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West Coast Birders Count Brown Pelicans in 2-Hour Blitz
Nearly 200 citizen scientists and volunteers surveyed California brown pelicans at 179 locations in California, Oregon, and Baja Mexico on May 7 in a first-of-its-kind effort to engage birding enthusiasts across the West coast in a bi-annual survey of this iconic Pacific coast seabird.

NFWF Announces 2016 Gulf Coast Conservation Grants
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced the second round of grants from the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP), totaling over $3.4 million and generating more than $6.5 million in matching funds.

Bolivian Expedition Discovers 1,000th Bird Species
An ongoing expedition in Bolivia's Madidi National Park has recorded its 1,000th bird species, highlighting the park as a hotspot of avian biodiversity. The park is thought to contain more than 10 percent of all the world's bird species.
European Commission Takes Steps Towards Tackling Invasive Species
Birdlife International reports the European Commission has adopted its first list of invasive alien species of EU concern, containing 37 species, the possession and trade of which in the EU will be restricted because of risks and impacts on the economy and the environment.

The Wildlife Society Seeks Editor
The Wildlife Society seeks applicants for the position of Editor-in-Chief for its pre-eminent peer-reviewed publication, Wildlife Monographs. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for coordinating production with authors, consulting editors, TWS Council and staff, and TWS' journal publisher.

Bill Loaded with Riders Targeting the NWR System Passes the House
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5538) loaded with damaging riders that affect the National Wildlife Refuge System,according to the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on NWR System Proposed
The value to Americans provided by national wildlife refuges was highlighted today when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced the agency is proposing to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 13 national wildlife refuges across the United States.

Nature Conservancy Responds to Proposals to Transfer Federal Lands
In response to recent proposals to transfer federal lands to states, Lynn Scarlett, the Nature Conservancy's Global Managing Director for Public Policy said the organization strongly supports the vital role that federal ownership and stewardship of federal lands plays in pursuit of real conservation outcomes that serve both the people and plants and animals that depend on them.

Zeiss eBirder of the Month: Karen Marshall
Karen Marshall of Prince George, British Columbia, has been named winner of the June 2016 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, and drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists containing at least one breeding code during June.

Report: Alaska's Shorebirds Exposed to Mercury
Shorebirds breeding in Alaska are being exposed to mercury at levels that could put their populations at risk, according to new research from The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

FWS Delists Lesser Prairie-Chicken Per Court Order
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fulfilled a court ruling that had vacated its Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision, by officially removing the lesser prairie-chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
Predatory Passerine: Loggerhead Shrike
The husky, predatory Loggerhead Shrike is nicknamed "butcherbird" for its habit of skewering prey on thorns or barbed wire. "Loggerhead" refers to the large size of this bird's head in relation to its body.
St. Augustine Does Its Part to Protect Nesting Shorebirds
The City of St. Augustine, Fla. is partnering with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide transportation to Florida Shorebird Alliance volunteers, known as bird stewards, to help prevent human disturbance during the nesting season.

Michigan Osprey Chicks Fitted With GPS Backpacks
This year, four osprey chicks from southern Michigan nests were outfitted with "backpack" GPS telemetry units, funded by Huron Valley Audubon with donations from DTE Energy and a private donor.
Two Lead-Poisoned Loons Found in New Hampshire
The Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish and Game report two loon deaths from ingested lead fishing tackle have been documented in New Hampshire so far this summer.

Reduced Fall Duck Flight Forecast
Delta Waterfowl has analyzed and interpreted wetland conditions reports from the organization's field researchers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilots who conducted the annual survey of breeding ducks and habitat—and spring pond conditions can be summarized by one word: dry.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

This photo of an agitated Red-winged Blackbird taken during late afternoon May 4 at a marsh in Bristol, Conn. was submitted by Birding Wire reader Fred LaBerge, who writes: "There was a hawk circling overhead and this male was calling frantically to other blackbirds, ostensibly to warn them." Gear & stats: Nikon D7100 with 300mm f4 lens and 1.4 teleconverter yielding an equivalent 420mm. 1/350th, f5.6, ISO 800.


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.

From the Farmhouse to the White House: Bittersweet Birding
Editor's note: A special Birding Wire featured submission this week from Don McKenzie, Director of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, reminds us that all bird and conservation efforts reflect on the health of myriad of species, but moreover, that in the end, it's all about habitat. -JRA

A solo birdwatching trip to an east Arkansas national wildlife refuge last weekend took me physically and mentally away from work's reports, contracts and budgets. Spotting scope and binoculars in hand, I anticipated that waterbirds and maybe even some early-dispersing shorebirds at this Mississippi Alluvial Valley refuge would be the day's features. Instead, the surprise highlight was found among the numerous former crop fields that have been planted with tidy rows of bottomland hardwood trees.

Driving slowly along the gravel road, windows down and head out, listening, I heard an unusual but vaguely familiar bird song. Reflexively braking the truck, I stopped along a large field of young planted hardwoods that sported a robust native herbaceous community between the rows. A minute later the bird sang again, causing my mental hard drive to search its archives… darned if it didn't sound just like a painted bunting, but that seemed too unlikely. I parked the truck, got out, listened and looked. Field sparrows, yellow-breasted chats, eastern towhees, dickcissels, and indigo buntings were singing all around … and a Bell's vireo cut loose close by, the first of the year for me. Finally, as I was about to leave, the mystery bird sang again. I searched more intensely and finally found it, a painted bunting perched near the top of a young oak tree, singing its head off, brilliantly illuminated in the sunlight. I high-fived myself right there in the road because PABUs are rare sightings for me; plus, who could ever tire of seeing them?

That's when the first bobwhite whistled. Then another; and another. I soon counted four bobwhites singing in that same area with the painted bunting along with all the other early-successional songbirds that typically share habitats with bobwhites. Some – such as the painted bunting, eastern towhee, field sparrow and Bell's vireo – have Continental Concern Scores equal to or higher (worse) than the bobwhite's, according to the Partners in Flight Species Assessment Database.

This memorable birding moment was a gratifying example of some of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative's core tenets:
– Habitat still makes bobwhites;
– Create enough of the right habitat in the right locations, and bobwhites likely will come and thrive, as will lots of their songbird neighbors;
– Wildlife managers have the technical knowledge and ability to restore bobwhites, as well as grassland and early successional birds.

This moment also illustrated a confounding dilemma of the societal challenges of bird conservation: the greater bird conservation community long ago decided that public conservation land in this particular region is not intended to benefit bobwhites. Nor migratory birds like painted buntings, field sparrows, or Bell's vireos that share the bobwhite's early successional and grassland habitats. Regardless of its demonstrable management potential for this set of priority early successional habitat species, this land has been deemed to be devoted to bottomland hardwoods and wetlands. With the realization of the planned obsolescence of this ephemeral-by-design habitat before me, the memorable moment turned bittersweet.

In about five years, this quality early successional habitat, and the community of priority resident and migratory birds that it supports at this location, will be gone. Probably for good. Just as planned by the greater bird conservation community's deliberate trade off. And that final song of the last individual among these species at this site will demonstrate another core tenet of the NBCI: unmanaged or neglected bobwhite (and painted bunting, and field sparrow, and Bell's vireo) habitat soon will grow out of it.

-Don McKenzie
Director, National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

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. 16 - Sept. 18
American Birding Expo
Grange Insurance Audubon Center, Columbus, Ohio
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
Oct. 6 - Oct. 9
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