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Final Birding Wire of 2016 Next Week
The final Birding Wire of 2016 will be distributed next Wednesday, Dec. 14, with production resuming Jan. 4, 2017, as the Outdoor Wire Digital Network editors and technicians enjoy our annual holiday hiatus. Press releases and announcements for the Dec. 14 edition should be received no later than mid-day Tuesday, Dec. 13 to assure publication.

Westport, CT Christmas Bird Count Sunday Dec. 18
The 70th Annual Westport Christmas Bird Count, and the 117th anniversary of the National Audubon CBC concept will be conducted during a 24-hour period (rain, sleet, snow, or shine) from midnight to midnight, Sunday, December 18th, 2016.

Article Lacked Author Credit
The feature article, "The Black Rail: Under The Radar Since Audubon's Day," appearing in edited form in the Nov. 30 Birding Wire, neglected to credit author Joe McClaine.

NRCS to Expand Wildlife Conservation Effort on Agricultural Lands
From the northern bobwhite to trout and salmon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adding dozens of new target species to its premier wildlife conservation effort that helps agricultural producers make wildlife-friendly improvements on working lands.

New Group of Whooping Cranes Arrives in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries received the second of three shipments of Whooping Cranes this year on Thursday, Dec. 1, when a Windway Capitol Corporation jet landed at Abbeville Airport carrying 10 of the big birds from Patuxent Wildlife Research in Laurel, Md.

Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Hosts Wine and Canvas Event
The third annual Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, May 4-7, may be some time away, but event organizers are already thinking of the bird migration ahead with a special wine and canvas Birds and Brews event Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.
Superbowl of Birding XIV
Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. In celebration of this season, Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center is hosting the Superbowl of Birding XIV on January 28, 2017 from 5 am to 5 pm (Snow date: Sunday, January 29).

Longest Feral Cat Exclusion Fence Built in U.S. Completed in Hawaii
The National Park Service, American Bird Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners have recently completed construction on the longest cat exclusion fence in the United States, located on Hawaii's Mauna Loa.

Belarus to Restore More Than 1000 Hectares of Peatland Habitat
A restoration project led by APB BirdLife Belarus (BirdLife Partner), the National Park authorities and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is taking place in Białowieża Forest National Park, to recover invaluable habitat for raptors, owls and woodpeckers.

Connecticut Audubon Seeks Protection of Osprey Nest
The Connecticut Audubon Society has called on Bridgeport officials to halt the mowing of a small plot of city-owned land, to prevent protected birds from being disturbed while on their nest.

Malheur NWR Project Leader Honored With Award
The National Wildlife Refuge Association has presented its Theodore Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award to Chad Karges, Project Leader at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Oregon in recognition of his steadfast leadership and his commitment to building partnerships.

Puerto Rican Parrots Reintroduced into Maricao Commonwealth Forest
The Puerto Rican parrot is an endemic species of Puerto Rico, and the only native parrot in the United States. This reintroduction to the the Maricao Forest begins a new chapter in the history of the Puerto Rican parrot recovery program.

Ferruginous Hawks Benefit From Some Human Development
There are plenty of science-based reports these days about wild animal populations decreasing due to habitat loss from human development. However, sometimes there's a story in which human development actually benefits a species, as with ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) studied in rural and exurban areas of New Mexico.

Spruce Budworm Bird: 
Bay-breasted Warbler
The adult male Bay-breasted Warbler is unmistakable, with its black face and chestnut head, though, the species falls into the "confusing fall warblers" category, with nonbreeding males, females, and juveniles closely resembling their counterpart Blackpoll or Pine Warblers.

Free Holiday Birding Activities for Kids in Georgia
Add some outdoors fun to the holidays for your family by taking part in the Youth Christmas Bird Count Dec. 10 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, located about an hour's drive east of Atlanta.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery

Western Kentucky birder and photographer Tate Graham and a friend were on a mission to locate cedar waxwings on Nov. 30, and she shares her experience with her fellow Birding Wire readers this week. "We were in the territory of Barkley Dam, Ky., driving around and scouting. We had been looking for these elusive birds for a while when all of a sudden overhead in the treetops were hundreds of birds flying back and forth across the road … I grabbed my camera so I could see them closer and discovered to my delight, they were indeed cedar waxwings! We parked the car and grabbed our tripods and cameras and held our distance at first. We were terribly excited to get to see them so close and the multitude of them--there were literally hundreds. It was actually hard to get an image of just one bird. They were thick as thieves and devouring every seed on the tree. It was a dark, dreary day, so it wasn't the best photography weather, but who really cares when you find such as treasure? This particular bird lingered a bit … and that's the only way that I could have gotten one single bird. This was only my second time to get to photograph cedar waxwings, so needless to say, I was thrilled! Technical info: Canon 5D Mark III, Sigma 150-600mm Sports Lens, ISO 10,000, f 7.1, 1/1600 sec, 600mm.

If you have a favorite or interesting bird and nature photograph, and a cool story like Tate Graham to accompany it, 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.

Here Comes the 117th Annual CBC!
NEW YORK —For the 117th year, the National Audubon Society is organizing its annual Christmas Bird Count. Between December 14th and January 5th, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate in counts across the Western Hemisphere. The data collected by participants continues to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running wildlife census in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for organizing volunteers and submitting observations to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population.

"It's never been easier to be a citizen scientist and it's never been more important to be one," said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. "Birds and the people who watch them are noticing changes. Using the data gathered by more than a century of Christmas Bird Counts, Audubon will keep protecting birds and the places they need. I'm incredibly proud of the volunteers that contribute to this tradition."

Christmas Bird Count data have been used in more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, including Audubon's landmark Birds and Climate Change Report, which found that more than half of the bird species in North America are threatened by a changing climate. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well.

Last year, the 116th Christmas Bird Count included a record-setting 2,505 count circles, with 1,902 counts in the United States, 471 in Canada and 132 in Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. In total, 76,669 observers out in the field tallied up 58,878,071 birds representing 2,607 different species—about one-quarter of the world's known avifauna. Approximately 5 percent of the North American landmass was surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count.

"From Alaska's Arctic coast to Tierra del Fuego, and from Newfoundland to Los Angeles, the 117th CBC is a tradition that everyone can participate in," said Geoff LeBaron, Audubon's Christmas Bird Count director. "Adding observations to more than a century of data helps scientists and conservationists observe trends that will help make our work more impactful."

A disturbing finding from last year was the continued decline of the Northern Bobwhite, the only native quail in the eastern United States. Record low numbers of this species were observed from the Midwestern states to the Mid-Atlantic and down to Florida. Meanwhile the Eurasian Collared-Dove, introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s from its native Europe, was observed in record high numbers from North Carolina throughout the Midwest and northward to the Great Lakes and southern Canada. These two species are of great concern as Audubon embarks on its 117th count.

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, Dr. Frank M. Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine -- proposed a new holiday tradition that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So began the Christmas Bird Count. 117 years later, the tradition continues and still manages to bring out the best in people.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a citizen science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon's free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. For more information and to find a count near you visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and follow @audubonsociety.

Dec. 10 - Dec. 11
Holiday With the Cranes
Galveston Island, Tex.
Jan. 12 - Jan. 16
Everglades Birding Festival
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Jan. 14 - Jan. 15
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. 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. 23 - Feb. 26
Feb. 23 - Feb. 26
San Diego Bird Festival
San Diego, Calif.
Mar. 3 - Mar. 5
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