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Include The Birding Wire in Your 2016 Media Plan
As we head toward the final month of 2016, companies involved in the business and commerce of birding are planning advertising and promotion budgets for the coming year. We'd like to encourage you to make The Birding Wire part of the advertising or PR plans for your company or clients in 2016. The Outdoor Wire Digital Network will begin its calendar-year billing in just a few short weeks, and we'd like to discuss your options for promoting your products, services and company to thousands of avid birders every week. Please contact editor J.R. Absher at birdingwire@gmail.com to find out more.

Longest-Running Bird Census Turns 116
Now in its 116th year, the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count will take place from December 14 through January 5, with more than more 72,000 volunteers from 2,400-plus locations across the Western Hemisphere.

USDA Announces $350 Million for Grasslands, Wetlands, and Working Lands
Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching.

Sunrise Eagle Watch at Indiana's Mississinewa Lake
Hoosiers are invited to greet the morning with bald eagles at Mississinewa Lake's annual Sunrise Eagle Watch, Jan. 9 and 16.
Missouri 'Eagle Days' Events Announced
Discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through Eagle Days events around the state from December through February, or enjoy eagle viewing on your own.

USFWS Investigating N. Dakota Bald Eagle Shooting
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is investigating the death of a bald eagle, which was shot near the city of Bantry in McHenry County, North Dakota on October 22, 2015.

ABA Presents The Cradle of American Ornithology IFO
Discover more at an American Birding Association Institute of Ornithology (IFO) Program by joining The Cradle of American Ornithology IFO in Philadelphia March 30 – April 3 2106.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
Chosen by the Southeastern Tourism Society as one of their Top 20 Events for January 2016, the Space Coast Festival is regarded as one of the top birding events in the nation.

Report Highlights 10 Rare Species With 'No Room To Roam'
Habitat loss and conversion, dams, roads, and other developments are among the leading causes of wildlife habitat fragmentation, according to a new report by the Endangered Species Coalition.

Comprehensive Plan Adopted to Protect Endangered Gray Crowned Cranes
The International Crane Foundation reported this week that an International Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Grey Crowned Crane officially passed as part of the 6th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA MOP6), in Bonn, Germany Nov. 9-14.

Team Rubicon Erosion Abatement Training at Laguna Atascosa NWR
CASE Construction Equipment, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Team Rubicon teamed for an equipment operator training and erosion abatement project at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Los Fresnos, Tex.

Droll Yankees Sponsors BirdSpotter Photo Contest
Droll Yankees is partnering with Cornell Lab of Ornithology for the 4th annual BirdSpotter photo contest, offering weekly and grand prize packages featuring Droll Yankees products.

Audubon Florida Hails FWC Designation of Critical Wildlife Area
Audubon Florida is hailing the unanimous action last week by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to establish a new Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) at Second Chance Sandbar in southwest Florida. The new CWA will close the bar to vessel landings during the beach-nesting bird season.
FWC Designates New Critical Wildlife Area to Protect Nesting Birds
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has designated a sandbar in Collier County, known as "Second Chance," as a Critical Wildlife Area. The island, which is part of a larger shoal complex, is an important nesting site for Wilson's plovers and state-listed least terns and black skimmers.

American Ornithologists' Union Welcomes New Fellows and Honorary Fellows
At the 133rd stated meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) in Norman, Okla., the society welcomed fifteen new Fellows and two Honorary Fellows, who were selected by their peers for their outstanding contributions to the field of ornithology and their service to the AOU.

Study: Wetlands, Not Rice Fields, Preferable for SE Egrets
Wading birds in many parts of the world use agricultural habitats such as flooded rice fields, but in the southeastern U.S., Great Egrets (Ardea alba) prefer natural wetlands over any other habitat type, according to a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

Grassland Specialist: Baird's Sparrow
The Baird's Sparrow was first noted by John James Audubon in 1843 and was named for Spencer Baird, a young man mentored by Audubon who later became a prominent ornithologist himself.
Treetop Auk: Marbled Murrelet
The breeding grounds of the elusive Marbled Murrelet went undiscovered until 1974, when a nest was found in California's Big Basin Redwood State Park.

Audubon Connecticut Receives $34,993 for Schoolyard Habitat Program
In an announcement made by federal and state environmental officials last week, Audubon Connecticut was honored to be one of 22 grant award recipients of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF)—with a generous award of $34,993 for its Schoolyard Habitats (SYH) program.
Hotline to Report Dead, Sick or Injured Swans in Washington
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has re-established a hotline to report dead, sick or injured swans in three northwest Washington counties as part of its ongoing effort to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter swans.

