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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 free of charge and reach thousands 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. Our readers are rigorously encouraged to become part of The Birding Wire by sending items to birdingwire@gmail.com.

2017 Caribbean Waterbird Census Underway
Join BirdsCaribbean in helping to conserve Caribbean waterbirds by counting birds at your local wetland or beach between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3, 2107.

Monarch Butterfly Conservation Efforts Expanded
The monarch butterfly is a new national priority species of Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

New Mexico Man Pleads Guilty to MBTA Violations
Wayne Martin, 45, a member and resident of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for offering to sell three hawks without previously obtaining permission from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Reward Offered for Information in Indiana Whooping Crane Shooting
Indiana Conservation Officers have partnered with Indiana Turn in a Poacher, Friends of Goose Pond, and the International Crane Foundation to offer a reward of $6,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for killing a Whooping Crane in Greene County, Indiana in early January.

Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Poster Unveiling Jan. 27
The third annual Indiana Dunes Birding Festival will officially unveil its 2017 festival poster at a special Birds and Brews event held at the Speakeasy at the Spa in Porter on Jan. 27, from 6-8 p.m.
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival Jan. 25-30
Florida's Space Coast will be hosting the annual Birding & Wildlife Festival, which is regarded as one of the top birding events in the nation Jan. 25-30 at Eastern Florida State College, Titusville Campus.

DU Celebrates 80 Years of Conservation
Ducks Unlimited is celebrating 80 years of conservation success due to the tireless support and efforts of generations of DU members, volunteers and partners who have championed the organization's critical conservation mission to conserve and restore wetlands and other vital habitats for North America's waterfowl.

Weather-Related Damages at Peregrine Fund Idaho Center
It's raining at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey — and not in a good way. With record snowfalls and subzero temperatures hitting Boise these past few weeks, followed by rapid thawing this week, the interpretive center's roof began to leak.
NWRA Enjoys Record Year in 2016
The National Wildlife Refuge Association reports a record revenue year of nearly $3.3 million in operations and helped turn that into nearly $1 billion in public finance for fish and wildlife conservation.
American Bird Conservancy Issues Statement on Neonicotinoid Pesticides
American Bird Conservancy announced it is pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its preliminary risk assessments for four neonicotinoids—imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran—but expressed disappointment it has again pushed back reviewing the threat of these pesticides to birds.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoos Found in Wider Arizona Habitat Range
Annual surveys by Audubon Arizona have discovered Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoos outside of its expected lower elevation cotton/willow habitat, resulting in expanded survey areas.
ABA Bird of the Year 2017: Ruddy Turnstone
The choice of Ruddy Turnstone for Bird of the Year marks a return to the idea that the featured bird should be one that American Birding Association members are likely to encounter with some regularity.
Flashy Flirt: 
Frilled Coquette
A "coquette" means a flirt, and to many birders, the Frilled Coquette is indeed a tease, as these small hummingbirds of Central and South America appear only infrequently at feeders and remain for only seconds.

Prescribed Burning Slated for Wisconsin's Horicon Marsh
Prescribed burning at Horicon Marsh in January and February is part ongoing efforts to remove much of the standing dead cattail stems to provide more areas for spring bird migration, feeding and roosting.
Michigan Awards $3.5 Million to Battle Invasives
The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced that 17 grant projects will share $3,507,907 in funding through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program – an initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species within the state.

122,000 Acres Offshore NC for Wind Energy Development
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced that 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, North Carolina will be offered in a commercial wind lease sale on March 16, 2017.

Apply Now for Texas Outdoor Youth Camps
The Texas Brigades is a wildlife- and natural resources-focused leadership development program for high school students ages 13-17 in which participants are introduced to habitat management, hone their communication skills and develop a land ethic.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

The Peterson Field Guide says the Purple finch is "like a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice." This subject, submitted by Birding Wire reader Gene McGarry, was photographed Oct. 28 on his Woodstock, NY property. "Several of them, males and females, have been hanging around for about a month," Gene writes. Tech: Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm f/4L lens and 1.4 extender, ISO 400, f/10 at 1/100 sec.

If you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, we urge you to share it with more than 45,000 birding enthusiasts just like you who subscribe to The Birding Wire. Please send submissions to birdingwire@gmail.com, and be sure to include details about the location, species and technical data.

Connectivity Is Key for Preserving Isolated Sage-Grouse Populations
Greater Sage-Grouse depend on large, intact tracts of sagebrush habitat. Current sage-grouse conservation plans focus on protecting selected "priority areas," but these areas vary in size and proximity to each other—will they be able to sustain thriving, interconnected populations over time? A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications evaluates this approach.

Small, isolated populations of sage-grouse are especially vulnerable to threats like wildfires and West Nile virus, and genetic diversity declines if birds don't have the ability to occasionally interbreed with other groups. This study provides land managers with a new way to rank priority areas based on their contributions to connectivity.

Using a statistical technique known as graph theory, Michele Crist, Steven Knick, and Steven Hanser of the U.S. Geological Survey examined how the spatial arrangement of priority areas might affect their ability to function as an interconnected network of reserves. They found that of the three networks of sage-grouse priority areas—the Washington network, the Bi-State Network comprising California and Nevada, and the Central network, which is the largest and includes parts of ten states—only the priority areas of the Central network had a high degree of connectivity, and even there connectivity was dominated by a small number of large, centrally located sites.

"Graph theory is a way to describe a network based on sets of nodes and their connections with others. The network's characteristics reveal a lot of information about how that network functions," says Knick. "For example, importance within the network can be inferred from being large and having many connections or by connecting different groups within the network. The analysis is commonly applied to understand social networks."

"Managing the differing ecologies of a landscape-scale species presents many challenges even in a perfect world of unlimited resources and complete agreement amongst all associated stakeholders. As that is almost never the case, having studies such as the one presented here is essential to inform sound, science-based decisions," according to Pat Deibert, National Sage-Grouse Conservation Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "This exploration of connectivity and inferences for the long-term viability of prioritizing landscapes for conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse is extremely valuable for assessing the efficacy of the current management strategy and informing decisions and appropriate adjustments in the future."

Range-wide connectivity of priority areas for Greater Sage-Grouse: Implications for long-term conservation from graph theory is available at http://americanornithologypubs.org/doi/full/10.1650/CONDOR-16-60.1.

About the journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology. It began in 1899 as the journal of the Cooper Ornithological Club, a group of ornithologists in California that became the Cooper Ornithological Society, which merged with the American Ornithologists' Union in 2016 to become the American Ornithological Society.

Jan. 20 - Jan. 22
Jan. 21
Jan. 25 - Jan. 29
Jan. 25 - Jan. 30
20th Annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival
Eastern Florida State College, Titusville, Fla.
Jan. 25 - Jan. 30
20th Annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival
Eastern Florida State College, Titusville, Fla.
Jan. 26 - Jan. 29
Eagles and Agriculture
Carson Valley, Nev.
Jan. 27 - Jan. 29
Delmarva Winter Birding Weekend
Delaware/Maryland/Virginia Coast
Jan. 28
Superbowl of Birding XIV
Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport, Mass.
Feb. 8 - Feb. 11
Feb. 10 - Feb. 12
Feb. 11
Feb. 16 - Feb. 19
Winter Wings Festival
Klamath Falls, Ore.
Feb. 17 - Feb. 19
Feb. 17 - Feb. 20
Feb. 23 - Feb. 26
Feb. 23 - Feb. 26
San Diego Bird Festival
San Diego, Calif.
Mar. 3 - Mar. 5
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