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Arizona BLM to Hold San Pedro River Public Planning Sessions
The public is invited to comment on management alternatives for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, a 57,000-acre area managed by the BLM 60 miles southeast of Tucson.

It's Funky Nest Contest Time!
The annual "Funky Nests in Funky Places" contest hosted by the Celebrate Urban Birds project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is underway, which means another entertaining collection of nests in old boots, barbecue grills, motorcycle helmets, traffic signals, rakes, old tires and who-knows-what.
eBirder of the Month of March Announced
Greg Wagner of High River, Alberta, winner of the
March 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic,
 was drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists containing one or more species of waterfowl in the month.

Wyoming Youth Wins the 2015 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a pair of wood ducks painted by 17-year-old Andrew Kneeland of Rock Springs, Wyo., was chosen by a panel of judges at the national Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Duck Stamp

No ESA Listing for Sage-Grouse in California, Nevada
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Apr. 21 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse does not require the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

18th Annual Bird Festival May 8-11 at Horicon Marsh
The public is invited to grab binoculars and bring a friend to the 18th Annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival where they can experience the sights, the sounds and the natural beauty of birds at the peak of spring migration.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Big Day, May 9
Big Day is the Cornell Lab's biggest conservation fundraiser of the year, as it focuses attention on the conservation concerns birds encounter. It's also a celebration of the diversity of birds as Team Sapsucker tries find as many species as possible in one day.
New Jersey Audubon 32nd Annual World Series of Birding, May 9
More than 70 teams are expected to participate in the 32nd annual World Series of Birding, hosted by New Jersey Audubon (NJA). Teams have up to 24 hours (from midnight to midnight to count as many bird species as they can identify by sight or sound within The Garden State.
The Great Wisconsin Birdathon 2015 is Underway
The fourth-annual Wisconsin Birdathon kicked off April 15 and will continue through June 15 -- all funds raised go to Madison Audubon Society and help with important bird conservation initiatives throughout Wisconsin

Swarovski Announces New Regional Sales Directors
Swarovski Optik North America, a subsidiary of the Austrian-based company, announces the promotion of Greg Enos and Jason Gebhart to the positions of Regional Sales Directors.

5 Years Later: Reflecting on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
In the five years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, Audubon has expanded its network of staff and volunteers at Gulf coastal bird habitats resulting in greater protection for nesting birds.

Missouri Falconcam Offers Bird's-Eye-View of Chicks
Anyone with access to a computer, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection can eavesdrop into the secret lives of the fastest creatures on Earth, thanks to the Falcon Watch partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Ameren Missouri and the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS).
Atlanta Peregrine Falcons on Live Stream
A Georgia Department of Natural Resources camera is streaming live video of a pair of peregrine falcons nesting atop SunTrust Plaza Tower, and viewers can now watch as the raptors start a new family more than 50 stories above downtown Atlanta.

Cotton Carrier Introduces Side Holster with Sliding Tether
Cotton Carrier's Side Holster – long a key component to their popular Camera Vest and Carry-Lite camera carrying systems – is now available individually, and packaged with a sliding shoulder strap with a built-in safety tether.

762 Acres Added to Silvio O. Conte NWR
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with help from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, recently established the Mascoma River Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Canaan, New Hampshire. The 762-acre conservation easement was acquired through a combination of funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a donation from the landowner, Bear Hill Conservancy Trust.

Canadian Ornithologist, David Hussell
David Hussell, who died Apr. 10, was the driving spirit of Long Point Bird Observatory, which he founded in 1960 along with the LPBO committee of the Ontario Bird Banding Association.

Mass Audubon's Annual Statewide Photo Contest
Now in its sixth year, Mass Audubon's popular Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photography contest has become a "must" on the calendar of hundreds of shutterbugs from across the Commonwealth and beyond. The contest runs through September 30.

Missouri Biologists Monitoring Wired Prairie Chickens
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) biologists are using radio telemetry to monitor 20 female prairie chickens released this spring at Dunn Ranch in Harrison County.

Bedford Audubon Society Announces 2015 Scholarship
Bedford Audubon Society of Katonah, NY is announces the availability of its 2015 Marty McGuire Scholarship — up to $1,000 — given in honor of Marty McGuire of Putnam County, who died in a car accident in August 2007.

Endangered Woodpeckers on the Road to Recovery with FWS Funding
A plan to reintroduce red-cockaded woodpeckers at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, where they have not been seen since 1974, aims to boost the nationwide population. Further, it would also be the northernmost outpost of the eastern birds, now concentrated largely in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Greater Sage-Grouse: A Spectacle in The Sagebrush
Year after year, male Greater Sage-Grouse congregate on ancestral strutting grounds known as leks, where they strut about, fan their tail feathers, and swell their breasts to reveal bright yellow air sacs while making a weird assortment of booming, swishing, and popping noises – all to attract a hen.

Zeiss Continues as Lead Sponsor of World Series of Birding
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, a world leader in high performance sports optics, announces its continued sponsorship of the 32nd Annual New Jersey Audubon World Series of Birding, May 9.

