Partners in Flight – October 2011 Newsletter


October 2011

PIF Strategic Planning Session

The PIF Steering Committee held a facilitated strategic planning session on 11-12 September 2011, just prior to the AFWA Annual Conference, at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park near Ashland, NE. The 21 participants reaffirmed the value and centrality of PIF’s mission and goals and drafted the strategies for action listed below. The timeline for this strategic plan is 36 months, substantially shorter than is typical for this sort of exercise. The thinking is that this will lead to more specific tasks that can realistically be accomplished. Once the draft strategic plan is reviewed and finalized by participants, it will go out more broadly for comment. Our goal is to have this finalized by the end of the calendar year.

Participants drafted strategies for PIF to:

• Institutionalize PIF landbird priorities and objectives into agency resource management and evaluation through PIF science-based tools within the planning and implementation process.
• Incorporate effective evaluation programs into local, regional and international conservation efforts to track progress, identify gaps and prioritize needs.
• Increase our capacity to support full-life cycle conservation through identifying and addressing limiting factors, supporting international partnerships and leveraging and securing additional funding sources.
• Develop a communications strategy to effectively deliver PIF conservation priorities and messages to key audiences.
• Strategically align JVs and PIF science and implementation actions to enhance achievement of shared objectives and conservation goals.
• Integrate PIF science-based tools within key partnerships (e.g., JVs, Federal resource management agencies) at relevant scales (e.g., local, management unit, BCR).
• Align education and outreach programs (e.g., IMBD, bird observatories, Audubon centers) to strategically address landbird conservation priorities.
• Integrate landbird conservation priorities with private lands conservation programs (e.g., Farm Bill conservation programs, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Cooperative extension programs).
• Reduce sources of landbird mortality through evaluation of cumulative effects and relative importance of anthropogenic sources of mortality of landbirds (e.g., energy development) and create a strategy to address the greatest threats.

Specific actions are already underway for most of these items.—Brad Jacobs, Chair, ( and John Alexander, Vice-Chair, (

Changes to PIF Council

During the September meeting of the PIF Council, the following changes were made. Jerome Ford, Assistant Director for the Division of Migratory Bird Management at USFWS, was elected chair. Paul Schmidt, with Ducks Unlimited and co-chair of the NGO Committee, was elected as the PIF representative to NABCI. The Council then voted to add an Education and Communications seat to the Council. Ashley Dayer, chair of the Bird Education Alliance for Conservation, was elected to that position.

PIF Federal Agency Committee

The Federal Agency Committee has had a number of vigorous discussions and meetings recently with the goal of making the Committee more effective in implementing PIF priorities through federal agency activities. The 2011 State of the Birds Report focusing on public lands has provided a spike in the information available and in the attention on public lands. Further, the MOUs between various federal agencies and the USFWS to implement Executive Order 13186 have already laid out rather specific objectives for protecting migratory birds. The Committee will also increase its interaction with the Council established as part of the Executive Order.

Find a Partner in Latin America!

Partners in Flight, the Rainforest Alliance and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI) have created a new database of NGOs working in Latin America and the Caribbean who can partner with you on bird conservation projects. This tool was originally conceived as a part of the Southern Wings initiative. WHMSI used the PIF prototype to expand the catalogue to all taxa. Please explore the database at and feel free to add partners or make corrections to the content.—Terry Rich (


The PIF Western Working Group, in coordination with the Sonoran Joint Venture, held a 1½-day meeting prior to the annual CIPAMEX/CECAM conference in Mazatlan and had a symposium during the conference itself (4-7 October 2011). Both events were very well attended and numerous new connections were made. Follow-up actions and other information from the meetings will be available from the WWG in the near future.—Mike Green (

Travel Support Sought for NAOC, Canada 2012

The fifth North American Ornithological Conference will be held in Vancouver, BC, 14-18 August 2012 ( The joint Travel Awards Committee of various participating ornithological societies have substantial funding to support student travel. But we are also seeking support for young professionals and ornithologists from small NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean. PIF is working with CIPAMEX to generate this support. If you are interested in contributing in general or in sponsoring a specific individual, contact Terry Rich (

