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Don't forget to send information for your upcoming birding event or festival for inclusion in The Birding Wire calendar. Non-profit clubs, organizations and state agencies may submit news and announcements free of charge and reach more than 45,000 eager requestors every week. Manufacturers, tour companies and other birding-related businesses may become Corporate Members at a reasonable cost annually and submit press releases and company news. Our readers are encouraged to participate in The Birding Wire by sending items to birdingwire@gmail.com.

Crane Trust Introduces Excursion Program
In addition to one-of-a-kind experiences during the great migration of the Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska, the Crane Trust has introduced a new VIP Excursion Program providing guests with unique ways to experience the prairie.

Birds of New Hampshire & Vermont, by Stan Tekiela
Make bird watching in New Hampshire and Vermont even more enjoyable with Stan Tekiela's famous field guide, featuring 130 species, organized by color for ease of use.

USDA Commits $328 Million for Gulf Coast Restoration
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will commit $328 million over a three year period for conservation on private lands designed to improve water quality in the Gulf region.
$5.18 Million in Grants for Great Lakes Restoration
Sustain Our Great Lakes partners have announced $5.18 million in grant funding for 19 ecological restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin to sustain, restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin through a focus on restoring coastal wetland habitat and improving the quality and connectivity of streams and riparian habitat.

Free First Lesson in New Bird Biology Course
Anyone with an interest in birds will broaden their understanding of these complex and beautiful creatures with a brand-new course just released by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a college-level, self-paced course called Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology.

Colorado Owl Festival Oct. 7-8
Join the Nature & Raptor Center of Pueblo, Mountain Park Environmental Center, Pueblo City-County Library District, Pueblo Zoo, Arkansas Valley Audubon Society, and Lake Pueblo State Park for a weekend of all things owl.
Florida Birding and Nature Festival Oct. 13-16
The Florida Birding and Nature Festival returns to Tampa Bay, Oct. 13-16 at the Hillsborough Community College, South Shore Campus in Ruskin, thanks to Tampa Audubon, Hillsborough County and a host of community partners.

National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 8-15
National Wildlife Refuge Week, celebrated each year during the second full week of October, is a great time to visit a national wildlife refuge to hike, fish, paddle or just delight in nature.

NBCI Announces Agreement with National Park Service
Bobwhites, native plant species and pollinators have a new ally in their corner with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) and the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service (NPS).
Connecticut Audubon Names Interim Director at Glastonbury Center
The Connecticut Audubon Society is embarking on improvements to its Center at Glastonbury, naming a new interim director and undertaking a series of renovations designed to enhance the experience for the thousands of visitors it receives each year.

Terry Kohler, Wisconsin Crane Conservationist
The International Crane Foundation reports this week of the passing of Terry Kohler on Sept. 20, a Wisconsin conservationist who for years used his corporate jet to transport to Wisconsin hatching eggs of Trumpeter Swans from Alaska and of Whooping Crane eggs from northern Canada for hatching, rearing and releases into Wisconsin.

New Evidence for California Condors' Genetic Bottleneck
he researchers behind a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications analyzed samples from condor museum specimens dating back to the 1820s and found that the historical population was surprisingly diverse, but that a substantial amount of that diversity was lost in the last two centuries.

Northern Auk: Thick-billed Murre
The sturdy, black-and-white Thick-billed Murre is one of the largest living members of the Alcidae, a family of seabirds that also includes the Tufted Puffin and Marbled Murrelet.

Maine IFW, Portland Ask Public To Call About Birds
Over the past three weeks, 36 dead juvenile herring gulls were collected at Deering Oaks Park by the City of Portland, Maine.
Proposal to Remove Osprey from Pennsylvania Threatened List
The osprey, which in recent decades has seen an increasing population and distribution in Pennsylvania, soon could be removed from the state's list of threatened species.

Poll: Public Wants More Protection of Birds from Wind Farms
According to a poll released this week by the National Audubon Society, 65 percent of registered voters would support regulations requiring wind farms to minimize harm to birds including Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

This pair of Wilson's Plovers was photographed during low tide at Georgia's Jekyll Island earlier this summer by Birding Wire subscriber Ken Dunwoody of Marietta, Ga. Technical: Gear: Nikon D7200 camera, Nikkor 300mm f4E PF lens, ISO 1,000, aperture 7.1, shutter speed 1/4,000.


