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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2015
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Brownells
BIRD FEEDING
Tips for Better Winter Bird Feeding
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that Iowans spend more than $300 million annually watching wildlife, and much of that comes from feeding birds, especially through our cold weather months.

CITIZEN SCIENCE
Marsh Monitoring Volunteering in Canada
Through Bird Studies Canada's Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP), volunteer Citizen Scientists in many parts of Canada survey marsh bird populations and report their valuable observations.

COMPETITION
Rhode Island: BIG YEAR in a Little State
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is promoting a BIG YEAR IN A LITTLE STATE in the spirit of the famous competition. Funds raised through the competition will be used to further Audubon's mission of protecting birds and their habitats through education and advocacy.

CONSERVATION
$10M Forest Restoration Project to Benefit Golden-winged Warbler
A large forest management and habitat conservation effort announced by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will target improvements on approximately 64,000 acres of key habitat in the Great Lakes states with one of the key anticipated outcomes being the avoidance of an ESA listing for the imperiled Golden-winged Warbler.
Brownells
Audubon Florida Applauds State Acquisition
Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet last week approved the purchase of the Gargiulo Land Trust and Bond Ranch properties in southwest Florida - Florida Forever purchases that have been longtime priorities of Audubon and conservationists in Southwest Florida for many years.

DUCK STAMP
Get Your Stamp On With a Duck Stamp T-Shirt
The Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp has created a t-shirt with the 2014-2015 image of the Stamp, showing a pair of Canvasbacks painted by artist Adam Grimm.

EDUCATION
Register Now for Cornell Lab's Spring Field Ornithology Course
It may be cold, but you can "think spring" right now by signing up for the annual Spring Field Ornithology course offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This popular eight-week course is taking place March 25 through May 17 and has been a regional rite of spring for nearly 40 years.

EVENTS
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center Winter Carnival
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center celebrates the beauty and fun of the winter season with a free festival for adults and children Sunday, Jan. 25, just nine miles north of Milwaukee along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.
Cape Ann, Mass. Winter Birding Weekend
Cape Ann is known worldwide for its exciting concentrations of winter seabirds, and the Cape AnnChamber of Commerce, working with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, plans a weekend full of events for all levels of birders.
Duck Stamp
2015 Laredo Birding Festival, Feb. 4-7
Blessed with a rich and diverse river eco-system, Laredo is home to hundreds of species of local and migratory birds, which include our very own prized birds: White-collared Seedeater, Scaled Quail, Gray Hawk, Audubon's and Altamira Orioles, Green Parakeets, Muscovy Duck, Red-billed Pigeon and Clay-colored Thrush.
Carson Valley, Nev. Presents Eagles & Agriculture
Eagles & Agriculture, the Carson Valley's celebration of wildlife and ranching, has set its schedule for its thirteenth year of exploring the interaction between eagles and other raptors and the ranches of Carson Valley.

GBBC
Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count in Canada
Birdwatchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2015.
Here Comes the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count
Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

IRRUPTIONS
A Snowy Owl Sequel This Winter?
Pat Leonard, writing on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds Blog reports that Snowy Owls are being seen and reported on eBird this winter across the northern-third of the Lower 48 states from Washington state to Maine, with some reports of snowies as far south as Oklahoma and Maryland.

NEST CAMS
Berry College Eagle Cam Hits 20 Million Views
It's January, and that means it's time for the increasingly popular eagle nest cams provided by wildlife groups and agencies across the country. In Georgia, the Berry College Eagle Cam reported it has registered 20 million views.

NESTCAMS
Now Showing: Nesting Pennsylvania Bald Eagles
After a successful pilot run in 2014, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has launched its new live stream from a bald-eagle nest, hopefully just in time for viewers to see the laying of the nesting pair's first egg.

NWR SYSTEM
FWS Charts Course for NWR System Growth
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Jan. 16 the final strategic growth policy for the National Wildlife Refuge System through a land acquisition program that secures the highest quality habitats, or those that could be restored to high quality habitats.

ONLINE
New Tennessee Birding Trails Website Now Available
The new Tennessee Birding Trails website, spearheaded by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency state ornithologist Scott Somershoe, provides details on more than 130 of the best places to watch birds across the state.

OPTICS
Introducing: New Steiner Wildlife XP Binoculars
The new Steiner Wildlife XP series roof prism binoculars feature fluoride glass, precision ground Schott lenses and a new Ultra-HD optical system with phase corrected prisms to offer birders and naturalists a wider field of view, true color fidelity and crisp edge-to-edge sharpness.

RESEARCH
Digital and Audio Recordings Help Quantify Shorebird Disturbance
North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit has been studying the effects of a variety of human activities on nesting American Oystercatchers at Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras National Seashores on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Using low cost, low power, digital audio and video recording devices to quantify animal behavior in ways that were not previously possible.

SCHOLARSHIPS
Indiana Audubon Provides Educational Grants and Scholarships
The Indiana Audubon Society (IAS) has set aside grant and scholarship funds for individuals and organizations seeking funding for activities related to Indiana's natural resources - particularly those related to Indiana's avifauna.