Mesoamerican Society for Conservation and Biology

At the SMBC conference in Merida (24-28 October 2011), we are holding a day-long symposium on 28 October entitled, “Wind Energy; Sharing Experiences and Planning ahead for Potential Impacts on Biodiversity”. The symposium is being supported by PIF and the USFWS, and has been organized by Andrew Rothman of the American Bird Conservancy ( and Barbara MacKinnon of Amigos de Sian Ka’an ( The objective of this symposium is to provide attendees an opportunity to understand current plans for wind development within North and Central America, and the Caribbean, and its potential impacts on biodiversity. Attendees should leave with an understanding of what the threats are from wind, where they may be occurring, and what is being done to mitigate potential threats, and a list of contacts who are working on these issues. A report on the symposium along with recommended actions will be forthcoming.—Terry Rich (

Workshop on International Bird Conservation

PIF will hold a workshop on international bird conservation “how tos” at the 72nd Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Des Moines, IA, on 6 December 2011. The workshop will consist of presentations on the PIF Tri-National Vision that set the foundation for international priorities, and by state agencies that have been directly involved in projects in the Neotropics through the Southern Wings program. But most of the time will be devoted to discussion of how to find partners and funds and to the details of conducting a successful international project. Anyone with ideas or materials for this workshop should contact Terry Rich (

PIF Science Committee

The PIF Science Committee on 22-25 August 2011 at El Coronado Ranch in SE AZ. Topics included the update to the Species Assessment Database, Neotropical Birds species accounts, stepping down the 2011 State of the Birds Report, full life-cycle conservation, population objectives and JV science support, new maps for wetland-associated landbirds for NAWCA, and upcoming conferences and symposia. Complete notes are available from Ken Rosenberg, chair (

Full Life-Cycle Management and Modeling

USFWS, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Smithsonian are leading on various aspects of full life-cycle conservation. Proposals are in place to produce the first comprehensive life-cycle population models for select species. ABC just completed a 2-day workshop where leading experts in the field gathered to identify and prioritize next steps. A report from that meeting is expected in the near future.

PIF Species Assessment Database Update

The PIF Species Assessment Database has been updated with a variety of new scores, and we are very close to putting the new information up on the RMBO web site. We also expect to produce a new Watch List before the end of the calendar year.

Neotropical Birds Species Accounts

The PIF Science Committee has begun to contribute to the species accounts found in Neotropical Birds ( We’ve prioritized species according to their vulnerability as detailed in the PIF Tri-National Vision. If you are interested in helping with this ambitious project, contact Janet Ruth (

IMBD 2012 Art Selected

Art by Rafael Lopez ( has been selected for IMBD 2012 ( You will instantly see that this art reflects the joy, curiosity, and the beauty of birds. It also shares a sense of community in their conservation. Environment for the Americas is excited to share this beautiful work that will celebrate birds and their conservation and 20 years of International Migratory Bird Day.—Sue Bonfield (

Adapting Bird-focused Education Resources for use in Latin America

The Bird Education Alliance for Conservation’s (BEAC) first Resource Sheet is available. “Adapting bird-focused education resources for use in Latin America” provides tips for educators, communicators, and outreach folks in the US and Canada who are considering adapting their resources or programs for use in Latin America. The source of the tips is the lessons learned by BEAC partners who were involved in three cases of adapting resources. This resource sheet is in response to recommendations in the PIF McAllen proceedings and Saving Our Shared Birds to adapt quality resources for further use elsewhere. While BEAC would like to encourage partners to do such adaptations, we hope that best practices will be followed to ensure effective adaptation of these resources.—Ashley Dayer (

Caribbean Birding Trail

The Caribbean Birding Trail ( is a project being implemented by the SCSCB to protect habitat and support sustainable livelihoods in the Caribbean through bird and nature tourism. There are over 170 endemic bird species in the Caribbean. These birds make an ideal interpretive platform from which to tell the unique story of the Caribbean. The CBT will tell this story and connect people, residents and travelers alike, to the Caribbean’s natural, cultural and historical resources. Research has shown that individuals who are emotionally, cognitively, or functionally connected to a place will act to protect that place. This is especially true when places are threatened by prospective change, such as the unmitigated development seen throughout the Caribbean.–Holly Robertson (

First Webinar on JV Resources

A recording of the latest in a series of BEAC-supported bird conservation webinars for state agencies is now at This series is designed to build awareness among state agency staff of the type of resources Joint Ventures can offer and the benefits to state agencies of active participation in Joint Ventures. Whether you work for a state agency or not, I think many PIFers will enjoy this webinar recording. A 30 minute presentation by Playa Lakes Joint Venture’s GIS Director and Kansas Wildlife and Parks staff highlight a model relationship where a JV developed a Decision Support System using social and ecological information to strategically target the placement of incentive program funds (and related landowner outreach to encourage sign-ups) to benefit a bird species of conservation concern. The JV and state agency staff then provide interesting reflections on their relationship and what partnering with a JV can offer.—Ashley Dayer (