Birding Wire readers, if you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, we urge you to share it with thousands of our subscribers. Please send submissions to birdingwire@gmail.com, and be sure to include details about the location, species and technical data.

Citizen Scientists Gather Critical Nightjar Data
Chuck-will's widow on nest in Virginia. Photo by Bart Paxton.
Long before the indoor pursuits of video games, the internet and social media filled the evenings of many Americans, the simple summer pleasure of sitting outdoors at sunset and hearing the night sounds rise from the darkness was common. One highlight of this evening experience was hearing the distinctive calls of whip-poor-wills and nighhawks echoing, almost eerily, across the darkened landscape as the birds identified their territories.

Throughout the continent, fewer birds collectively known as Nightjars are heard today, and it's not just because people are listening less, explains Bryan Watts of the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB).

Nightjars, or goatsuckers, are an enigmatic group of birds in North America. Compared to many other bird species, very little is known about the basic aspects of their biology, habitat use and population status due to their cryptically nocturnal lifestyle.

In recent years, conservationists and the general public have come to share a general sense that populations of Nightjars are dramatically declining. However, there were no standardized data available to help describe these changes or to help with reversing population losses.

In 2007, The Center for Conservation Biology called on citizen scientists to help fill the information gap with nightjars by initiating the Nightjar Survey Network. As a result, an army of birdwatchers, agency biologists, and nightjar lovers have volunteered during the wee hours of the night to conduct standardized surveys of routes across North America. The effort has resulted in the most comprehensive database to date on the group.

With the 2016 survey year now complete, the CCB reported this week that a total of more than 23,000 nightjars of nine species have been recorded. Over the next year, CCB biologists will begin to explore the database for spatial and temporal patterns that will help with future nightjar management. Moving forward, it is hoped to expand the volunteer base and survey network into additional areas that have received little coverage.

According to the CCB, nocturnal behaviors of Nightjars and activities such as calling and foraging increase under bright moonlight conditions and it is thought that breeding may actually be timed with the lunar schedule. The survey is designed utilizing protocols to take advantage of these behaviors by conducting surveys only during bright moonlit nights so detection rates will be higher and more consistent.

Nightjar surveys are easy to perform and take about two hours to complete. Volunteers conduct roadside counts at night, on scheduled bright moonlit nights, by driving and stopping at 10 points along a predetermined 9-mile route. At each point, the observer counts all Nightjars seen or heard during a 6-minute period. No artificial broadcast of the species call is utilized.

The Nightjar Survey Network is made possible by the great open source projects Ruby on Rails and WordPress, and hosted by Heroku and the College of William and Mary. Map visualizations are made possible by Google Maps and Google Fusion Tables. The Nightjar Survey Network was designed by Howell Creative Group. Application development was provided by Solertium.

To learn more about participating in the Nightjar Survey Network, go to: http://www.nightjars.org and http://www.ccbbirds.org/.

- J.R. Absher, The Birding Wire

Sept. 22 - Sept. 29
Fall Birding Days
Little St. Simons Island, Ga.
Sept. 27 - Sept. 29
Sept. 28 - Oct. 2
41st Annual Western Field Ornithologists' Conference
River Lodge Center, Fortuna, Calif.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 2
Delmarva Paddling Weekend
Laurel, Del. and Snow Hill, Md.
Oct. 1
Oct. 5 - Oct. 7
2016 State of Stopover Symposium
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
Oct. 6 - Oct. 9
Oct. 7 - Oct. 8
Colorado Owl Festival
Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, Pueblo, Colo.
Oct. 8 - Oct. 9
Michigan Audubon Cranefest
Berenard A. Baker Bird Sanctuary, Bellevue, Mich.
Oct. 9 - Oct. 15
National Wildlife Refuge Week
Oct. 13 - Oct. 16
Florida Birding and Nature Festival
Hillsborough Community College, Ruskin, Fla.
Oct. 16 - Oct. 22
"Ding" Darling Days
Sanibel Island, Fla.
Oct. 18 - Oct. 23
Oct. 21 - Oct. 23
Oct. 27 - Oct. 29
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Annual Meeting
Stoney Creek Hotel, Rothschild, Wis.
Nov. 2 - Nov. 6
Nov. 2 - Nov. 6
Nov. 11 - Nov. 13
California Swan Festival
Marysville, Calif.
Nov. 14 - Nov. 20
Nov. 19 - Nov. 20
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