U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Updates "Blackbird" Depredation Order
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has published a Final Rule that changes the regulation at 50 CFR 21.43 that allows control of depredating blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles, and magpies. FWS has removed the Yellow-billed Magpie from the depredation order. The Yellow-billed Magpie is a species of conservation concern and has suffered substantial population declines. The FWS also has narrowed the application of the regulation from protection of any wildlife to protection of threatened or endangered species only; added conditions for live trapping; limited the circumstances under which depredation control may be done; and refined the reporting requirement to gather data more useful in assessing actions under the order.
Service Proposes Waterfowl Hunting Season Frameworks
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2014-15 late waterfowl seasons. States will select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. According to the Service's 2014 Waterfowl Population Status Report, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season.
In 2014, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service surveyed more than one million square miles of habitat. Biologists have conducted waterfowl surveys in North America for more than 55 years, making it the longest-running wildlife survey in the world. The video report describes biologists' findings as they surveyed the northern United States and Canada.
Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Hunting Seasons
Since the 1952-53 hunting season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has conducted a survey of Federal Duck Stamp purchasers to estimate waterfowl hunter activity and harvest in the U.S. In 1992, the FWS and State Fish and Wildlife Agencies established the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP.) This report presents hunter activity and harvest estimates from the HIP surveys for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 hunting seasons. For more information about HIP visit: http://www.fws.gov/hip/
The Waterfowl Population Status 2014 Report includes the most current breeding population and production information available for waterfowl in North America and is a result of cooperative efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, various state and provincial conservation agencies, and private conservation organizations. This report is intended to aid the development of waterfowl harvest regulations in the United States for the 2014–2015 hunting season.
For more publications and reports visit report page.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 2014 ReportReleased
The preliminary estimate for the total duck population is 49.2 million birds, an 8 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and 43 percent above the long-term average.
The report provides abundance estimates for individual duck species, including the following:
Estimated mallard abundance is 10.9 million birds, similar to last year’s estimate of 10.4 million birds and 42 percent above the long-term average.
Blue-winged teal estimated abundance is 8.5 million, which is 10 percent above the 2013 estimate of 7.7 million, and 75 percent above the long-term average.
The northern pintail estimate of 3.2 million was similar to last year’s estimate of 3.3 million and remains 20 percent below the long-term average.
American wigeon were 18 percent above the 2013 estimate and 20 percent above the long-term average.
The combined (lesser and greater) scaup estimate of 4.6 million was similar to 2013 and 8 percent below the long-term average of 5 million.
The canvasback estimate of 685,000 was slightly lower than the 2013 estimate of 787,000 but 18 percent above the long-term average.
Habitat conditions assessed during the survey were mostly improved or similar to last year as a result of average to above-average annual precipitation.
The 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service encompasses more than 2 million square miles of waterfowl habitat across Alaska, north-central and northeastern United States, and south-central, eastern and northern Canada.
The annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey guides the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Waterfowl population surveys and monitoring programs are critical components of successful waterfowl management and a reflection of the Service’s commitment to generating high-quality scientific data to inform conservation planning.
AMERICAN WOODCOCK POPULATION STATUS, 2014 Report Now Available
The American Woodcock is a popular game bird throughout eastern North America. This report provides reliable annual population indices, harvest estimates, and information on recruitment and distribution are essential for comprehensive American Woodcock management.
Awards for Exceptional Contributions in Bird Conservation
Presented at International Migratory Bird Day Recognition Event
Coordinated by Environment for the Americas, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is a hemispheric celebration of birds and this annual recognition event provides an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of the organizations and individuals who work to protect birds.
The many supporters of IMBD (including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) were recognized. Pictured here accepting the IMBD recognition award for the USFWS is Steve Guertin, Deputy Director for Policy.
Also receiving an award for her contribution is Alicia F King, USFWS Urban Bird Treaty Program Coordinator.
This year the Partners in Flight Awards for Exceptional Contributions in Bird Conservation were also recognized. The 2014 award winners are:
CECILIA RILEY: PIF Lifetime Achievement Award DAN CASEY PIF Leadership Award KEN MEYER: PIF Investigations Award
PRONATURA, A.C.: PIF Stewardship Award
SHEYLDA DIAZ MENDEZ: PIF Public Awareness Award
Also recognized at the event was this year’s Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award winner; the United State Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) Managing Raptor-Human Conflicts to Promote Safety and Migratory Bird Conservation project.
The Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award annually recognizes a single project or action conducted by or in partnership with a Federal agency that meets the intent and spirit of Executive Order 13186 by focusing on migratory bird conservation.
Double-crested Cormorant Depredation Orders Extended for Five Years
The Service has finalized a five year extension of the expiration dates of the depredation orders for Double-crested Cormorants at 50 CFR 21.47 and 21.48. This will allow State and tribal resource management agencies to continue to manage Double-crested Cormorant problems and gather data on the effects of Double-crested Cormorant control actions. The annual reporting date for the depredation order to protect public resources (50 CFR 21.48) has been changed to remove requirements for cormorant control activities around Bald Eagle and Bald Eagle nests for both depredation orders, and requires the use of the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines.
A Final Assessment (FEA) to analyze the environmental impacts associated with this extension has been prepared. The Final Rule, the FEA, and the Finding of No Significant Impact can be found by entering docket number FWS-HQ-MB-2013-0135 at http://www.regulations.gov.
Proposed Extension of Expiration Dates for Double-crested Cormorant Depredation Orders
The Service is proposing a five year extension of the expiration dates of the depredation orders for Double-crested Cormorants at 50 CFR 21.47 and 21.48. This will allow State and tribal resource management agencies to continue to manage Double-crested Cormorant problems and gather data on the effects of Double-crested Cormorant control actions. Also proposed is changing the annual reporting date for the depredation order to protect public resources (50 CFR 21.48), to remove requirements for cormorant control activities around Bald Eagles and Bald Eagle nests for both depredation orders, and to recommend use of the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines.
A Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) has been prepared to analyze the environmental impacts associated with this extension. Comments are invited on the DEA and the Proposed Rule. Comment on either by entering docket number FWS-HQ-MB-2013-0135 at http://www.regulations.gov, or by sending written comments to the address for them in the proposed rule. The comment period closes on April 4, 2014.
Proposed Reduction in Information Collection on Harvest of Light Geese
We have published a proposed rule to reduce the information collection requirements for participants in the light goose conservation order that authorizes methods of take to increase harvest of light geese in the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyways. The change will reduce the burden on State and tribal wildlife agencies that must submit annual light goose harvest reports to the Service. We are taking this action to eliminate information collection and reporting requirements that we believe are unnecessary. You can comment on the proposed rule by entering docket number FWS-R9-MB-2012-0098 at http://www.regulations.gov, or by sending written comments to the address for them in the proposed rule.
