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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2014
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APPOINTMENTS
Bird City Wisconsin Names New Director
Bird City Wisconsin has announced the hiring of Milwaukee-area native Dr. Bryan Lenz as director of its program to recognize communities that work with their residents to make their neighborhoods a better place for people, birds and other wildlife.

BIRD COUNTS
Over One Million Migrating Hawks Counted
The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) celebrated its first annual International Hawk Migration Week (IHMW) September 20- 28, 2014 by tallying over 1.2 million migrating hawks, eagles and vultures at 100 sites throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

CANADA
Piping Plovers in Nova Scotia: Productivity Up, Population Down
Bird Studies Canada's Nova Scotia Piping Plover Conservation Program is reporting better breeding success for this endangered shorebird in 2014 compared to the previous three years.

DESIGNATIONS
Albuquerque Designated as 20th Urban Bird Treaty City
The City of Albuquerque and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that Albuquerque has been designated as an Urban Bird Treaty City.
Brownells

DIGISCOPING
Carson Introduces HookUpz™ Universal Adapter
The HookUpz™ Universal adapter from Carson Optical connects any smart phone to any optical device in seconds, including binoculars, monoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, microscopes, night vision, borescopes & more!

EVENTS
Schlitz Audubon Xtreme Raptor Day Nov. 8
Fifteen resident birds of prey headline Schlitz Audubon Nature Center's Xtreme Raptor Day on Nov. 8, at 1111 E Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, Wis.

NWR SYSTEM
NWRA: Vandals, Not Taxpayers, Should Pay
Under a bill currently under consideration by Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could seek compensation and recover some costs to restore, replace or acquire equivalent resources when refuge property is damaged.
Kenai Refuge Advance Work Saves Houses From Fire
Two fuel breaks created in advance along a Kenai National Wildlife Refuge boundary helped saved thousands of houses and other structures from destruction during last spring's Funny River Fire.
USA Today: Vote for Your Favorite Birding Refuge
USA Today takes advantage of the fall migration to ask readers to choose their favorite bird-watching spot. National wildlife refuges figure prominently in the nominations.
Duck Stamp

ONLINE
New Bird Biology Website Awakens the Sense of Discovery
If just knowing the name of a bird isn't enough, then it's time to make new discoveries at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Bird Biology website -- designed to appeal to anyone who's even a little bit curious about what makes birds tick.

OPENINGS
New Davis Mountains Bird Blind Dedication Nov. 14
Davis Mountain State Park in West Texas will be the site of a Nov. 14 dedication of a $36,000 solar-powered, white adobe bird blind that mimics the historic Indian Lodge's Southwest style of architecture replaced an older blind in the Montezuma Quail Viewing area.

OPTICS
Maven Outdoor Equipment Company Takes Flight
Launching with three flagship products, the B-Series Optics collection, Maven Outdoor Equipment Company focuses on premium performance, great value and an interesting new twist - customized gear!

ORGANIZATIONS
NWRA Names New SE Region Rep
The National Wildlife Refuge Association is pleased to welcome Mark Musaus as its new Regional Representative for the Southeast Region.

RECOGNITION
Doris and Pat Leary Honored for Shorebird Migration Research
On October 17, Audubon Florida presented the Guy Bradley Award to Patrick and Doris Leary of Fernandina Beach, during the 2014 Audubon Assembly at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Resort & Marina in Stuart.

RESEARCH
Study Links Forest Thinning to Water Gains in Southwest
New research by The Nature Conservancy and Northern Arizona University has found that accelerated thinning of Arizona's overgrown ponderosa pine forest will not only help forest health, but potentially yield more water from the forest to benefit the headwater streams and aquifers in the Salt and Verde River watersheds.

RETIREMENTS
Domagalski Steps Down as WSO Christmas Bird Count Compiler
The retirement this year of Bob Domagalski as Christmas Bird Count Compiler for the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, a position to which he had devoted 14 years, is cause not only to stop and say thanks to Bob, but also to reflect on the role the Society has played in this oldest of all large-scale citizen science endeavors.

SPECIES
The Squeaky Wheel: Blank-and-White Warbler
The Black-and-white Warbler is the only member of the genus Mniotilta, which means "moss-plucking" and refers to the bird's habit of probing for insects.

STATES
Meeting Set to Discuss Proposed Iowa Bird Conservation Area
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources invites the public to discuss the proposed designation of the region including Waterman Prairie Wildlife Management Area as a state Bird Conservation Area (BCA) at a public meeting on Nov. 13.
Public Asked to Help ID Maryland Eagle Shooter
Maryland Natural Resources Police investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying the person who shot a bald eagle in Pasadena last month that later died.
Illinois Audubon Society Announces Latest Bird Series Poster
Illinois Audubon Society, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, announces the release of the latest poster in the Illinois Bird series, "Illinois Birds: Volume 4, Sparrows, Weaver Finches and Longspurs."
Record Number of Stork Nests in SC During 2014
A record number of wood stork nests were counted during annual surveys conducted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and chick survival was very high according to Christy Hand, DNR Wildlife Biologist.