NM Pueblo Donates Water Rights for Birds, Wildlife
In a first of its kind water donation, New Mexico's Pueblo of Sandia has donated water to be used for the benefit of river flows and riparian habitat, supporting Audubon New Mexico's conservation work to supplement streamflow in the Middle Rio Grande.

Interior Takes First Step to Develop Wind Energy Offshore SC
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper have announced a major step in spurring wind energy development in federal waters offshore South Carolina.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

We may be going out on a limb here at The Birding Wire, but we guess during your birding trips and excursions you may discover an image or experience a image that, while not related to birds or ornithology, is nonetheless a special moment in time you're able to capture for posterity. Thus was the case last week for Birding Wire editor J.R. Absher, while engaged in his morning photo and birding walk along Las Palomas Creek in Southwestern New Mexico. Technical: Canon 7D, Canon EF 75-300 mm zoom, ISO 640, f/11 @ 1/400 sec.


Birding Wire readers, if you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, we invite you to share it with thousands of our subscribers. Please send submissions to birdingwire@gmail.com, and be sure to include details about the location, species and technical data.

Christmas Bird Counts Tips
Editor's note: With Thanksgiving here, for many birders that means the Christmas Bird Count is just around the corner. With that in mind, this week we present some practical tips for Christmas Bird Count participation, compiled by the former president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and a good friend of The Birding Wire, Carl Schwartz. -- JRA

Place a sign on the back of your vehicle identifying you as part of the Christmas Bird Count.
These tips were developed by former WSO President Carl Schwartz based on his personal experience, as well as knowledge gleaned from the late Noel Cutright and current editor of ABA's Birding magazine Ted Floyd. It is adapted from an article in the Badger Birder (November 2014)

- A good count needs a lot of counters.
As Ted notes, a CBC circle is 177 square miles. Even if you had 177 participants, each one of them covering exactly 1 square mile, there is no way you'd have thorough coverage of the count circle. A square mile is huge! Madison annually records the highest species total, logging 77 species and 25,574 individual birds in 2013, thanks in part to a record 118 observers. Yet many counts are done with fewer than a dozen.

- Make the experience fun.
Time having a fun breakfast together takes time out of the field, so maybe listen for owls first, have breakfast and be back in the field by sunup. Potluck suppers (after sunset) to tally the results can build enthusiasm for next year.

- Cover lots of ground.
Maximizing party-hours is the most important thing to do, Ted argues, but maximizing party-miles runs a close second. You're going to see twice as many birds along a four-mile stretch as along a two-mile stretch. Floyd argued that, mile-for-mile, party-miles by foot are incomparably more valuable than party-miles by car. But if you have a count circle split into just six territories, that's going to mean lots of car miles. The key is having at least two observers in the car and stopping periodically at spots that look or sound "birdy" and pishing or playing a screech owl tape (Noel was still using an old cassette recorder but iPhone apps and modern speakers make this even easier).

- Drive every road.
Who knows what you will miss by leaving part of your territory completely uncovered? Sometimes driving the same road twice will yield species missed the first time.

- Scout your territory.
Get out into your assigned area a few days before count day. Figure out which residences have bird feeders. Work the hedgerows and determine where all the sparrows and finches are hanging out. Introduce yourself to key landowners and secure permission to bird their property on count day.

- Have a plan.
Figure out your itinerary in advance. Noel printed out or photocopied a map, planned a route and highlighted each road as it was covered. Leave enough time to get to where you need to go. If you're faced with high winds, know where there are sheltered spots where the birds will take cover.

- Count every bird.
It's in looking through all those Canada Geese that you will find a blue phase Snow Goose, or the Brown-headed Cowbird in a flock of Starlings. Observed Ted: "I find that actually taking the time to count, say, Ring-billed Gulls (954, 955, 956...) is the best way to find a rarity (957... oh, wait, that's a Mew Gull!)".

- Hang out a sign.
Putting a sign on the back of your vehicle identifying you as part of the Christmas Bird Count will save some horn-blaring and answer some potential questions in advance.

Dec. 11 - Dec. 13
Holiday With the Crane on Galveston Island
Galveston Island, Tex.
Dec. 18
Final Wires for 2015
Jan. 13 - Jan. 17
Jan. 15 - Jan. 18
Jan. 20 - Jan. 25
Feb. 3 - Feb. 6
Feb. 11 - Feb. 14
Winter Wings Festival
Klamath Falls, Ore.
Feb. 13
Florida Scrub Jay Festival
Osprey, Fla.
Feb. 20
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