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Non-profit clubs, organizations and state agencies may submit news free of charge and reach thousands of readers each week. Manufacturers, tour companies and other birding-related businesses may become Corporate Members at a reasonable cost annually and submit press releases and company news. Our readers are encouraged to become involved with The Birding Wire by submitting items to editor J.R. Absher at birdingwire@gmail.com.

Costa Rica Bird Conservation Boot Camp in March 2018
The Natural Resources Foundation is offering a Bird Conservation Boot Camp in San Luis Valley, Costa Rica., March 11-17, 2018 and led by conservation biologist Craig Thompson.

Authorities Investigating Eagle Nest Destruction in Goose Creek, SC
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources are requesting assistance with an investigation of the destruction of a bald eagle nest in an area of woods being logged near the junction of Crowfield Boulevard and Corporate Parkway in Goose Creek, S.C.

Study: Even Traces of Oil on Bird Feathers Affects Flight
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researcher Ivan Maggini and his colleagues studied how the western sandpiper (Calidris mauri), a migratory shorebird, is affected by small amounts of oil collected from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Registration Opens for November's Rio Grande Birding Festival
Registration for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival (Nov. 8-12) starts August 1, and 12 noon CDT at the event's website: www.rgvbf.org.

Strawberry Plains, Miss. Hummingbird Celebration Sept. 9-11
Organizers of the 17th annual Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Miss. are busy planning this year's festival.

Bill to Ban Certain Pesticides Introduced
The American Bird Conservancy this week applauded a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide the group contends has been "killing birds and poisoning the environment for the past half-century."

ABC: Keep the Santa Ana NWR Intact
A press release from American Bird Conservancy (ABC) details its concern that portions of a border wall might be built through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

Raptor Banding Begins at Cedar Grove, Wis. Facility
The Cedar Grove Ornithological Research Station in Cedar Grove, Wis. will be opening its 68th year of raptor banding Aug. 15.

NBTC, NBCI to Honor Trio During Quail Symposium
The National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) are honoring three individuals, one in memoriam, for their significant contributions to quail science over their careers during the Eighth National Quail Symposium (Quail 8) July 27-28.

Habitat Loss Threatens Eastern Forest Birds
Within the next few decades, human-caused habitat loss looms as the greatest threat to some North American breeding birds. The problem will be most severe on their wintering grounds, according to a new study published today in the journal Global Change Biology.

Vermont: Grassland Bird Populations in Decline
Grassland-nesting bird populations--including vesper sparrows, grasshopper sparrows, bobolinks, and eastern meadowlarks--continue to decline in numbers in Vermont, according to recent surveys.
Piping Plovers Nest In Pennsylvania
Absent as a Pennsylvania breeding bird since the mid-1950s, two pairs of federally endangered Great Lakes piping plovers returned this year to nest in the Gull Point Natural Area at Presque Isle State Park in Erie County.
Rhode Island: Highest Osprey Count in 40 Years
A recent report from Audubon Society of Rhode Island recorded the highest number of osprey fledglings throughout the state since monitoring of the species began in 1977.
Fire-bringer: Hawaiian Common Gallinule ('Alae 'Ula)
The Hawaiian Common Gallinule was once found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but now occurs only on the islands of Kaua'i and O'ahu—mainly due to loss of habitat and invasive species such as domestic cats.
Common Nighthawk Becoming More Uncommon in Canada
The Common Nighthawk is becoming a less-common sight in Canada, where data suggests it has declined by 76% since 1973 and it is now listed as a Threatened species.

Michigan Duck Stamp Competition Aug. 5
The 2018 Michigan Duck Hunters Association Michigan Duck Stamp Competition will take place at Bay City State Recreation Area Saturday, Aug. 5, as part of the 19th annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival.
Maryland: Sunflowers Ready to Bloom at McKee-Beshers WMA
The McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, Md. is getting ready for a burst of color, as 30 acres of sunflowers are expected to bloom within the next two weeks.
Iowa: Three Rivers Wildlife Area Beginning to Blossom
Located in the heart of flat north central Iowa farm country, the small island of prairie known as Three Rivers Wildlife Area is beginning to take shape, just as Roger and Palmer Larson would have wanted.
Indiana: NRC Approves New Nature Preserve
The Indiana Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved Ravinia Seeps Spring Nature Preserve in Morgan County as a new nature preserve during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday at Fort Harrison State Park.
Report Wild Turkey Brood Sightings in New Hampshire
As the summer months continue, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department reminds the public to report sightings of hen turkeys, with or without young, through the Department's online survey at: www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkeybrood.html.

Venezuelan Bird Not Seen in 60 Years is Rediscovered
The 7.5-inch-long Táchira (TAH-chee-rah) Antpitta had not been spotted since 1955-56when ornithologists first recorded and described it. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as Critically Endangered, and many feared it was lost for good.

(Photo: Táchira Antpitta by Jhonathan Miranda)
(Washington, D.C., July 25, 2017) An international team of researchers has solved one of South America's great bird mysteries. Working deep in the mountainous forests of western Venezuela, they have rediscovered the Táchira Antpitta, a plump brown bird species not seen since it was first recorded in the 1950s.

