the Winners Are...
Describing it as an intense battle, USA Today wrapped up voting on November 10, and announced the long-awaited Readers' Choice 10 Best Birdwatching locations.

Rep. Dingell Attends Final MBCC Meeting
On Nov. 13, Refuge System champion and conservation hero, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) participated in his last meeting of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission as he is retiring in January. He is the longest serving member of the Commission, having begun his tenure 45 years ago in 1969.

Audubon NC Launches Social Media Promotion
With the help of a small, plush Cardinal traveling the state through social media, Audubon North Carolina has increased membership of the Cardinal Club, a monthly giving program designed to raise money for statewide bird conservation.

2014 Migratory Bird Joint Ventures Conservation Champions Named
The North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award is given to partners and partnerships that have demonstrated a long-term commitment and dedication to the important work of the Joint Ventures.
Kowaleski Named 2014 Wildlife Biologist of the Year
Chuck Kowaleski, chairman of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) and the Farm Bill coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), was recently named the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) 2014 Wildlife Biologist of the Year.

$13.2 Million for Texas Gulf Restoration Projects
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) on Nov. 17 announced about $13.2 million in grants for eight Texas projects that will use criminal settlement funds from the BP oil spill to add land to coastal wildlife refuges, restore threatened marshes, and protect vital habitat from erosion.
NFWF Announces $100 Million in Gulf Coast Restoration
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announcement Nov. 17 of $100 million in additional funding for Gulf Coast restoration adds an array of projects beneficial for Gulf communities and the natural resources they depend on.

The Hispaniolan Trogan: Colorful Cavity-Nester
The colorful Hispaniolan Trogon is found only on the island of Hispaniola - shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic - and is becoming increasingly rare due to ongoing habitat loss.

Alaskans Told to Hold Off Putting Out Feeders
While much of the country has experienced unseasonably cold temperatures for November, residents of Southcentral Alaska are being told to wait a few weeks before placing bird feeders out because bears a still stirring.
Sagebrush Seed-Gathering Volunteers Sought in NE Nevada
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will hold its annual volunteer sagebrush seed collection on Nov. 22 to help benefit such species as mule deer and sage-grouse, as well as sagebrush obligates such as sage thrashers, sage sparrows, Brewer's sparrows, loggerhead shrikes and burrowing owls.
Oregon: Don't Feed Brown Pelicans
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists have recently noted several pelicans in Siletz successfully approaching and begging for food. Don't fall for this ruse, they say.
Iowa: Winter Bird Feeding, Start Now
The latest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Outdoor Recreation Survey indicates that 609,000 Iowans feed wildlife, with most maintaining winter-and late fall-feeding stations for birds.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

This week's Birding Wire feature photo of a scrub jay was taken by photographer/naturalist Jim Foster at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for his upcoming third book on birding locations and destinations, "Birding Trails Florida." Signed copies Foster's most recent book, "Birding Trails Texas - The Gulf Coast," are available at www.jimfosteroutdoorsphoto.com. Technical: Canon 7D, 400 mm lens, 1/640 sec. @f-9, ISO 200.


To submit an image for consideration in The Birding Wire Photo Gallery, send your photo, along with an identification, description of the location and date, technical photo data to birdingwire@gmail.com.

Rufous "Rescued" in Minnesota Heading to Arizona?
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
A male Rufous hummingbird has become the darling of blogs and TV newscasts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area after it was "rescued" by some well-intentioned bird lovers and taken to a wildlife rescue/rehab center.

Jim Williams, who writes the "Wing Nut" birding column for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported the solitary Rufous was spotted Nov. 8 by Terri Walls, who kept a nectar feeder in her front yard. She subsequently wrote a post on a birding website that was read by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, who transported a cage trap to Walls' residence in St. Paul and successfully captured the wayward hummer Nov. 11.

At last report, the bird was being kept at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville. Phil Jenni, executive director of the center, said plans were being made to fly it to Arizona, where it would be released. Before the bird can travel, a licensed rehabber must be found who will go to the destination airport and receive the bird, he said It also requires permission from the state of Arizona.

"The bird seems in good condition," he said, "but it was stressed by the number of photographers" who came to the Walls' yard to take pictures of it in the three day prior to its trapping. Walls estimated about 100 birders, most with cameras, came to view the hummingbird.

If the little hummer thought his experience with dozens of crazed Minnesota birders was stressful, just wait until he gets off the plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in late November or early December and discovers he's about two months late for the migration there. That's because most Rufous pass through the southwestern U.S. states in late summer and early fall.

There are few people on the planet who know more about hummingbirds in Arizona (and everywhere else) than Sheri Williamson, Director of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, who has captured and banded thousands. Beyond that, Sheri wrote the book on hummingbirds - and by THE BOOK I mean A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North American in the Peterson Field Guide Series.

When I contacted her this Sunday, she said she was aware of the vagrant Minnesota Rufous and wondered why the rehabbers chose Arizona for his release.

"I've been working on this from various angles since I read that the rehab center was planning to send the bird to Arizona (where wintering Rufous are almost as rare as hummingbirds' teeth!)," Williamson wrote.

But the Arizona hummer expert said she was more concerned about a press release issued by the Midwest office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, which offered some accurate advice, along with a not-so-accurate recommendation.

"While the individual who captured this bird was likely acting with the best of intentions, in these situations, the best thing to do is to leave the bird alone," the FWS release read. "Although rare, birds can stray from their normal migration pathways, which would explain the presence of this bird in Minnesota, but they usually find their way back to their breeding or wintering grounds."

No problem with that advice. But the government agency press release continued:

"For individuals feeding hummingbirds in Minnesota, it is best to stop feeding them in September when the weather begins to get cold, which will encourage these birds to continue their migration south."

And that comment likely raised the eyebrows of many bird experts, including Sheri Williamson.

"The FWS statement unfortunately repeats the myth that feeders stop hummingbirds from migrating," Williamson wrote. She said she hopes to take the Minnesota Rufous incident and use it to help educate birding enthusiasts, wildlife rehabilitators (and perhaps some FWS press release writers) about the proper way to deal with off-track hummers.

"I'm hopeful that this will be the foundation of a nationwide policy to guide rehabbers on whether, when, and how to intervene in the lives of vagrant birds," she said.

We'll keep you posted.

- J.R. Absher

Nov. 18 - Nov. 23
27th Annual Festival of the Cranes
Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Nov. 20 - Nov. 23
Nov. 22 - Nov. 23
Toh Bird Festival
Yucatan, Mexico
Dec. 5 - Dec. 7
A Wild Bird Conference
San Domingo Ranch of South Texas
Dec. 13 - Dec. 14
Breakfast With The Sandhill Cranes
Moody Gardens Golf Course, Galveston Island, Tex.
Dec. 14
Roosting With The Sandhill Cranes
Galveston Island, Tex.
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