Regulations Finalized for Revised Interior Eagle Permit Rule
The Department of the Interior announced changes to regulations enabling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better monitor and address the long-term impacts of renewable energy projects and other activities on federally protected eagles. In addition to these immediate changes, the Service will continue its comprehensive review of all eagle permitting regulations to determine if other modifications are necessary to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.
The Service has published a proposed rule to remove 50 CFR 21.42, 21.45, and 21.46, regulations that set forth depredation orders for migratory birds. There have been no requests for authorization of a depredation order under § 21.42 for many years, and no reports of activities undertaken under § 21.45 or § 21.46 in the last 15 years. Because these regulations apparently are unused, we propose to remove them. Control of depredating birds could still be undertaken under depredation permits in accordance with the regulations at 50 CFR 21.41.
Comments can be submitted on the proposed rule by either one of the following two methods.
• Submit comments to the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket FWS–R9–MB–2011–0100; or
• Mail comments to Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9–MB–2011–0100; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
You must submit electronic comments by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on February 3, 2014. Comments submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than February 3, 2014.
Addition of Control Order for Nonnative species in Hawaii
Nonnative species in Hawaii displace, compete with, and consume native species, some of which are endangered, threatened, or otherwise in need of additional protection. To protect native species, we have proposed a regulation to allow control of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcusibis) and Barn Owls (Tytoalba), two introduced migratory bird species in Hawaii. We also make the supporting draft environmental assessment available for public comment. Both are available at the Regulations.gov website by entering docket FWS-HQ-MB-2013-0070 on the search page.
Because nonlethal methods have been unsuccessful in reducing the problems caused by Cattle Egrets and Barn Owls in Hawaii and because neither species is native to Hawaii, we are proposing a regulation that would allow take by agencies that have functional and/or jurisdictional responsibility for controlling invasive species and protecting native species in the Hawaiian Islands. The control methods that we propose to authorize are similar to measures allowed in other control orders and encompass a suite of techniques that give wildlife managers flexibility in achieving control of invasive species without causing significant impacts to native species.
Comments may be submitted on the Proposed Rule or the Environmental Assessment by either of the following methods.
• Submit comments to the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket FWS–HQ–MB–2013–0070; or
• Mail comments to Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–HQ–MB–2013–0070; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
Electronic comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on February 3, 2014. Comments submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than February 3, 2014.
List of Protected Migratory Bird Species Updated by Service
The Service has revised the list of bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act were announced today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by both adding and removing species. Reasons for the changes to the list include adding species based on new taxonomy and new evidence of occurrence in the United States or U.S. territories, removing species no longer known to occur within the United States, and changing names to conform to accepted use. The list is increase by 19 species (23 added and 4 removed), and the total number of species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is now 1,026. You can view the Final Rule to see the changes and the list in alphabetical and phylogenetic order.
Regulation Revision Allowing Control of Depredating Birds in California
The Service has revised the regulation that allows control of depredating birds in California. The order is effective in Fresno, Merced, Napa, and Sonoma counties. Depredating horned larks, house finches, and white-crowned sparrows may be taken under the order, after the landowner has attempted nonlethal control. Other provisions of the regulation are in the Final Rule. The changes update and clarify the current regulations and enhance our ability to carry out our responsibility to conserve migratory birds.
Service has published a revised definition of “Hybrid” Migratory Bird
The former definition at 50 CFR 21.3 specified that only hybrids of two species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act were protected. The revised definition makes it clear that offspring of any species listed under 50 CFR 10.13 are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—no matter how many generations removed from the wild. This final rule changes the definition of “hybrid” from the definition in the proposed rule to have it more closely correspond to the definition used under CITES and makes it clear that it applies to all progeny of an MBTA species.
New Nontoxic Shot Type and New Coating for Waterfowl Hunting Approved.
The Service has approved copper-clad iron shot and fluoropolymer coatings for hunting waterfowl and coots. Allowing use of additional nontoxic shot types and coatings will add to the array of available to waterfowl hunters. Final Rule. Check here
Champions of Bird Conservation Awarded
at Partners in Flight International Conference
Six champions of bird conservation were recognized in Utah at the Fifth Annual Partners In Flight International Conference last night celebrated the six winners of this year’s PIF awards. These awards recognize outstanding bird conservation achievements throughout the Americas in the areas of communications, innovative leadership, insightful ecological investigation, lifetime achievements, and sound land stewardship.
Service Proposes Continued Liberal Hunting Season Lengths
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing continued liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2013-14 late waterfowl seasons. The annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys guide the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. All of this information represents the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world, and helps provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations. The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.
Recent graduates of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's prestigious "Advanced Leadership Development Program" have honored Brian A Millsap (National Raptor Coordinator U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program) with the Ira Gabrielson Conservation Leadership Award. Established in 2002, the Ira Gabrielson Conservation Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding Service employee making a significant contribution to conservation and reflects the powerful commitment and leadership qualities of Dr. Gabrielson who served as the first Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
5th Partners In Flight Conference Brings The Bird Conservation Community Together
The 5th Partners in Flight Conference brings the bird conservation community together to create a unified vision for full life cycle needs and how to address them with innovative approaches. Bird conservation has been advanced through scientific knowledge and collaborative networks, but reversing bird population declines is still a struggle. Efforts will be helped by hemisphere-wide collaboration, adequate funding, and shared priorities that strategically address the drivers of population declines. The meeting will focus on linking regions throughout the Western Hemisphere, working together in geographic-based work sessions to develop implementable projects. Outcomes from this meeting will help guide future conservation activities by conservation practitioners, educators, state and federal agencies, philanthropic organizations and researchers. http://www.pifv.org/ .
Waterfowl Population Status, 2013 Report Now Available
This report summarizes the status of duck, goose, and swan populations in North America in 2013.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the 2013 Report on Trends in Duck Breeding Populations.
The Trend Report summarizes information about the status of breeding duck populations and wetland habitat conditions during the spring of 2013. This information is a result of the cooperative efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Canadian Wildlife Services’ Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, which samples of more than two million square miles of waterfowl habitat encompassing the primary breeding areas of North America.
The Mourning Dove, one of the most abundant bird species in urban and rural areas of North America, and is familiar to millions of people. This report summarizes information on abundance and harvest of mourning doves collected annually in the United States. Information in this report is used to set annual hunting regulations for the mourning dove.
Private Lands and Private Landowners Are Essential to the Conservation of Our Nation’s Birds
The first ever comprehensive report on State of the Birds Report on Private Lands shows that private lands are used by virtually all of the terrestrial and coastal birds of the U.S., 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered or of conservation concern. The report highlights that these lands have critical conservation value, and that landowners can measure their yield not only in bushels and head and cords, but also in bluebirds, hawks, and canvasbacks.
