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A SERVICE OF THE OUTDOOR WIRE DIGITAL NETWORK
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
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Submissions to the Birding Wire
Non-profit clubs, organizations and state agencies may submit news free of charge and reach thousands of readers each week. Manufacturers, tour companies and other birding-related businesses may become Corporate Members at a reasonable cost annually and submit press releases and company news. All readers are encouraged to become part of The Birding Wire by submitting items to editor J.R. Absher at birdingwire@gmail.com.

CLIMATE
Mass Audubon Report Links Climate to Species Impacts
Climate could impact many Bay State birds—including familiar species such as the Black-capped Chickadee— over the next 30-50 years, according to Mass Audubon's State of the Birds: Massachusetts Birds and Our Changing Climate.

CLOSURES
Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail Updates
With many sites on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail partially or totally closed to the public, the GFBWT is posting status updates for the 510 sites throughout the state.

DUCK STAMP
Minnesota Artist Wins 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest
Bob Hautman, an artist from Delano, Minn., is the winner of the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, announced by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan at the annual art contest, held at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at the Noel Fine Arts Center.

EVENTS
24th Annual Rio Grande Birding Festival Nov. 8-12
Come meet old friends and make new ones at this 24th Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Nov. 8-12 in Harlingen, Tex.
Become an 'Owl Detective' at Winona Bird Club
Calling all nature sleuths, young and old! You're invited to become an "Owl Detective" at the Winona Bird Club's monthly program, Oct. 4, at the Senior Friendship Center, 251 Main Street, Winona, Minn.
Celestron
BSBO 25th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 30
There is still time to reserve tickets for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's 25th Anniversary Celebration at Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio.

HURRICANES
Audubon Florida ED Reports on Hurricane Irma Damage
Eric Draper, the executive director of Audubon Florida, has issued a statement to members regarding the impact of Hurricane Irma on the state's birds, environment and sanctuaries.

NWR SYSTEM
14 National Wildlife Refuges Affected by Hurricane Harvey
Fourteen National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and Louisiana were affected by Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in late August, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is still conducting assessments as to the extent of damage that the hurricane caused.

PHOTOGRAPHY
S. Padre Island Bird and Wildlife Photo Seminar
Noted bird and nature photographer Jim Foster will lead a photography seminar Dec. 2-3 at the Birding and Nature Center on South Padre Island, Tex.

RECOGNITION
Celebrating a Champion of B.C.'s Fraser River Delta
Bird Studies Canada Board member Anne Murray of Delta, British Columbia, received a Canada 150 commemorative pin in recognition of her contributions to environmental stewardship of the Fraser River Delta.
Employees of Louisiana's Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Honored
Ducks Unlimited (DU) honored present and past employees of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge for their commitment to wildlife and marsh management Sept. 13 at refuge headquarters in Grand Chenier, La.

RESEARCH
Song Experiments Reveal 21 Possible New Tropical Bird Species
Birds often choose their mates based on song, making it a key factor in separating species. However, analyzing spectrograms can only tell us so much—the characteristics that birds hone in on when identifying potential mates may not be the same ones scientists notice in audio recordings.

RETAIL
Nominations For 2017 Best Birding Retailer
Nominations are being accepted for the third annual Best Birding Retailer of the Year Awards, scheduled to be conferred at this year's Wild Bird Expo™, held in Mexico, Mo. Oct. 3-5.

SPECIES
CDFW Offering Free Tundra Swan Tours
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays beginning in November and extending through mid-January.
Big Blue Darter: Cooper's Hawk
The crow-sized Cooper's Hawk is a raptor of the woodlands, with short, rounded wings and a long tail — excellent adaptations for pursuing smaller birds through thick understory.
Arizona's Bald Eagles Expand Breeding Sites in 2017
Arizona's bald eagle population continues to soar as the number of breeding areas expanded statewide and a record 82 young hatched during the 2017 breeding season, according to an annual Arizona Game and Fish Department survey.

WETLANDS
TWRA staff members and commissioners traveled to Saskatchewan to tour conservation projects implemented by Ducks Unlimited Canada and supported by TWRA.
TWRA Increases Contribution to Canada Habitat Restoration

WILDFIRE
Agreement Signed to Protect Owls, Reduce Wildfire Risk
The U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining their agreement to work together to conserve California spotted owls and other wildlife while coordinating wildfire risk reduction measures on federal, state and SPI lands in California.
Sec. Zinke Directs Aggressive Action to Prevent Wildfires
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques.

