News in the world of birds is often grim, and we have one such story to share this month. But there is also good news: Learn how you can help birds!
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News in Birding, Both Grim and Good!
News in Birding, November 2018

By Dawn Hewitt
Managing Editor | Bird Watcher's Digest

News in the world of birds and birding is often grim, and we have one such story to share in this month’s news roundup. But in an attempt to balance bad and good news, we’re also delivering a good-news story, and recent ornithological research findings with clear implications for ways that those of us who care about birds can help them out. Reminder: Project FeederWatch begins November 10. If you can identify the birds that visit your feeders, you can contribute to this fun and worthy citizen-science project. For more information, go to »


Florida’s Space Coast is Your Launch Pad to Incredible Nature-Based Experiences!

Join us on January 23-28, 2019, in Titusville, Florida for the 22nd annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, one of the LARGEST birding and wildlife festivals in the United States!
WWF Living Planet Report Documents Declines in Wildlife Populations
WWF Living Planet Report Documents Declines in Wildlife Populations
The World Wildlife Fund on Tuesday released the 12th edition of its Living Planet Report, which it publishes every two years. The report’s Living Planet Index tracks more than 16,000 populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species and finds that global populations of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined, on average, by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. During that time, both biodiversity and wildlife abundance have contracted. The report uses five other indices to measure the health of the planet, including the Species Habitat Index and the IUCN Red List Index. The effects of overexploitation of natural resources and agriculture leading to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and other human impacts have taken a measurable toll on oceans, rivers, forests, and other habitats in the past four decades. While the report undeniably paints a bleak picture of the future for birds, other wildlife, and humans, it also calls for action.
New Milwaukee Bucs Stadium is Bird Friendly
New Milwaukee Bucks Stadium is Bird Friendly
Built with glass visible to birds, Fiserv Forum, built for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, is the world’s first bird-friendly sports and entertainment arena. The 17,500-seat stadium was designed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program (LEED) Bird Collision Deterrence credit, created in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). Up to 1 billion birds die annually after colliding with buildings in the United States, and the invisibility of glass is often responsible. “The Milwaukee Bucks have demonstrated outstanding conservation leadership and shown that it is possible to build a world-class facility with birds in mind,” said Bryan Lenz, former director of Bird City Wisconsin, a program of Milwaukee Audubon Society. The group approached the Bucks about a bird-friendly arena in 2015, and helped educate the those involved about the problems of bird collisions. “We hope that their example will inspire others to take action,” Lenz said.
Research Shows Fat Birds More Likely to Survive Migration
Research Shows Fat Birds More Likely to Survive Migration
Migrating birds with ample fat reserves are more likely to survive migration across the Gulf of Mexico than those less bulky, a study published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports. Over five autumns, researchers captured 139 Swainson’s thrushes along the Alabama coast, measured fat reserves, determined sex, and glued a tiny radio transmitter to each bird’s back. Using data from birds both detected and not detected on the Yucatan Peninsula, the researchers were able to determine the factors that predicted which birds were likely to survive the crossing. The fattest birds were most likely to survive the more-than-20-hour, nonstop crossing. Wind at their backs was also an important factor in surviving the arduous journey. “If people throughout the migration corridor provide habitat and food sources for birds to add fat, they’re facilitating their ability to cross the Gulf even if the winds aren’t ideal. Whether it’s planting native shrubs in your backyard, or setting aside a big tract of forest, I’m a big proponent that every small thing helps,” said lead researcher Mike Ward.

January 17-21, 2019: North Shore Birding Festival
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Reader Rendezvous
Pipts in the Potholes: Birding in North Dakota
Pipits in the Potholes: Birding in North Dakota
Dozens of American white pelicans wheel overhead, while the songs of chestnut-collared longspur, grasshopper sparrow, and a winnowing snipe roll across the waving prairie grass. Black terns cry from a nearby slough, and a sora scampers across a mudflat past a stock-still American bittern. Join us in North Dakota from June 19-23, 2019, on a four-day prairie birding adventure that is sure to delight!
Upcoming Festivals
This Birding Life #85: Cape A-May-Zing: A Visit to Cape May, New Jersey
This Birding Life #85: Cape A-May-Zing: A Visit to Cape May, New Jersey
Join host Bill Thompson, III, on his recent birding tour of renowned hotspot Cape May, New Jersey, where he interviews Tom Reed, Mark Garland, and Dr. David LaPuma, expert migration counters from the Cape May Bird Observatory. Along the way he visits the Avalon Seawatch, the Cape May Point Hawk Watch, and South Cape May Meadows, talking about migrating seabirds, raptors, songbirds, and monarch butterflies.
Out There with the Birds #45: Ben's Backyard Bird Feeding Tutorial
With the guys poised to head off to far-flung birding destinations, Ben asks Bill for advice on his backyard bird feeding efforts. Bill, who is the Guy Fieri of Bird Feeding, dishes the knowledge on mixed seed, suet, peanuts, and the best foods for feeding birds. They discuss the never-ending battle with feeder marauding squirrels. Ben also asks Bill if he's ever eaten squirrel. Bill's latest musical recommendation: Brandi Carlile's new album By the Way, I Forgive You, featuring the amazing (and totally timely) song "The Joke."
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Watching Backyard Birds December 2018
If you love backyard birds, then you should be reading Watching Backyard Birds. It's the ONLY North American magazine devoted exclusively to backyard birds and the people who watch and enjoy them. Created by the friendly staff at Bird Watcher's Digest, every issue of Watching Backyard Birds is full of engaging, entertaining, and enlightening content and images.
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Northern Cardinal: Seeing Red (or Brown)
Those of us who see them all the time tend to forget how striking cardinals really are. Familiarity keeps us from gawking at them. Let's stop to appreciate this crimson beauty.
Golden Nuggets of Winter
As winter settles in, Julie Zickefoose muses on the smaller, starker aspects of nature: textures of dried weeds, the bones of a bare tree. Birds add color, and sometimes a thrill, such as when a pair of short-eared owls passed low over a nearby pasture.
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter
Just because the warblers and hummingbirds are gone (for most of us) is no reason to stop paying attention to birds. Bill Thompson, III, offers 10 things to do during winter to maintain and enhance your connection to the birds in your neighborhood.
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