2013 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
The Service has issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The proposed action of the 2013 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS 2013) is to adopt a process for authorizing migratory bird hunting in accordance the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. §703-712) and the four bilateral conventions. These ‘annual’ regulations include framework regulations and special regulations, and take into consideration factors that change from year-to-year, such as abundance and distribution of birds, times of migration, and other factors.
Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award
Presented to Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DoD) is this year’s recipient of the Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award. The award, presented at the Environment for the Americas International Migratory Bird Day event at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C., recognizes DoDs multi-year Migratory Linkages of Burrowing Owls on Department of Defense Installations and Adjacent Lands project.
Service Proposes Changes to Depredation Order for California
The Service has proposed changes to 50 CFR 21.44, the regulation that governs control of depredating birds in some California counties. The Service proposes to specify the counties in which the order is effective, to better identify which species may be taken under the order, to add a requirement that landowners attempt nonlethal control, to add a requirement for use of nontoxic ammunition, and to revise the reporting required. These changes will update and clarify the current regulations and enhance the Service’s ability to carry out its responsibility to conserve migratory birds. 21-44
Comments may be made by either of two methods. 1. Electronic comments on the proposed rule via http://www.regulations.govby 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on 12 August 2013. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on docket FWS–HQ–MB–2012–0037. 2. Written comments may be sent toPublic Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–HQ–MB–2012–0037; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203‑1610. Written comments must be postmarked no later than 12 August 2013. Please do not submit both electronic and written comments.
Service Proposes Changes to “Blackbird” Depredation Order
The Service proposes changes to the regulations at 50 CFR 21.43 that govern control of depredating blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles, and magpies. The Yellow-billed Magpie is endemic to California and has suffered substantial population declines. It is a species of conservation concern. The Service proposes to remove the Yellow-billed Magpie from the depredation order. The Service also proposes to narrow the application of the regulation from protection of any wildlife to protection of threatened or endangered species only; to add conditions for live trapping; and to refine the reporting requirement to gather data more useful in assessing actions under the order. 21-43
Comment may be submitted by either of two methods. 1. Electronic comments on the proposed rule via http://www.regulations.govby 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on 12 August 2013. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on docket FWS–R9–MB–2012–0027.
2. Written comments can be sent to Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9–MB–2012–0027; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203‑1610. Written comments must be postmarked no later than 12 August 2013. Please do not submit both electronic and written comments.
Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance Module 1 – Land-based Wind Energy Version 2 (ECPG) to help wind energy facilities assess the potential threat to eagles from their operations and develop comprehensive avoidance, mitigation, and compensation strategies. The ECPG is intended to promote compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act with respect to eagles and wind development.
Service Proposes Changes to Nontoxic Shot Approval Regulations
The Service has proposed changes to the regulations that govern approvals of nontoxic shot and coatings for use in waterfowl hunting. The regulations are in need of updating to address questions regularly raised by companies that apply for nontoxic shot or nontoxic coating approvals to provide for withdrawal of alloys that law enforcement officers cannot distinguish from lead shot in the field. The Service has also proposed application fees in accordance with the requirement to recoup costs for providing services.
We invite you to review the proposed rule and comment by either of two methods. You can submit electronic comments on the proposed rule via http://www.regulations.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 3, 2013. Follow instructions for submitting comments on docket FWS–R9–MB–2011–0077.
Written comments can be sent to Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9–MB–2011–0077; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203 1610. Written comments must be postmarked no later than June 3, 2013. Please do not send comments to any other individual or address, and, please, do not submit both electronic and written comments.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee(APLIC) releases the updated state-of-the-art guidance document Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines: State of the Art in 2012. This updated document, originally published in 1994, identifies best practices and provides specific guidance designed to help electric utilities and cooperatives, federal power administrations, wildlife agencies, and other stakeholders reduce bird collisions with power lines. Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines: State of the Art in 2012 document, as well as other materials for reducing bird collisions with power lines is available at www.aplic.org.
Migratory Bird Permits; Delegating Falconry Permitting Authority to Seven States
2012 Update to the Federal Falconry Regulations
States Delegated Falconry Permitting Authority
Beginning January 1, 2013, the States of Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and North Dakota will operate under revised federal regulations. Falconers in those States will no longer need federal permits to practice falconry. See Migratory Bird Permits; Delegating Falconry Permitting Authority to Seven States
Proposed New Approvals Related to Non-toxic Shot for Waterfowl Hunting
The Service proposes a rule to approve copper-clad iron shot and fluoropolymer coatings for hunting waterfowl and coots. A notice of application for nontoxic shot approval for copper-clad iron shot published was published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2012 (77 FR 36980), and one for the fluoropolymer shot coatings on July 6, 2012 (77 FR 39983).
By - U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9–MB–2012–0028/0038; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203-1610.
Submit electronic comments by 11:59 PM on October 26, 2012. Written comments must be postmarked no later than October 26, 2012.
Final Rules Published for 2012 – 2013 Seasons:
Migratory Bird Hunting; Late Seasonsand Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds
Migratory Bird Hunting; Final Frameworks for Late-Season Migratory BirdHunting Regulations; Final Rule
The Service prescribes final lateseason
frameworks from which States
may select season dates, limits, and
other options for the 2012–13 migratory
bird hunting seasons. These late seasons
include most waterfowl seasons, the
earliest of which commences on
September 22, 2012. The effect of this
final rule is to facilitate the States’
selection of hunting seasons and to
further the annual establishment of the
late-season migratory bird hunting
Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2012–13 Early Season; Final rule.
This rule prescribes special early-season migratory bird hunting
regulations for certain tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust
lands, and ceded lands. This rule responds to tribal requests for U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service recognition of tribal authority to regulate hunting under
Early Season Rule Final for 2012-13 Season
This final rule prescribes the
hunting seasons, hours, areas, and daily
bag and possession limits of certain migratory game birds.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announce proposed hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2012-13 late waterfowl seasons. Each year the Service works in partnership with states from the four Flyways to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits. The proposed waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.
The Mourning Dove, one of the most abundant bird species in urban and rural areas of North America, and is familiar to millions of people. This report summarizes information on abundance and harvest of mourning doves collected annually in the United States. Information in this report is used to set annual hunting regulations for the mourning dove.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the 2012 Report on Trends in Duck Breeding Populations.
The Trend Report summarizes information about the status of breeding duck populations and wetland habitat conditions during the spring of 2012. This information is a result of the cooperative efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Canadian Wildlife Services’ Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, which samples of more than two million square miles of waterfowl habitat encompassing the primary breeding areas of North America.
Band-tailed Pigeons are managed cooperatively by State and provincial wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Each year, counts of Band-tailed Pigeons heard and seen are conducted by state, provincial, federal, and other biologists in the western United States and British Columbia to monitor population status. The report information is used by wildlife administrators to set annual hunting regulations.
