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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2016
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BIRDING WIRE
Consider The Birding Wire for Advertising, Announcements
Companies producing birding-related products and services, including gear, optics, birdseed, books, apps, and other commercial items may share their company news and latest products with the thousands of subscribers to The Birding Wire every week by placing banner ad or becoming becoming Corporate Members. 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.

CONSERVATION
2016 NAWCA Small Grants Deliver Habitat Enhancements
Pheasants Forever was recently awarded ten North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) small grants to conserve wetlands and associated grasslands in Minnesota and Iowa — funding to restore, enhance, or protect habitat on 4,536 acres vital to upland birds and waterfowl, with all acquired acres open to public access.

DUCK STAMP
New Federal and Junior Duck Stamps Now on Sale
The 83rd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – as it is officially called – debuted at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Bass Pro Shops' flagship retail store in Springfield, Mo.

EBIRD
eBird Reaches 1/3 Billion Threshold
eBird and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology report that on June 17, eBird reached a third of a billion bird sightings when Mike Madsen recorded an everyday sighting of a Song Sparrow in DuPage County, Ill. which was number 333,333,333.

ECONOMY
Biggest Week Has Big Impact on NW Ohio Economy
Birding events such as the Biggest Week in American Birding Festival helped to impact Northwest Ohio's economy by $30 million, reports the Toledo Blade newspaper this week.

EVENTS
American Birding Expo Will Be Regional Draw in September
Eight international manufacturers of birding optics, more than 20 tour companies, dozens of destinations and a variety of gear providers and artists have registered to date for the 2016 American Birding Expo, Sept. 16-18 in Columbus, Ohio.
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FESTIVALS
12th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival Sept. 23-25
From soaring golden eagles, effortlessly gliding California condors, cheeky bushtits, gorgeous Townsend's warblers, scampering snowy plovers, to thousands of sooty shearwaters streaming along the ocean's surface, few places can match the diversity of species as the Monterey Bay region.

FUNDING
Interior, USDA Announce More Than $47 Million in Investments
The U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture have announced more than $47 million in investments to help water districts and producers on private working lands better conserve water resources across the West.

HABITAT
For Nature, Gravel-bed Rivers Are Important Feature
Gravel-bed river floodplains are some of the most ecologically important habitats in North America, according to a new study by scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Their research shows how broad valleys coming out of glaciated mountains provide highly productive and important habitat for a large diversity of aquatic, avian and terrestrial species.

NWR SYSTEM
Bear River Watershed Conservation Area Established as 565th Unit
The National Wildlife Refuge Association joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ferry family of Corinne, Utah to celebrate the donation of a 30-acre conservation easement by the Ferry Ranch and Farm. This conservation easement is the first to be received by the Service in the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area, which was created in 2013 after a lengthy public outreach and planning effort.

RECOGNITION
Audubon Florida Presents 2016 Sustainable Rancher Award
Audubon Florida presented its Sustainable Rancher of the Year award for 2016 to Lightsey Cattle Company Ranch on June 16 at the Florida Cattlemen's Association annual convention.

RESEARCH
Using Drones and Thermal Imaging to Locate Nesting Ducks
Led by Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Watefowl's president and chief scientist, a team tested a unique combination of new technology on the prairie duck breeding grounds. By flying a drone carrying a mounted thermal-imaging camera over grassland cover, Rohwer was able to pinpoint nesting ducks indicated by the camera's heat signature.

SCIENCE
Early Arrival Gives Bluebirds an Edge in Keeping Nest Sites
Finders, keepers: Mountain Bluebirds are more likely to defend nest cavities against competition from other birds such as swallows if they get there first,according to new research in The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

SPECIES
Living the High Life: Rainbow-bearded Thornbill
These hummers favor well-drained, rocky slopes below the tree line in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where they may be spotted quietly feeding atop low shrubs or close to ground level, occasionally even landing on the ground for a short time.

WIND ENERGY
Group: Bald and Golden Eagles May Be Threatened by Wind Industry Developers
A new eagle-management plan proposed by the federal government would give wind energy developers 30-year permits to "take" or incidentally kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles, without requiring the industry to share mortality data with the public or take into consideration such critical factors as proper siting.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


Birding Wire reader Kelly Haller of Tijeras, New Mexico, shared this striking photo of a cactus wren, taken on Embudito Trail at the base of the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque in March. "This area has a lot of cholla cactus, which seems to be their favorite choice for nesting," Kelly writes. "He was singing away on the top of this cactus until he saw me. That's when I took this photo." Technical: Nikon 1 V3 with 70-300mm lens (250 mm), ISO 160, 1/400 sec @ f/5.6.

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Birding Wire readers, if you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, we urge 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.