Important Southwest Migration Corridor Properties Protected
Editor's Note: There are few more critical - and perhaps more volatile - migration corridors in the Western U.S. than the unique riparian habitat comprising the San Pedro ecosystem in Southeastern Arizona. This week, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, Arizona State Forestry Division and Arizona Game and Fish Department announced voluntary land-use agreements have been reached that will protect more than 600 acres of the Lower San Pedro River. - JRA

Project was top national priority of the Forest Legacy Program

Four private properties linking an important wildlife and bird migration corridor along the lower San Pedro River will be forever protected as part of a partnership between landowners, the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona State Forestry, Arizona Game and Fish Department and The Nature Conservancy.

The properties, totaling 613 acres, include biologically rich riverside forest that is highly threatened throughout the Southwest.

The San Pedro Ecosystem project was selected in 2010 as the top national priority for protection through the Forest Legacy Program, which funds conservation easements on private forestlands that provide important benefits like water and wildlife habitat and have a high potential for being developed.

The voluntary land-use agreements prevent development that could degrade the biologically rich riverside forest, a rare habitat type that is highly threatened throughout the Southwest. The agreements will also prevent pumping of water that could further harm the San Pedro River, one of Arizona's last flowing rivers.

"I've wanted to protect this property for more than a decade, so I'm thrilled," said Nathan Sayre, one of the landowners who signed a conservation easement.

The four properties were some of the largest unprotected tracts of land from the San Pedro River to the Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area. Now these private lands make up part of a protected 10-mile-long wildlife corridor linking the Galiuro Mountains to the Rincon and Catalina Mountains.

The Forest Legacy Program, funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, is a program of the U.S. Forest Service that partners with the states. The Arizona State Forestry Division administers the program for Arizona.

"Cooperation and diligence between private landowners, Arizona State Forestry, The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service culminated in these momentous agreements, which now protect environmentally sensitive and rare riverside forests. We are extremely pleased to have been part of this effort and a member of this exceptional partnership," said Cal Joyner, regional forester, Southwestern Region, U.S. Forest Service.

In exchange for agreeing not to develop their property, the landowners receive an agreed-upon financial benefit, in this case a payment that reflects the development rights they are giving up.

"We truly appreciate the efforts of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. Most of all, we applaud the commitment of the landowners to conserve their riverside forests from conversion to non-forest uses. Through their actions, unique and critical habitat along the San Pedro River will be permanently protected," said Scott Hunt, Arizona State Forester.

Arizona's forests span roughly 27 percent of the state, but forests along rivers are the rarest, most threatened and ecologically important forest type.

The forest along the San Pedro River - predominantly cottonwood, willow and mesquite - provides a migratory corridor of hemispheric importance that supports nearly half of all bird species found in the United States, including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and the threatened yellow-billed cuckoo. Wildlife including beaver, bighorn sheep, coatimundi, javelina, fox, bobcat, bear and mountain lion frequent the river valley.

"Holding the conservation easements through this unique partnership will further the department's effort to protect wildlife habitat along the San Pedro River," said Joyce Francis, Arizona Game and Fish's habitat branch chief. "The San Pedro provides one of the state's most critical riparian areas and the landowners' willingness to participate in conservation now will pay dividends in the future."

This Forest Legacy project contributes to the success of a larger effort that has protected more than 65,000 acres in the San Pedro River watershed from threats such as fractured landscapes and groundwater pumping.

"This agreement will help protect one of Arizona's most important remaining rivers, which provides drinking water for people and habitat for wildlife, including millions of resident and migrating birds that depend on its riverside forest," said Patrick Graham, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Arizona.

The Conservancy, which has worked with partners to protect more than 53,000 acres along the San Pedro over the last 30 years, helped negotiate and coordinate the agreement between the landowners and the agencies.

Said Nathan Sayre: "As a landowner, I'm happy to be fairly compensated for giving up my development rights. But the main reason I'm doing it is the importance of protecting the rare and beautiful habitat on my own property and the larger area."

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The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at nature.org/arizona.

U.S. Forest Service, Forest Legacy Program, which focuses on protecting working forests and is funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, has protected 2.4 million acres of forest land. Landowner participation is entirely voluntary.

The U.S. Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands, as well as other congressionally-designated areas. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The Arizona State Forestry Division provides resources for the prevention and suppression of wildland fire on State Trust Land and private property located outside incorporated communities. The agency also provides services for fire prevention, urban and community forestry, forest stewardship, forest health, utilization and marketing, forest land conservation, and has a wide variety of grants available.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is the state's management authority for more than 800 species of native wildlife - the most of any inland state. In addition to wildlife management, the department also oversees hunting, fishing, watercraft recreation, off-highway vehicle recreation and offers many outdoor recreation-related education programs. Visit the department at www.azgfd.gov.

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Oct. 29 - Nov. 2
Yellow Rails and Rice Festival
Jennings, La.
Nov. 7 - Nov. 9
Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival
Lodi, Cal.
Nov. 8
8th Annual Ohio Young Birders Conference
The Wilderness Center, Wilmot, Ohio
Nov. 8
7th Annual Xtreme Raptor Day
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
Nov. 18 - Nov. 23
27th Annual Festival of the Cranes
Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Nov. 22 - Nov. 23
Toh Bird Festival
Yucatan, Mexico
Dec. 5 - Dec. 7
A Wild Bird Conference
San Domingo Ranch of South Texas
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