Last year, scientists of the Red Siskin Initiative (RSI) — a conservation partnership between the Smithsonian and several scientific organizations in Venezuela — organized a team to go in search of the antpitta. The team was led by Jhonathan Miranda of RSI and Provita, and included colleagues Alejandro Nagy, Peter Bichier of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Miguel Lentino and Miguel Matta of the Colección Ornitólogica Phelps (COP). American Bird Conservancy (ABC) provided financial support through a William Belton Conservation Fund grant as part of its ongoing Search for Lost Birds.

The team set out in June 2016, knowing that several factors were likely to make the antpitta especially challenging to find, if in fact it still existed. The species inhabits dense undergrowth at altitudes of 5,000 to 7,000 feet in a rugged and hard-to-reach region of the Andes. Difficult to identify visually, the bird differs in coloration in subtle ways from related species.

Antpittas are also easier to hear than to see. But without sound recordings, nobody knew what to listen for.

The researchers had an advantage: They knew where to look. "We followed the route described in the earlier expedition's field notebooks to locate the original site of the discovery," Miranda said.

To reach the remote location, part of what is now El Tamá National Park, the team traveled by foot on steep and narrow Andean trails, with a mule train to carry their gear. From their campsite, the team hiked two hours in the dark to reach appropriate habitat at dawn, the best time to hear the birds sing.

The first day there, Miranda and Nagy detected the distinctive song of an antpitta they had not heard before. "We were thrilled to re-find the Táchira Antpitta during our first day in the field," said Miranda, "and we think they persist in more places we have not yet searched."

Over the next week, the team was able to confirm the mysterious song as that of the long-lost Táchira Antpitta, obtaining the first photographs and sound recordings ever made of the living bird.

"The rediscovery provides hope and inspiration that we still have a chance to conserve this species," said Daniel Lebbin, ABC's Vice President of International Programs. "We hope this rediscovery will lead to improved management of and attention for protected areas like El Tamá National Park."

"El Tamá National Park is an important part of Venezuela's natural heritage and recognized by theAlliance for Zero Extinction as a critical site to protect for the Táchira Antpitta and other biodiversity," said Jon Paul Rodriguez of Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC, the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research), Provita, and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

"Jhonathan Miranda and his RSI colleagues have resolved one of South America's great bird mysteries, and we hope their findings will contribute to a renewed effort to conserve this species," said Lebbin.

In the coming months, the team plans to publish the full details of their findings in a scientific journal, including how the Táchira Antpitta's voice and visual characteristics distinguish it from other similar species. Additional field work is necessary to learn more about this mysterious bird. Similar habitat can be found nearby in Colombia, and the species might also occur there. Better knowledge of the species' vocalizations and the visual identification gathered in this study will help researchers determine the species' full range, ecology and habitat requirements, and how best to ensure its conservation.

"This species was originally described by William H. Phelps, Jr. of the COP and Alexander Wetmore, former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution," said Michael Braun of the RSI and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "It is fitting that the Red Siskin Initiative, in which COP and the Smithsonian are key collaborators, has been instrumental in the rediscovery. We invite those interested in helping us learn more about this species to join us."

The Venezuela search team owes its success to a number of individuals and institutions. Logistical support came from ABC, RSI, IVIC, COP, Provita, INPARQUES, Ascanio Birding Tours, the Smithsonian Institution, and the following individuals: Carolina Afan, Miguel Angel Arvelo, David Ascanio, Michael Braun, Felix Briceño, Brian Coyle, Dan Lebbin, Cipriano Ochoa, Tomás Odenall, Jorge Perez Eman, Jon Paul Rodriguez, Kathryn Rodriguez-Clark, and Bibiana Sucre.

- American Bird Conservancy (www.abcbirds.org)

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

Birding Wire subscriber and photo contributor Kristina Smith of Fremont, Ohio captured this image of a Trumpeter swan and its cygnets using her Nikon Coolpix L830 at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor, Ohio on July 9.


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July 28 - July 30
July 29
High Country Hummers Festival
Eagar, Ariz.
Aug. 2 - Aug. 5
Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival
Cochise College, Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Aug. 5 - Aug. 6
Hummingbird Festival
Mimbres, NM
Aug. 9
Kern Valley Hummingbird Festival
Weldon, Calif.
Aug. 10 - Aug. 13
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival
Riverpark Inn, Tucson, Ariz.
Aug. 13
Aug. 13 - Aug. 19
Hummingbirds of Arizona Tour
SE Arizona Bird Observatory
Aug. 16 - Aug. 20
Western Field Ornithology Festival
Pueblo Convention Center, Pueblo, Colo.
Aug. 18 - Aug. 20
Aug. 19
Aug. 23 - Aug. 26
Aug. 24 - Aug. 26
Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival
Ft. Davis, Tex.
Aug. 31 - Sept. 3
Yampa Valley Crane Festival
Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Sept. 9 - Sept. 11
Hummingbird Migrations Celebration
Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs, Miss.
Sept. 10
Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration
St. Francisville, La.
Sept. 14 - Sept. 17
Annual HummerBird Festival
Rockport-Fulton, Tex.
Sept. 17
Diamondhead Hummingbird Festival
Diamondhead, Miss.
Oct. 4 - Oct. 7
Alabama Coastal BirdFest
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