Compete in Great Texas Birding Classic
With 100 teams and more than 550 participants registered to participate from April 15 to May 15, the 19th annual Great Texas Birding Classic has 40% more people going out birding throughout the state than last year.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

This wonderful image of an Idaho Sage-Grouse is made even more spectacular with the early morning lighting reflected in the sage and brush surroundings, almost reminiscent of a pastel watercolor. It was submitted by our good friend Jim Foster, who writes: "I went out the other morning with a BLM biologist on one of his Sage-Grouse counts and we went to a lek well before sunrise to photograph the action as he was counting birds. Several of the images were on the dark side, but as the sun rose, the light improved. Here is one of the strutting males in half 'puff.'. It was a great morning!" Technical: Canon 7D, Canon 400mm 2.8 + 2x Extender, IOS 400, 1/200th sec. @ f 6.3. See more of Jim's work at: www.jimfosteroutdoorsphoto.com.

Subscribers are encouraged to submit a unique or favorite photo of a bird, birding event, scenic or wildlife for consideration in an upcoming Birding Wire. Be sure to include a description of the scene, location and other details, as well technical information. Send it to birdingwire@gmail.com.

Help Control Rodents by Protecting and Encouraging Raptors
Juvenile great horned owl. CDFW photo by Phil Robertson.
Rats, mice and voles are commonly sighted around homes and businesses this time of year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages Californians to let nature control rodent populations by actively protecting their natural predators – owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures – rather than using poisons to eliminate pests. Environmentally friendly tactics (such as providing tall trees that raptors favor) will encourage these birds of prey to hang around your yard and remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Bald eagles are known to have used the same nest as long as 35 years. That makes them an excellent long-term control for rodent populations in the immediate area.

During breeding season, a family of five owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! You can encourage them by hanging a nest box on your property, but please don't do that if you or any of your neighbors are using anticoagulant rodenticides. Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Even though the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have restricted public access to the most dangerous rodenticides, all rodenticides – including the types still available to consumers – are poisons that can kill wildlife, pets and children.

More wildlife could be saved if people would use sanitation, removal and exclusion to keep rodents out of homes and reduce their numbers. Like most animals, rodents will congregate and multiply where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage them is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable. Sanitation is the first step to controlling rodents.

For example:
- Keep your home and yard neat and clean. Don't give rats places to hide.
- Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
- Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
- Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
- Seal water leaks and remove standing water that can attract unwelcome animals, breed mosquitoes and waste water.

To remove unwelcome rodents, set traps in secluded areas where they've been seen or are likely to travel: close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners, on ledges, shelves, fences, pipes and garage rafters. In areas where children, pets or birds might go, put the trap inside a box or use some kind of barrier for their safety. Check traps daily and wear disposable gloves when removing rodents from traps. Place them in a sealed plastic bag then into your garbage bin for weekly collection. Wash your hands after handling traps or rodents, even when using gloves.

Once you've removed mice and rats from inside the building, seal the entries they used to get in: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Rodents can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter! Use hardware mesh and concrete, plaster or metal whenever possible. At the very least, stuff stainless steel or copper pot scrubbers, or Stuf-fit copper mesh wool into the spaces. All of these are sold online and at hardware and dollar stores.

If you feel you must use "rat poison," please carefully follow the label directions for all rodenticides. Only use them in small treatment areas indoors or right against building walls in tamper-resistant bait stations, never out in open field or garden areas, where they're most likely to reach wildlife and pets. Much more information and practical advice can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife/rodenticides.

Apr. 4 - May 31
Alaska Hummingbird Festival
Ketchikan, Alaska
Apr. 15 - Apr. 21
Apr. 15 - Apr. 22
Apr. 15 - May 15
Great Texas Birding Classic
Apr. 23 - Apr. 25
Apr. 23 - Apr. 26
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival
Lady Bird Johnson Park, Fredricksburg, Tex.vvvvvvvvv
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival
Point Reyes Station, Calif.
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Apr. 24 - Apr. 27
Balcones Songbird Festival
Marble Falls, Tex.
Apr. 27 - May 2
Apr. 30 - May 3
Orcas Island BirdFest
Orcas Island, Wash.
Apr. 30 - May 3
May 1 - May 3
Indiana Audubon 2015 Spring Festival
Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, Connersville, Ind.
May 1 - May 3
May 1 - May 3
South Dakota Birding Festival
Wagner, SD
May 2
Bird LA Day
Los Angeles County, Calif.
May 3
Herrick's Cove Wildlife Festival
Town of Rockingham, VT
May 7 - May 10
Indiana Dunes Birding Festival
Indiana Dunes State Park
May 8 - May 15
May 9
32nd Annual World Series of Birding
Cape May Bird Observatory, NJ
May 9
May 9 - May 10
Cheyenne Cañon Hummingbird Experience
Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center, El Paso County, Colo.
May 9 - May 12
May 14 - May 17
Tawas Point Birding Festival
Iosco County, Mich.
May 15 - May 17
May 17
Pioneer Florida Museum Hummingbird Festival
Dade City, Fla.
June 5 - June 7
Bird Watcher's Digest Reader Rendezvous
North Bend State Park, Cairo, WV
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