Conference Poster on BEAC Now Available

Bob Petty (Audubon) put this poster together to take to the North American Association of Environmental Education conference. Bob has kindly offered that we can additionally use his poster file to adapt the poster for other conferences/meetings/workshops. Tamara Zeller will be editing it for more of a wildlife biologist/manager audience for The Wildlife Society conference in November. Sue Bonfield also be using it in the Focus on Diversity conference ( and National Association of Interpreters conference. If you could use the poster for another purpose, let me know. I have visions of someone translating into Spanish or French for future international conferences…anyone have a need? Finally, if you have any suggestions for future uses, I’m happy to collate a list.—Ashley Dayer (

San Francisco Standards for Bird-safe Buildings

The newly adopted “Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings” explains the documented risks that structures present to birds. Over thirty years of research has proven the risk to be biologically significant for certain bird species. Recent studies have determined that annual bird fatalities in North America from window collisions may be as high as 1 billion birds per year or 1-5% of all birds. While the facts are staggering, the solutions are within reach. The majority of these deaths are foreseeable and avoidable. The document summarizes proven successful remedies such as window treatments, lighting design, and lighting operation. The document proposes a three-pronged approach to the problem. Check out the standards at

Informing Ecosystem Management: Science for Landbird Conservation

The long awaited “success stories” publication; envisioned during the 2005 workshop “Tools for Bird Conservation in Conifer Forests: A Joint California and Oregon-Washington Partners in Flight Workshop,” has been published. The papers are rooted in the concept behind that workshop, but extend beyond the initial scope, covering diverse species and habitats throughout the western United States.

Stephens, J. L., K. Kreitinger, C. J. Ralph, and M. T. Green (eds.). 2011. Informing ecosystem management: science and process for landbird conservation in the western United States. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication FWS/BTP- R1014-2011, Washington, D.C.

The web address is: Paper copies are available from Jaime L. Stephens ( and Michael Green (

State of the Birds

At the NABCI meeting held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in July, a new structure for continuing the creation of State of the Birds reports was proposed. The structure will consist of an executive team that will guide the major decisions of the State of the Birds team on the development of future reports and help guide the continued outreach of all reports. The executive team is composed of David Pashley, Jerome Ford, David Mehlman, Greg Butcher, Ken Rosenberg, Alicia King and Allison Vogt.

In the interest of being able to work on implementation of the outreach of the State of the Birds reports (specifically the 2011 report) it was decided at the NABCI meeting to delay the proposed release date the State of the Birds 2012 Report on Private Lands (date yet to be determined – could be as early as 2012 fall or as late as May 2013.) The executive team with help from science team members will develop conservation action suggestions specific birds in the various habitats managed by agencies outlined in the 2011 Report. As these conservation actions are developed the science and communication team will work to reach target audiences about on-the-ground science application of the suggested conservation efforts on public lands and waters.—Alicia King (

Christmas Bird Counts for Kids

Every year for over a century, Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) have been organized across the Western Hemisphere through Audubon, mainly for adults. Because families with young kids have not always felt invited, we created the CBC 4 Kids – a stand-alone half day event instilling some of the important basic ingredients of this grand tradition. The objective is to have fun and potentially create a hometown team of birders and conservationists for the future while encouraging families to enjoy and respect nature together. It only takes 2-3 teams to get started. Target a date between the 2nd weekend in December and the 3rd weekend in January. It is a wonderfully simple, healthy, holiday celebration for almost any school, youth group, Audubon Chapter or nature center, wildlife refuge or local community. Contact me for details.—Tom Rusert (

Pollinator Information

There is obvious conservation synergy between the pollinator conservation community and PIF that we have mostly not taken advantage of so far. New information and resources are continually added to the following FWS web site: I have joined the FWS Pollinator Working Group to more fully explore our joint potential. Let me know if you have needs or ideas.—Terry Rich (