AMERICAN WOODCOCK POPULATION STATUS, 2012 Report Now Available
The American Woodcock is a popular game bird throughout eastern North America. This report provides reliable annual population estimates, harvest estimates, and information on recruitment and distribution are essential for comprehensive American Woodcock management.
The management objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is to increase populations of woodcock to levels consistent with the demands of consumptive and nonconsumptive users. Long-term trends in the number of American Woodcock heard on the Singing-ground Survey show no state or province has a significant long-term increase.
Council for the Conservation for Migratory Birds Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award Goes to Bureau of Land Management
This year’s Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award winner is the Bureau of Land Management Restore New Mexico. Restore New Mexico is a partnership to restore grasslands, woodlands and riparian areas to a healthy and productive condition. Launched in 2005, Restore New Mexico has become a widely-successful restoration and reclamation program involving numerous agencies, organizations, ranchers, and industry groups. Since its inception, Restore has become a model for rangeland conservation in the western United States.
The 2012 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey got off to an early start in late April, as the first of 12 air crews took to the skies and the associated ground crews began their field work. You can see what the air crews see as they fly fixed-wing aircraft at low altitude (150 ft) over transect lines through waterfowl habitat areas. Over 55,000 miles of transects are flown every year.
Photo Credit: USFWS
That’s like counting ducks in a single line over two times around the world!
These monitoring programs are an important element of cooperative, international efforts to manage and conserve valuable wildlife resources. The Service’s Migratory Bird Program undertakes a number of surveys in conjunction with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Offices, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and State and Provincial wildlife management agencies.
For a front-row seat for the duration of the survey, check out the Pilot Biologist Reports <http://www.flyways.us/status-of-waterfowl/pilot-reports>
Service Extends Comment Period to Revise Eagle Permit Regulations
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comment period on the proposed rule, published on April 13, 2012, to revise the regulations governing permits for nonpurposeful take of Bald and Golden Eagles where the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, an activity. The comment period for Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting will now close July 12, 2012.
Written comments and information concerning the proposed Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting must be submitted by midnight on July 12, 2012. Docket Number FWS-R9-MB-2011-0054.
Leave Fledglings Where You Find Them - in most cases birds won’t need your help. Young chicks who have just left the nest (fledglings) may spend several days on the ground before they are able to fly. Typically parent birds continue to care for them. You can help by keeping people and pets away. If you think a bird is truly an orphan, call a wildlife rehabilitator for instructions. For information about finding a wildlife rehabilitator please visit - http://www.nwrawildlife.org/content/finding-rehabilitator
Bald and Golden Eagles
Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting
The Service is proposing to revise the regulations governing permits for take of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), where the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, an activity. The Service proposes to extend the maximum term for programmatic permits from five to 30 years, if the permit incorporates conditions requiring implementation of additional measures to ensure the preservation of eagles if needed.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) Seeking Public Input On the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Permit Program
In September 2009, the Service published a final rule establishing new permit regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) for nonpurposeful take of eagles (74 FR 46836). These regulations relate to permits to take eagles where the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. The regulations provide for both standard permits and programmatic permits.
This ANPR gives interested members of the public the opportunity to review the regulations and recommend revisions that would make permitting more efficient while continuing to provide adequate protection for eagles.
Congratulations to the Partners in Flight awardees!
Every year Partners in Flight recognizes individuals or organizations who make major contributions to bird conservation. Recognized this year and pictured here with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe are– right to left : Alicia Frances King (USFWS Migratory Bird Program), Ken Rosenberg (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), Lisa Sorenson Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds(Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds), and Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education representative. For more information about Partners in Flight visit http://www.partnersinflight.org/
Comment Period extended for Double-Crested Cormorant Management
Electronic comments via http://www.regulations.gov must
be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 6, 2012. Comments
submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than April 6, 2012.
We have published an update http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-21/html/2011-29829.htm to the federal regulations governing falconry. Beginning January 1, 2012, the States of Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming will operate under the revised federal regulations. Falconers in those States will no longer need federal permits to practice falconry. A number of small technical changes were made to the regulations, mostly to clarify them.
Webinars Recently Offered by National Conservation Training Center
Coordinated by Matthew Patterson, Course Leader
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Conservation Training Center
Migration Physiology of Birds and Bats and Its Relevance to Conservation
Both the flight and refueling phases are physiologically demanding for birds and bats. Aspects of fuel and water metabolism and how environmental conditions experienced during either flight or refueling can affect migration performance are discussed. Also discussed is the physiological approach to assessing stopover habitat quality.
Presented by: Christopher G. Guglielmo, Associate Professor
Department of Biology, Advanced Facility for Avian Research
University of Western Ontario
The State of the Birds 2011 Report on Public Lands and Waters
Each year, the State of the Birds report provides policy makers, conservation organizations, and the general public with important scientific data along with a “call to action” to improve the conservation status of birds and their habitats. The State of the Birds 2011 focuses on birds on public lands and public waters and provides the nation’s first assessment of the distribution of birds on public lands. Join us to explore on-the-ground science focused on birds and their habitats and discover how the report can help prioritize and plan management strategies.
Public Comments Requested for Management of Double-crested Cormorants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is requesting public comments to guide the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment related to the development of revised regulations governing the management of Double-crested Cormorants. Under current regulations, cormorant damage management activities are conducted annually at the local level by individuals or agencies operating under USFWS depredation permits, the existing Aquaculture Depredation Order, or the existing Public Resource Depredation Order. The depredation orders are scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014. This analysis will update the 2003 Final Environmental Impact Statement: Double-crested Cormorant Management in the United States.
The notice of intent can be found in its entirety at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/
Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011–0033.
• U.S. Mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9–MB–2011–0033; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
E-mail or faxes will not be accepted. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.
Join Us for a Birdwalk on October 29 at the Duck Stamp Art Contest
The 2011 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be held at National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This is the first time in the contest’s 61-year history that the event has been held in West Virginia. The winning design chosen during the contest will be made into the 2012-2013 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or "Duck Stamp," the cornerstone of one of the world’s most successful conservation programs.
On Saturday October 29th prior to the Duck Stamp Contest, we will take a birdwalk around NCTC. Meet at 8 a.m. at the West Building – coffee and treats will be served!