SPECIES
Dunlin: Shorebird Susceptible to Habitat Loss
Wintering Dunlin can occur in huge flocks - known as a "flight," "fling," or "trip" - and their coordinated flight maneuvers as they try to evade falcons and other aerial predators are an impressive sight.

STATES
Suspicious Pelican Deaths in Florida Keys
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking information regarding the injuries and deaths of approximately six pelicans in the Florida Keys.
Third Kansas Birding Big Year Competition Begins
Hosted annually by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the Big Year is an informal competition where birders compete to see who can observe the most bird species in Kansas in one calendar year.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


Cold duck, anyone? This Northern shoveler was taking a short break from its feeding and diving at New Mexico's Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month when it strolled in front of Birding Wire editor J.R. Absher's lens. Technical info: Canon 7D, w/EF 300 mm lens, ISO 500, @f-5.6 at 1/1600 sec.

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If you have a unique or favorite photo of a bird (or a birding event), submit it 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.

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'Beginning Birding' Programs May Not Inspire New Adult Birders
by Paul J. Baicich

Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
Why does it seem that every third or fourth birding festival and nature-center seasonal program we see offers a bird-watching session with "Beginning Birding" or "Birding 101" in its title? Do these offerings really inspire newcomers to sign up? Particularly the adult newcomers? These billings might not be the most effective ways to attract people to bird study.

Sometime, just sometimes, the very word "beginning" or "beginner," or even the primer-phrase "101" can be perceived by the uninitiated as a bit of a put-down. Under these circumstances, it might be wise to simply avoid these words. Just because the words have practically become standardized doesn't automatically mean that they are the best.

Besides, what may seem perfect for youngsters may be totally inappropriate for adults.

Consider this: adults may have gone through 30, 40, or more years being generally aware of birds, having watched hours of Nature, having annually hosted a feeding station in the backyard, and being basically aware of the characteristics differentiating herons, hawks, geese, and chickadees. These adults are not total beginners at all.

As bird educators, we should assume that our adult students usually have more-than-rudimentary knowledge when it comes to birds. In fact, it's actually up to us to bring that knowledge to the fore and to call up valuable life experiences and observations. Don't presume that you're dealing with blank slates, empty vessels or worse. It really doesn't help.

Presenting bird-identification skills, birds as a representation of nature as a whole, and bird-conservation issues as people-conservation issues can all be done without dismissing the knowledge already held by adult students. And never assume that bird ID is the only - or even the most important - objective.

Rather than "Beginning Birding" or "Birding 101," you might consider starting with calling the session or class "Breaking into Birding" (a la the Audubon Hog Island camp this year) or "Discovering Birds," or "Birds: Beyond the Backyard," or "How to Know the Birds."

In summary, adults may already know a lot about birds, conservation, sustainability, and responsible stewardship. Start by giving them the benefit of the doubt, and proceed accordingly.


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Formerly with the American Birding Association, Paul J. Baicich edited 14 ABA Birdfinding Guides, and Birding, ABA's bi-monthly magazine, while serving as ABA's Director of Conservation and Public Policy. He co-authored (with the late Colin Harrison) A Guide to the Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds (1997). Paul also has co-led a number of birding tours and workshops to Alaska. Among his many other activities, he has recently worked for the National Wildlife Refuge System as a consultant on issues of popular birding and parallel refuge receptiveness. In addition, he co-edits (with Wayne Petersen) the popular monthly Birding Community E-bulletin. This article earlier appeared in the Birding Education Network (BEN) Bulletin.

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Jan. 20 - Jan. 24
Jan. 21 - Jan. 25
Jan. 24
Nebraska "Flying WILD" Educator Workshop
Wildcat Hills Nature Center, Gering, Neb.
Jan. 24 - Jan. 25
Missouri Eagle Days
Lock and Dam 24, Clarksville, Mo.
Jan. 24 - Jan. 25
Eagle Watch Weekend
Kenlake State Resort Park, Ky.
Jan. 24 - Jan. 25
Tulsa Audubon Society Bald Eagle Days
Helmerich Park, Tulsa, Okla.
Jan. 29 - Jan. 31
Winter Bird Festival
St. George, Utah
Jan. 30 - Feb. 1
Jan. 31 - Feb. 1
SABO Sandhill Crane Workshop
Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, Elfrida, Ariz.
Feb. 4 - Feb. 7
Feb. 6 - Feb. 8
Birds of a Feather Fest
Palm Coast, Fla.
Feb. 6 - Feb. 8
Sparrowfest Retreat
Marble Falls, Tex.
Feb. 13 - Feb. 16
Feb. 19 - Feb. 22
Whooping Crane Festival
Port Aransas, Tex.
Feb. 19 - Feb. 22
Feb. 20 - Feb. 22
Bird Watcher's Digest Reader Rendezvous
Birding Basics and Beyond, Titusville, Florida
Feb. 20 - Feb. 22
Feb. 21
Orlando Wetlands Festival
Orlando Wetlands Park, Orlando, Fla.
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