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Successful Nesting of Wild Northern Bobwhite in NJ Pinelands
Female bobwhite quail with radio transmitter (J. Parker)
Chatsworth, NJ –- For the second year in a row, researchers associated with the Northern Bobwhite Restoration Initiative, lead by New Jersey Audubon (NJA), have confirmed active Northern Bobwhite quail nests in the New Jersey Pine Barrens!

University of Delaware graduate students, Phillip Coppola and Evan Drake, contracted by NJA, discovered six active nests at the Pine Island Cranberry Bobwhite Quail translocation study site while conducting their weekly radio telemetry surveys on the quail.

"The nests are surprisingly hard to find," said Quail Initiative Researcher Evan Drake. "Even when the telemetry equipment leads you right to them, the nests themselves are remarkably well camouflaged." The nests consisted of a small bowl-shaped depression on the ground covered with grasses and pine needles to form a "dome". Bobwhite quail lay an average of one egg a day and the average clutch size is between 12-14 eggs. Once all the eggs have been laid, either adult will incubate the nest.

"Not only is it very exciting to find these nests, but one nest is occupied by a collared bird from this year's release that has paired up with an un-collared bird which means that bird is from last year's offspring," said Quail Initiative researcher Phil Coppola. "Nesting by individuals that were translocated only months ago reaffirms the effectiveness of this tool for augmenting Bobwhite breeding populations. This is a major step in the overall reintroduction effort for this species here in the New Jersey Pinelands."

Earlier this year a total 81 birds, (37 females and 44 males) were release at the Pine Island Cranberry study site by NJ Audubon and initiative partners, Pine Island Cranberry, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Delaware. This was the second of three scheduled translocations of wild Bobwhite Quail captured in Georgia by project collaborator, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, and released at the Pine Island Cranberry study site. In 2015, 80 wild birds were also released on site and through the use of telemetry; researchers were able to confirm 15 nests, 127 eggs laid; and 66 chicks hatched in 2015. Many of which were confirmed to have overwintered at the property and were onsite when the second release of new wild birds occurred.

Bobwhite quail nest at Pine Island Cranberry study site (Phil Coppola)
"We were very excited about this second release because the new birds were released into areas that already have Bobwhite from last year's release, as well as, the young that were born here last year," said John Parke, NJA Stewardship Project Director. "Having those birds successfully nest, raise young that overwintered from last year and are still present and are now mating with the new birds this spring only helps increases the likelihood of survival of the new birds in the wild, as well as, adds genetic diversity to this year's mating season." added Parke.

In New Jersey the Northern Bobwhite quail is believed to be functionally extinct with the possibility of some birds still existing in southwestern NJ. The decline of Bobwhite, not just in New Jersey but across its entire range, is attributed to the shortage of quality habitat.

"With the lack of quality habitat being the most important limiting factor for Bobwhite survival, the Pine Island Cranberry study site provides proof that active management is the key to species recovery," said Jimmy Sloan, Upland Habitat and Wildlife Biologist with NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. "Recruitment is important to the long term sustainability of a Bobwhite population so these new nests are a great sign that the Bobwhites on the property are thriving and continue to benefit from the forest management being performed on the property," added Sloan.

The Pine Island Cranberry site in New Jersey was selected to be part of a multi-state initiative to re-establish Northern Bobwhite in the Mid-Atlantic States because of several factors, however it was a State Approved Forest Stewardship Plan outlining long-term management goals and the extent of existing quality habitat already onsite from years of active forestry work, prescribed burning and agricultural best management practices that made it stand out above other sites in the region. As part of the project, New Jersey has the unique focus of releasing (translocation) wild quail to the Pine Island Cranberry Property for study. Other aspects of the multi-state initiative include evaluating methods of raising captive bred wild parent reared quail; however no captive bred quail will be release in the NJ study.

"This is great news; if the quail are thriving, then we're taking care of the land just like we're supposed to," said Bill Haines Jr. owner and CEO of Pine Island Cranberry Company. "Thanks to the hard work from NJ Audubon and everyone else involved with this project, we're seeing some real progress on bringing the Bobwhite quail back to New Jersey, and I couldn't be more pleased."

For more on the Quail Project and how you can support the initiative see NJ Audubon's Quail webpage.

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July 29 - July 31
Aug. 6
Aug. 11 - Aug. 14
Aug. 18 - Aug. 20
Aug. 19 - Aug. 21
Grebe Festival
Lake Almanor, Chester, Calif.
Aug. 25 - Aug. 27
Big Bend Nature Fest
Big Bend Nat'l Park, Tex.
Sept. 9 - Sept. 11
Puget Sound Bird Fest
Edmonds, Wash.
Sept. 10
Feliciana Hummingbird Festival
St. Francisville, La.
Sept. 22 - Sept. 29
Fall Birding Days
Little St. Simons Island, Ga.
Sept. 23 - Sept. 25
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Watsonville, Calif.
Sept. 24 - Sept. 25
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