Join Alicia F. King from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird Program will and birders from the Potomac Valley Audubon as we tour the NCTC grounds. Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Carolina Wren, Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse are among some of the birds regularly seen at NCTC. Caption: Young birder
Credit: Alicia King, USFWS
Alicia served as a host on the BirdWatch television program for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and hosted the Bird Feature segment on Discover the Wild for Wyoming PBS. Alicia created and appeared as the host on the television program For the Birds for CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Alicia is the author of the Orvis Beginners Guide to Birdwatching and has written many book chapters, magazine articles, and education brochures. She presents workshops to all age groups on bird identification, conservation issues, habitat creation, Eastern Partnership Whooping Crane Reintroduction, and organizational workshops. Alicia is a songbird rehabilitator, bird bander, and is an avid birdwatcher and lives in the Washington D.C. area.
This event is free and open to the public.
Johnson Named New Assistant Deputy Director For Migratory Bird Program
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has named 20-year Service veteran Michael J. Johnson as the new Deputy Assistant Director for Migratory Birds. As Deputy to Assistant Director Jerome Ford, Johnson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in bird conservation, management and policy to the leadership of the Migratory Bird Program, which administers the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; federal migratory bird laws; bird conservation programs and partnerships across North America; and monitoring, assessment and management for game and nongame birds.
Johnson most recently served four years as the chief for the Migratory Bird Program’s Habitat Conservation Division, which coordinates the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; manages the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grant programs; and administers the Federal Duck Stamp Program.
Johnson began his career with the Service in 1983 as a biologist technician working on national wildlife refuges in Illinois. He also has worked in the Service’s Chicago Field Office and as a biologist in the Service’s Fisheries and Habitat Conservation Program in Washington, D.C.
Prior to working for the Service, Johnson worked for the University of Wisconsin and Wyoming Cooperative Wildlife Research Units, and at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota. He has also worked as a waterfowl biologist for Ducks Unlimited.
Johnson grew up in Berkeley, Illinois, and attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, where he received a B.S. degree in wildlife management and biology in 1980 and an M.S. degree in natural resource management in 1984.
Presidential Migratory Bird Stewardship Award Announcement
The Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds seeks nominations for the 2012 Presidential Migratory Bird Stewardship Award. Nominations for the Award are due no later than January 16, 2012 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Nominees can be a single Federal agency, a Federal agency and public or private partners, or multiple Federal agencies. Learn More
Early Season Final
The Early season Rule prescribes final early-season frameworks from which the States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands may select season dates, limits, and other options for the 2011–12 migratory bird hunting seasons. Early seasons are those that generally open prior to October 1, and include seasons in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The final rule facilitates the selection of hunting seasons by the States and Territories to further the annual establishment of the early-season migratory bird hunting regulations. The rule takes effect on August 30, 2011.
FONSI and Final Environmental Assessment, Proposed Hunting Regulations for the Eastern Population of Sandhill Cranes in the Mississippi Flyway
The Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish the 2011–2012 late-season hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds. Frameworks, or outer limits, for dates and times are prescribed annually when hunting may occur and the number of birds that may be taken and possessed in late seasons.
These frameworks are necessary to allow State selections of seasons and limits and to allow recreational harvest at levels compatible with population and habitat conditions.
Comments may be submitted on the proposed migratory bird hunting late-season frameworks by September 6, 2011 by one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011– 0014.
• U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9–
MB–2011–0014; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Final Environmental Assessment Zones and Split Seasons for Duck Hunting
The environmental assessment evaluates alternative structures for zoning and split season guidelines from which States must choose their duck hunting seasons. The purpose of this environmental assessment is to evaluate various alternatives used to control the use of split seasons and zones for duck hunting within States. Zones and split seasons are "special regulations" designed to distribute hunting opportunities and harvests according to temporal, geographic, and demographic variability in waterfowl populations.
What do you do if you find an injured or orphaned bird?
If you come across a bird you think is a baby bird in need of help or an injured bird, the first thing to do is figure if the bird really needs help. In most cases a baby bird may be a fledged bird (just left the nest and is learning to fly) and mama bird may be close by watching the baby. Fledglings are typically adorable, fluffy, and have a short tail. There is usually no need to ‘rescue’ a fledgling bird. It is learning from his parents how to survive and doesn’t really need human help. If you are worried, you can watch the bird for a while to determine if the bird is truly orphaned or in danger.
If there is danger nearby (like a free roaming cat), see if you can put the cat in doors. If you have determined that the bird is really orphaned (you can see that parents are dead) or if the bird is visibly injured you need to call a rehabilitator. Rehabilitators have the permits and training that enable them to legally and properly care for a bird. There are laws that protect birds (most specifically the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and in most cases it is not legal for you to possess a bird. You can find a rehabilitator at http://wildliferehabinfo.org/ContactList_MnPg.htm. A rehabilitator will be able to instruct you about what to do with the bird until they can care for the bird.
Proposed Frameworks for Early-Season Migratory Bird Hunting
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposes to establish the 2011–12 early-season hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds. The Service annually prescribe frameworks, or outer limits, for dates and times when hunting may occur and the maximum number of birds that may be taken and possessed in early seasons.
Comments on the proposed early-season frameworks must be received by August 5, 2011. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011–0014.
U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9–MB–2011–0014; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. E-mailed or faxed comments are not accepted. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON PROPOSED HUNTING REGULATIONS FOR THE EASTERN POPULATION OF SANDHILL CRANES IN THE MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY
Our Environmental Assessment (EA) outlines two approaches for assessing the ability of the Eastern Population Sandhill Crane population to withstand the level of harvest contained in the Eastern Population management plan. The EA concluded that the anticipated combined level of harvest and crippling loss in Kentucky could be sustained by the proposed hunt. Population modeling indicated harvests below 2,000 birds would still result in a growing population of the eastern population of Sandhill Cranes.
Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest
During the 2009 and 2010 Hunting Seasons Now Available
This 2011 report presents hunter activity and harvest estimates from the Migratory Bird Harvest
Information Program (HIP) surveys for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 hunting seasons. These estimates are preliminary, pending (1) final counts of the number of HIP registrants in each state each season, and (2) complete audits of all survey response data.
Photo Credit: Milton Friend / USFWS
Cities Receive Funding to Help Migratory Birds
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces 10 new U.S. cities andnine exiting cities to receive $650,000 in funding as part of the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds (Urban Bird Treaty) grant program. The Urban Bird Treaty program, administered by the Service, brings together private citizens, as well as federal, state, and municipal agencies and non-governmental organizations to conserve migratory birds through education programs, participation in citizen science, conservation and habitat improvement strategies,andreducing hazards to birds in urban/suburban areas.
Jerome Ford Named Assistant
Director for Migratory Birds
As Assistant Director, Ford will oversee the diverse activities of the Migratory Bird Program, which administers the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other federal migratory bird laws, implements and oversees bird management and conservation programs across North America, and coordinates the monitoring and assessment of both game and nongame migratory birds.
Service Solicits Input on Captive Propagation of Bald and Golden Eagles
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting input on whether to allow captive propagation of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles, which is not allowed at present. The Service seeks comments on the following, in particular.
