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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2018
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CONSERVATION
Black-Capped Vireo Delisted from Endangered Species Act

Thanks to robust conservation efforts, the black-capped vireo, a small songbird, is being removed from the list of endangered and threatened species. From a low of only 350 birds in the late 1980s, the population has received to an estimated 14,000 birds across the breeding range of Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico.

Kirtland’s Warbler Fully Recovered, Thanks to the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose delisting the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, a gray and yellow songbird that ranges from the Great Lakes to the Bahamas. The bird was one of the original species listed under the Endangered Species Act and over the last 50 years has improved from about 200 breeding males to nearly 2,400 today.


EDUCATION
Michigan DNR Offers “Wildlife through Forestry” Raptor Forum in Marquette

For those who may never have been close to a hawk, falcon or an owl, or who want to learn more about these amazing creatures, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hosting a raptor forum on April 24 in Marquette.


ENFORCEMENT
Charges Filed in Illinois Shooting of White Pelicans

Thanks to information provided by the public, charges have been filed against two Newton, Illinois teenagers in connection with the illegal shooting of white pelicans at Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, discovered on April 3. 


EVENTS
Birding Mecca Getaway

The Huron House Bed and Breakfast in Oscoda, Michigan is hosting the first Tawas Point Migration event May 17-19. Guests can catch glimpses of a variety of birds, including the Kirtland’s Warbler. 

Nebraka’s Northeast District Birding Day set for May 15 at Davis Creek WMA

Birders are invited to join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for Northeast District Birding Day on May 15 at Davis Creek Wildlife Management Area.


Smooth Dance Moves Confirm New Bird-of-Paradise Species
 
The Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise. Photo by Tim Laman/Macaulay Library

 

Rare video highlights unique behavior and sounds

Ithaca, NY—Newly publicized audiovisuals support full species status for one of the dancing birds-of-paradise in New Guinea. This new species, called the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, is found only in the island's far-western Bird's Head, or Vogelkop, region. In a new paper published in the journal PeerJ, scientists "show and tell" half-a-dozen ways this form is distinct from the more widespread Superb Bird-of-Paradise, now called the Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise—the bird known for its bouncy "smiley face" dance routine.

"After you see what the Vogelkop form looks like and acts like in the wild, there’s little room for doubt that it is a separate species," says Ed Scholes with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Birds-of-Paradise Project. "The courtship dance is different. The vocalizations are different. The females look different. Even the shape of the displaying male is different."

See the physical and acoustic differences explained in this video.

 

When expanded for courtship display, the Vogelkop male's raised cape creates a completely different appearance—crescent-shaped with pointed tips rather than the oval shape of the widespread form of the species. The way the Vogelkop male dances for the female is also is distinctive, the steps being smooth instead of bouncy.
 
The Cornell Lab's Birds-of-Paradise Project (birdsofparadiseproject.org) is a research and education initiative to document, interpret, and protect the birds-of-paradise, their native environments, and the other biodiversity of the New Guinea region—one of the largest remaining tropical wildernesses on the planet.
 

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Embed YouTube video

Media contact:
Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2137, pel27@cornell.edu



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Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Pete Marra Receives American Ornithological Society’s Elliott Coues Award

 

Pete Marra, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, is the recipient of the American Ornithological Society’s prestigious Elliott Coues Award in recognition of his outstanding and innovative ornithological research.

His groundbreaking research in avian conservation science has four broad themes, including the ecology of migratory birds, urban ecosystem ecology, disease ecology and the impacts of invasive species.

The American Ornithological Society established this award in honor of Elliott Coues, a pioneering ornithologist of the western United States and a founding member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. The 2018 AOS Coues Award will be presented at this year’s American Ornithological Society Conference in Tuscon, Arizona on Thursday, April 12.

Marra's primary interests lie in understanding the factors that control population persistence and dynamics. His research examines the roles of climate, habitat, food, invasive species, as well as other anthropogenic sources of mortality on the individual condition of both migratory and resident birds.

His research emphasizes incorporating events throughout the annual cycle to understand how more complex interactions across seasons drive the ecology and evolution of species, and he uses this information to find conservation solutions. To do this, he has developed and incorporated multiple novel and emerging tracking techniques and quantitative approaches into his research.

Marra has founded several large research and communication initiatives, including Neighborhood Nestwatch and The Migratory Connectivity Project. Communicating his science and his excitement for the conservation of wildlife to as wide an audience as possible, including the general public, is a high priority of his overall program.

Marra and his students, post docs and colleagues have published more than 200 peer reviewed scientific papers in journals such as Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

He has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to research in ornithology and conservation including receiving the Smithsonian Institution’s Secretary’s Distinguished Research Prize twice (2008, 2010).

Marra earned a B.S. from Southern Connecticut State University, a master's from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D from Dartmouth College.



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