WILDLIFE
Jaguar Photographed in Chiricahua Mountains Video is Male
Contrary to a misleading press release from a Tucson-based environmental group, biologists from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that a jaguar recently captured on a trail video camera in the Chiricahua Mountains is a male.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


Birding Wire subscriber Kelly Haller of Tijeras, NM, has provided this week's feature photo. "I visited Port Aransas, Texas, this past May and went out birding every morning at dawn. I saw this Brown Pelican grooming at a small dock. I loved the early morning light on him." Technical: Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii with 100-400mm Panasonic lens, 100mm, f5.6 at 1/1250 sec., ISO 200.

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If you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, we urge you to share it with nearly 50,000 birding enthusiasts just like you who subscribe to The Birding Wire. Please send submissions (horizontal preferred) to editor J.R. Absher at birdingwire@gmail.com, and be sure to include details about the location, species and technical data.

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Dauphin Island, Ala. Fourth Grade Birders Receive Binoculars
Editor's note: The following article appeared on AL.com Sept. 19, with story and photos by Michelle Mathews.

All 12 students in the fourth grade at Dauphin Island Elementary School, along with their teacher, Susan Watt, received new binoculars Monday afternoon. (Michelle Matthews/mmatthews@al.com)
Dauphin Island Elementary School is unusual among public schools in Mobile County. The mayor knows many of the students by name. Children ride bikes to school and leave them unlocked. And now, the school's entire fourth grade, all 12 of them, have brand-new binoculars so they can participate in one of the island's most popular pastimes: birdwatching.

After they each received a pair of 8x42 Eagle Optics binoculars Monday afternoon, the school's 12 4th-graders stepped outside their classroom onto a raised wooden deck to try them out. As if on cue, an osprey that frequents a tower standing in the sand dunes swooped in, landing atop the structure.
"This is awesome!" said one of the girls. Several students looked up "osprey" in their brand-new field guides.

Although the students will go on a few birding field trips with their new binoculars in the course of the school year, it's obvious that they don't have to go far to see some interesting sights.

"You could not be in a better spot for birdwatching," said Don McKee, one of the birders who helped fund the gift that was given to Susan Watt's 4th-grade class. The wooden deck just outside Watt's classroom is situated next to a tall stand of pine trees, overlooking the sand dunes that stand between the school and the Gulf of Mexico.

McKee's wife, Dena McKee, had the idea for the binoculars after meeting a woman on a cruise whose teenage son is one of the nation's top birders. "I said I'd love for every kid on Dauphin Island to have a pair," she said.

The McKees, along with Ralph Havard, president of the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries board, and longtime birding enthusiast Eugenia Carey, contributed money toward the gift. Each pair of binoculars cost $100, and the students also received field guides valued at about $20. The binoculars will stay in the classroom until the end of the school year, when the students can take them home.

"Hopefully you'll use them for years to come when you bird-watch," Don McKee told the students. Later, he mentioned that "the best birders start young, when their eyes and ears are good."

He and his wife are longtime birdwatchers who lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast until they discovered Dauphin Island. After coming to the island with their camper for years, they spotted a lot for sale near Cadillac Square and built a small house. They lost their home in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina, and decided to move to the island permanently.

Likewise, Eugenia Carey came to Dauphin Island in 1986 and was smitten. "The first time I stepped foot here, I bought a house," she said. She came back every spring, finally relocating there from Boca Raton, Fla., when she retired in 2004.
"Dauphin Island is in the top 10 birding spots in the United States," McKee told the students when he gave them their binoculars. "I live at Dauphin Island primarily because of the birds. This is a great spot to view them. I'm excited to have young friends out there with me."

Mayor Jeff Collier was also in the classroom for the presentation. Birding, he said, "is a big part of our local economy." He stressed that children also need to learn how important it is to be "good stewards of the environment."

"Maintaining birding opportunities is something worthwhile for us to do," he said. "We're thankful for the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries' donation to the fourth grade."

- Article appears in The Birding Wire with permission of Michelle Matthews and Alabama Media Group

View the article and additional photographs at: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2017/09/every_4th-grader_at_dauphin_is.html

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Sept. 19 - Oct. 3
US Fish & Wildlife Federal & Junior Duck Stamp Art Exhibit
Flyways Waterfowl Museum, Baraboo, Wis.
Sept. 25 - Sept. 30
Fall Bird Banding Class
Wehle Land Conservation Center, Birmingham, Ala.
Sept. 29 - Oct. 1
American Birding Expo
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, Pa.
Oct. 4 - Oct. 5
Oct. 4 - Oct. 7
Alabama Coastal BirdFest
Nov. 1 - Nov. 5
Nov. 8 - Nov. 12
Dec. 2 - Dec. 3
Jim Foster Wildlife Photography Seminar
Birding & Nature Center, S. Padre Island, Tex.
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