(1) Whether to allow propagation of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles under raptor propagation permits.
(2) Qualifications and experience necessary to propagate eagles.
(3) Limits or restrictions that should apply to propagation of eagles.
(4) Special restrictions that should apply with regard to imprinting.
(5) Whether propagators should be allowed to hybridize Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles with other species of eagles.
(6) Restrictions on purposes for which captive-bred eagles may be held.
(7) Qualifications and experience necessary to possess a captive-bred Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle.
(8) Special facilities requirements for propagation of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles.
(9) Report information that should be required from a permit holder, if any.
(10) Other conditions that should apply to these permits.
Comments and suggestions can be submitted by one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011–0020.
• U.S. Mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9– MB–2011–0020; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
Comments are due by the end of the day October 4, 2011.
Service Solicits Input on Regulation Governing Use of Raptors in Abatement
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting input on development of a regulation governing the use of raptors in abatement. Abatement is the use of trained raptors to flush, scare (haze), or take birds or other wildlife to mitigate damage or other problems, including risks to human health and safety. The Service has permitted this activity under special purpose permits since 2007 pursuant to a migratory bird permit policy memorandum. The Service seeks information and suggestions from the public to help formulate the regulation.
Comments on the following, in particular are welcomed.
(1) Qualifications and experience necessary to qualify for a Federal abatement permit.
(2) Limits on the species that should be authorized for use in abatement activities.
(3) Limits on the numbers of raptors that should be authorized for use in abatement activities.
(4) Qualifications and experience of subpermittees (both those authorized to fly the permit holder’s raptors and those allowed to care for birds).
(5) Caging requirements for birds, while traveling, being transported and held in “temporary” caging for extended periods of time, i.e., multiple birds held in a trailer while conducting seasonal abatement activities at multiple locations.
(6) The use of falconry birds held by subpermittees for abatement.
(7) Any other considerations relating to subpermittees conducting abatement activities under a permit holder’s permit, including their business relationship to the permit holder. For example, should falconers located elsewhere in the United States be allowed to conduct abatement activities in their own locale as subpermittees under a permit holder’s abatement permit? Why or why not?
(8) Comments on what has or has not worked well under existing permits.
(9) Report information that should be required from a permit holder, if any.
(10) Other conditions that should apply to these permits.
(11) Examples of situations where raptors are used for abatement and information or documentation of success or lack of success in accomplishing abatement objectives.
Comments and suggestions can be submitted by either the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2009-0045.
• U.S. Mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: FWS–R9– MB–2009–0045; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203–1610.
Comments are due October 4, 2011.
Migratory Bird Program Loses Pilot in Fatal Crash
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regrets to announce the loss of Thom Lewis on June 23, 2011 in a fatal aircraft accident. Thom worked in Region 9 as a pilot biologist for the Migratory Bird Program. Thom and his instructor were conducting early morning instructional flights on Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County, Florida.
Thom grew up and attended high school in Maryland where he became an avid outdoorsman. Thom attended Anne Arundel Community College, University of Maryland, and most recently Texas A & M University where he was a M.S. Candidate working with Whooping Cranes. Since 1992, Thom was the Refuge Biologist at St. Vincent NWR in the Florida panhandle until he joined the Division of Migratory Bird Management as a pilot biologist in 2007.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Florida Wild Mammal Association
198 Edgar Pole Rd.
Crawfordsville, FL 32327
Our thoughts are with Thom’s family and colleagues.
Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Awarded to the Office of Surface Mining
The Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds’ 2011 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award was presented to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) and their numerous partners at the Environment for the America’s National celebration and recognition of International Migratory Bird Day. The action of OSM associated with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) is being recognized by the Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds in support of the conservation intent of Executive Order 13186, Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds. Through the ARRI, OSM and partners have focused on restoring forests where deforestation by surface coal mining has occurred in Appalachian areas.
Migratory Bird Permits; Changes in the
Regulations Governing Raptor
The Service has published revised regulations governing propagation of raptors (50 CFR 21.30). The final rule made substantial changes in the regulations which are now written in plain language. The following are substantive changes to the regulations:
1. The permit period is changed from three to five years.
Photo: Harris's Hawk, Credit USFWS
2. Until they are one year old, captive-bred offspring may be used in actual hunting as a means of training them.
3. The requirement for reporting within five days on eggs laid by raptors in propagation has been eliminated. An annual report on propagation efforts will be required from permittees.
4. A permittee will not have to submit or have a copy of a FWS Form 3–186A for raptors produced by captive propagation if the raptors are kept in the permittee’s possession under his or her propagation permit.
These changes and others in the regulations are designed to make raptor propagation and compliance with the regulations simpler for permittees.
Proposed Changes to 10.13 Migratory Bird Treaty Act Species List
The Service recently published a proposed rule for revisions to the list of bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Proposed additions include species with new taxonomy and new evidence of occurrence in the U.S. or U.S. territories, and removal of species no longer occur in the U.S. is being proposed. The net increase of 19 species (23 added and four removed) brings the total number of species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to 1,026. Comments on the proposed changes must be submitted by the end of the day on 25 July. Comments may be may submitted by either one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2010–0088.
• U.S. Mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9– MB–2010–0088; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203– 1610.
State of the Birds 2011 Report on Public Lands and Waters Released
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman today released the 2011 State of the Birds Report, the nation’s first assessment of birds on lands and waters owned by the American people. The report concludes that America’s public lands and waters, ranging from national wildlife refuges to national parks to national forests, offer significant opportunities to halt or reverse the decline of many species. More than 1,000 bird species inhabit the U.S., 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered, or of conservation concern. The report provides a scientific tool to help public agencies identify the most significant conservation opportunities in each habitat.
Environmental Assessment Zones and Split Seasons for Duck Hunting
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes to establish annual hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds for the 2011-12 hunting season. The Service annually prescribe outside limits (frameworks) within which States may select hunting seasons. This proposed rule provides the regulatory schedule, describes the proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2011-12 duck hunting seasons, requests proposals from Indian Tribes that wish to establish special migratory game bird hunting regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands, and requests proposals for the 2013 spring and summer migratory bird subsistence season in Alaska. Migratory game bird hunting seasons provide opportunities for recreation and sustenance; aid Federal, State, and Tribal governments in the management of migratory game birds; and permit harvests at levels compatible with migratory game bird population status and habitat conditions.
Comments on the proposed changes to the zone and split season guidelines for duck hunting and the associated draft environmental assessment on or before May 15, 2011.
To make comments visit: http://federalregister.gov/a/2011-8404
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released two documents to help employees and wind industry work together to site and design on-shore wind energy facilities. These documents, when finalized, will shape the Service’s efforts to protect the nation’s landscapes and wildlife while wind energy development moves forward. The two documents are:
Draft Voluntary Wind Energy Guidelines for industry to avoid and minimize impacts to federally protected migratory birds and bats and other impacted wildlife resulting from site selection, construction, operation and maintenance of land-based, wind energy facilities.
Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance for wind project developers and Service employees who must evaluate impacts from proposed wind energy projects to eagles protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and other federal laws.
Presidental Migratory Bird Stewardship Award Annoucement
The Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds seeks nominations for the 2011 Presidential Migratory Bird Stewardship Award (Award). The Award will annually recognize a single project or action conducted by or in partnership with a Federal agency that meets the intent and spirit of the Executive Order by focusing on migratory bird conservation. Actions may involve reducing existing or potential adverse impacts to migratory birds and their habitats, restoring or enhancing migratory bird habitat, and incorporating conservation of migratory birds and their habitat into agency plans, guidance, or other activities. Nominated action or project must have been initiated no earlier than January 2001. Nominations for the Award are due no later than March 1, 2011.
Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) from December 14 through January 5th.
You can be one of those volunteers!
For over one hundred years, people have participated in the CBC to make a difference for science and bird conservation and to experience the beauty of nature.
For more information visit http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count
Photo Credit: Lisa Sorenson
Kids Count, too!
Across the country kids are being encouraged to participate in a Christmas time count specific for getting kids interested in birds and citizen science. You can organize an event to help encourage kids to enjoy the out of doors and the wonder of birds.
For more information about organizing an event – visit – CBC 4 KIDS
The Service has changed the regulations governing control of depredating blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows, and magpies at 50 CFR 21.43.
Because of long-term evidence of population declines throughout much of their ranges, the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) and the Mexican (Tamaulipas) Crow (Corvus imparatus) have been removed from the list of species that may be controlled under a depredation order. After this regulations change is effective, a depredation permit will required to conduct control actions to take either of these species. Additionally, nontoxic shot or bullets must be used in most cases when a firearm is used to control any species listed under the order. A requirement to report on control actions taken under the order has also been added. Final rule.
Rusty Blackbird, Credit USFWS
Service Announces Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds Challenge Grants
The Service announces the availability of new challenge funding grants for nine new cities under the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds (Urban Bird Treaty). The Service will also revisit the current nine Urban Bird Treaty cities with challenge grant funds to continue their participation in the program. The Urban Bird Treaty program, a program working with cities and partners to conserve birds through education, hazard reductions, conservation actions, and conservation and habitat improvement strategies in urban/suburban areas, is designed to help municipal governments educate their citizens about birds and conserve birds that nest, overwinter or migrate through their cities. Urban Bird Treaty
Proposed Educational Use Regulations
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing permit regulations to authorize the possession and use of migratory birds in educational programs and exhibits.The proposed rule also would revise existing regulations authorizing public exhibition of eagles. In addition, it would remove the permit exemption for some public institutions for possession of live migratory birds and migratory bird specimens, and clarify that birds held under the exemption must be used for conservation education. For a copy of the proposed regulations, click here.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program Announces Receipt of New Aircraft
On July 30, 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Management program announced the receipt of nine new Kodiak float planes during the EAA AirVenture aviation show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. These larger and more powerful turbine-driven, amphibious Kodiak planes will replace older and smaller aircraft currently used to fly traditional migratory bird surveys across North America. They represent a better tool to carry on the Service’s mission of monitoring and managing waterfowl populations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the setting of annual regulations permitting the hunting of migratory birds.
The Service uses the annual process to evaluate and establish a framework for hunting seasons and numbers of birds which may be taken in each of four flyways across the nation. Waterfowl and other bird species are hunted for food and recreation through regulations set each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with state fish and wildlife agencies. The draft SEIS proposes to adjust the process for authorizing migratory bird hunting in accordance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Act) of 1918. The Service is requesting comments before March 26th, 2011 on the alternatives described in the draft SEIS and all agencies, organizations, and individuals are invited to provide comments along with any suggestions for improving the draft SEIS.
Saving our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation
May 11th, 2010, the governments of United States, Canada, and Mexico, on behalf of Partner in Flight organizations, announced the release of a ground-breaking report articulating tri-national priorities for bird conservation. The report, Saving our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation, was unveiled at the XVth Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management annual meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The report - a collaboration by bird conservation experts from the three nations’ leading conservation PIF organizations– is the first comprehensive conservation assessment of bird species in North America. Release of this report also coincides with International Migratory Bird Day 2010, which celebrates the power of bird partnerships, was observed on May 8.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico share 882 native landbird species, more than one-third of which depend substantially on all three countries each year. The report identifies 148 bird species in need of immediate conservation
attention because of their highly threatened and declining populations and the threats they face.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Supporting Response to Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is participating in a unified command response to the April 20 incident in the Gulf of Mexico involving the Transocean drilling Rig Deep Water Horizon. For updates on the spill and response team activities, go to: www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
Potential Threats to Bird Life along the Gulf Coast
The greatest threat to bird life would be to species which nest along the barrier islands, beaches, and shorelines along the Gulf Coast. Potential species at risk include sandwich tern, royal tern, least tern, Forster's tern, caspian tern, brown pelican, and black skimmer. Birds would be most susceptible to being oiled while foraging for fish and other food items in the open Gulf waters or near nesting sites. Nesting sites/colonies could also be at risk if storm tides push oiled water over barrier islands or beaches where those birds typically nest.
Several species of birds found in interior marsh areas could also be impacted if oiled water moves farther inland. Potential species at risk include great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, mottled duck, clapper rail, king rail, and common moorhen. Those species would also be at greatest risk while foraging in oiled water.
The longer oiled water persists, greater numbers of hatchlings and fledglings of the above species would be present and would be particularly vulnerable. Individuals are urged not to attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the toll free number.
Oiled birds and other wildlife should be reported by calling 1-866-557-1401.
National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management Sign Memoranda of Understandings with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
These MOUs help accomplish the Executive Order 13186, “Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds” ensuring Agencies successfully implement their migratory bird conservation responsibilities.The conservation of birds will help sustain ecological integrity and ecosystem services, including insect control, pollination, and seed dispersal. Migratory bird conservation also meets the growing public demand, and need, for outdoor education and recreation. More Information
Paul Schmidt Awarded the Partners in Flight 20th Champion of Bird Conservation Award
For his tireless leadership, extraordinary vision, andpersistence in the development of Partners in Flight, Paul R. Schmidt received the Champion of Bird Conservation Award at the Partners in Flight 20th Anniversary Celebration held at the 75th Annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference on March 23.
Paul Schmidt Assistant Director Migratory Bird Program accepts award for outstanding contributions to Partners in Flight. Photo Credit: Junior D. Kerns.
Division of Migratory Bird Management Branch of Population and Habitat Assessment Receives Rachel Carson Award
The Rachel Carson awards are bestowed on individuals and groups providing key scientific support for new and innovative conservation initiatives and efforts on behalf of Federal, State, and private conservation organizations. The awards are given in two categories – individual and group. The group award was given to the Branch of Population and Habitat Assessment, an organizational component within the Service’s Division of Migratory Bird Management. The awards recognize Service employees for significant contributions expanding knowledge in the scientific, conservation and wildlife management fields.
The Branch of Population and Habitat Assessment work over the years has contributed significantly to numerous scientific and technical achievements in the management of waterfowl and other migratory birds, successes that have been widely recognized throughout the wildlife research and management communities. Branch staff has played a major role in making major improvements in the way migratory waterfowl populations are managed since its inception in the 1980’s. Supplying critical scientific and technical support for virtually all areas of migratory bird management at one time or another, branch staff was pivotal in the development and implementation of adaptive management through regulations on harvest of migratory waterfowl since the 1990s, a program which has gained widespread support and recognition from the conservation and wildlife management communities at all levels.
State of the Birds 2010 Report on Climate Change
The State of the Birds 2010 Report on Climate Change is our nation’s first comprehensive assessment of the vulnerability of nearly 800 bird species to climate change. The report shows that climate change will have an increasingly disruptive effect on bird species in all habitats. This 2010 report outlines conservation actions that will be important as biological planning and design of large-scale conservation efforts are advanced. The Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, Land Conservation Cooperatives, and public/private partnerships for the conservation of birds, and the actions outlined in every State's State Wildlife Action Plan will be important tools as we tackle the additional threats climate change will place on the birds of our nation. When conservationists can detect problems early enough, they can prevent extinction.
After consultation with their families and friends, Region One has arranged for memorial tributes to FWS pilot-biologist Ray Bentley, 52, and former FWS biologist Dave Pitkin, 49, who were killed January 17, 2010 when their plane crashed near Corvallis, Oregon. Ray and Dave were participating in the mid-winter inventory of waterfowl along the Washington and Oregon coast and were returning to Corvallis when the crash occurred. The tributes will honor their lives, careers and their dedication to wildlife conservation. More Information
CFR 10.13 - List of Migratory Birds
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revised the List of Migratory Birds by both adding and removing numerous species. Reasons for the changes to the list include correcting misspellings, adding species based on new evidence of occurrence in the United States or U.S. territories, removing species no longer known to occur within the United States, and changing names based on new taxonomy. An accurate and up-to-date list of species protected by the MBTA is essential for regulatory purposes.
The Muscovy Duck now occurs naturally in southern Texas, so it has been added to the list of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (50 CFR 10.13). This species has been introduced in other areas throughout the U.S. where it is an exotic species, and it is widely raised in captivity for food.
To control the spread of Muscovy Ducks in areas outside their natural range, the Service also published a Control Order (50 CFR 21.54) that allows control of feral Muscovy Ducks, their nests, and eggs in areas outside their natural range (50 CFR 21.54). Other regulations finalized at the same time as the listing and Control Order that restrict possession of Muscovy Ducks and require a permit to sell captive-bred Muscovy Ducks for food will not be administered at this time because the Service plans to revise those regulations in the near future.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has changed the regulations governing control of depredating or introduced migratory birds. The Purple Swamphen is not native to any State, and competes with native species. However, it has been added to the list of species protected under our Migratory Bird Treaty Act obligations because it occurs naturally in American Samoa. The Service has added § 21.53 to allow removal of Purple Swamphens in the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Dave Sharp, Service’s Flyway Representative to the Central Flyway, Receives Meritorious Service Award
At the Service Regulations Committee on February 3rd in Denver, Colorado, Dave Sharp received the Meritorious Service Award for accomplishments attained during his 32 years of service working with migratory birds. Sharp has been the Service’s Flyway Representative to the Central Flyway since 1990. He was recognized for his extensive work with migratory bird monitoring programs and for working collaboratively with the Central Flyway on myriad and sometimes controversial issues. Sharp was also recognized for his work on the Mitchell bill, which ultimately resulted in the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Additionally, Sharp recently worked on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the hunting of migratory birds, which will be used to guide harvest management years into the future. Paul Schmidt, Assistant Director for Migratory Birds, presented the award to Sharp and the venue provided many of Sharp’s colleagues to congratulate him for receiving this honor the second-highest award that an individual may receive from the Department of Interior.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Suffers Great Loss
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot-biologist Vernon Ray (Ray) Bentley, 52, (left) and co-pilot David Sherwood (Dave) Pitkin, 49, (below) were killed January 17th when their plane crashed near Corvallis, Oregon.
The two pilots were participating in the Mid-winter Inventory of waterfowl along the Oregon coast and were returning to Corvallis when the crash occurred. Every winter, select teams of Service pilot-biologists and observers take to the skies to survey North America’s waterfowl during January in one of the oldest wildlife surveys, dating back to the 1930s.
The Service has approved an additional shot type, Tungsten-Iron-Fluoropolymer, as nontoxic for hunting waterfowl and coots. The Final Rule for this shot type was published on 20 October 2009.
Uncommon seabird nests successfully for first time in United States
Biologists visiting Matinicus Rock, an island managed as part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, discovered a fledgling age Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) this month. This is the first time that a chick has been known to fledge, or reach an age when it leaves its nest, in the U.S.
Permit Program in Final Rule for Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule on two new permit regulations that would allow for the take of eagles and eagle nests under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act).
Bald Eagles were removed from the endangered species list in June 2007 because their populations recovered sufficiently. However, the protections under the Eagle Act continue to apply. When the Bald Eagle was delisted, the Service proposed regulations to create a permit program to authorize limited take of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles where take is associated with otherwise lawful activities.
City of Philadelphia Receives Grant for Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds
On August 13th at “Zoo Night” during American Ornithologists Union’s annual meeting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced $70,000 in grant funding as part of the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds to the City of Philadelphia. The Treaty, a partnership between the Service, the City of Philadelphia, and Fairmount Park is a commitment to restore, conserve and protect valuable bird habitat within Philadelphia’s urban environment and to develop an informed public through education and training programs.
The Division of Migratory Bird Management announces the availability of Birds of Conservation Concern 2008.This publication identifies species, subspecies, and populations of migratory and nonmigratory birds in need of additional conservation actions. We hope to stimulate coordinated and collaborative
proactive conservation actions among Federal, State, tribal, and private partners. The species that appear in Birds of Conservation Concern 2008 are deemed to be the highest priority for conservation actions. We anticipate that the document will be consulted by Federal agencies and their partners prior to undertaking cooperative research, monitoring, and management actions that might directly or indirectly affect migratory birds. The Notice of Availability.