Webless Migratory Gamebird RFP (Closes 11/1/2011);jsessionid=wYZ5TW3GvpDgjH7…
This announcement serves as a Request for Proposals for the Webless Migratory Game Bird Program for Fiscal Year 2012 (starting 1 October 2011). Its primary purpose is to support activities that will improve management of the 16 species of migratory shore and upland game birds in North America. Priorities are available at: The USFWS will oversee grant administration.—Thomas Cooper (

PPJV and UMRGLJV Flex-Fund RFP (closes 11/11/11)

The goal of the USFWS Regional Joint Venture (JV) Office is to assist partners in implementing effective science-based bird conservation projects in the Prairie Pothole (PPJV) and Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes (UMRGLJV) Joint Venture regions. Each JV has an Implementation Plan and conservation strategies identifying bird habitat, monitoring, and research needs with an emphasis on JV focal species. These plans can be found at and Proposals for monitoring and applied research that improve JV conservation decision tools at larger scales (e.g., Bird Conservation Region) will be given higher grant priority. In addition, projects to address conservation priorities in State Wildlife Action Plans (, and for JV focal species, should be highlighted. Proposals related to coordination, outreach, planning, and habitat restoration / enhancement contributing toward goals identified in the JV plans will also be considered. All submissions should explain how the outcome of proposed projects is regional in scope. You may locate this announcement on under Funding Opportunity Number: FWS-R3-JV11-1. Completed proposals should be submitted electronically to and no later than 11 November 2011.

Migratory Bird Conservation in the Upper Midwest (closes 11/16/11)

The USFWS is soliciting bird conservation proposals from agencies and organizations interested in obtaining funding for cooperative projects in the Upper Midwest (IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, OH, and WI) in 2012. Access the RFP at:;jsessionid=nyGdTBhGHpPnphLv9.
If there are others in your agency or organization who may be interested in obtaining this funding, please share the RFP with them, but be selective because the RFP is fairly narrow in scope. We will make funding decisions by the end of the year, but the timing of fund allocation will depend on when Congress provides a budget for our agency; it’s possible that we might not have a budget in time to provide funding for 2012 field work, although we hope that won’t be the case. Please contact the following people to discuss project ideas before you develop your proposals:

Coordinated Bird Monitoring: Katie Koch, 906-226-1249;
Golden-winged Warblers and items (a) and (b) under Strategic Conservation: Tom Will, 612-713-5362;
Shorebirds: Bob Russell, 612-713-5437;
Avian Disease and American Woodcock: Sean Kelly, 612-713-5470;
Great Lake Terns and all other questions: Steve Lewis, 612-713-5473;

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants (Closes 11/30/2011)

The U.S. Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act established an annual, competitive grants program to support projects that promote the conservation of neotropical migratory birds and their habitats in the United States, Canada, Latin America or the Caribbean. Proposals for the next grant cycle are due no later than 30 November 2011. More information and application instructions are available at —Guy Foulks (

Funding for Prairie Research (Closes 1/6/2012)

Prairie Biotic Research (PBR) is an all-volunteer, Wisconsin nonprofit established in 2000 to foster basic biotic research in prairies and savannas. One way we do this is through a competitive Small Grants Program that funds grants up to $1000 to individuals for the study of any grassland taxon anywhere in the USA. To apply for a grant, visit our website ( We must receive your proposal through the mail before 6 January 2012.

Midwest Avian Data Center Now Operational
In case you haven’t heard, the Midwest Avian Data Center is now live and operational (and accepting new data). Read all about it in our blog posting ( and check it out today ( We are forming a technical team to oversee development and integration of data into the Midwest Avian Data Center, so contact me if you’d like to join. You can also contact me if you have any questions or want to begin sharing data for bird conservation.—Katie Koch (

America 2050’s Northeast Landscapes

Regional Plan Association and America 2050 are engaged in a project to evaluate landscape initiatives working in the Northeast Megaregion and to study the conservation and development context for their work. We’re continuing to build our Northeast Landscape Initiatives Inventory, which now totals 165 initiatives. The website ( now also includes three new sets of context maps for Habitat, Water, and Open Space, as well as case studies profiling landscape initiatives that have been successful at protecting these important resources. In the coming weeks, we will also publish maps highlighting challenges to landscape conservation from energy, transportation projects, and climate change.—Paul Winters (

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Reshaping a Powerful Conservation Tool

This conference will be held at the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR, on 20-22 October 2011. Join us as national and international experts from government, industry and environmental groups discuss the MBTA and whether there are ways to make it more effective. Before the conference begins, an optional Thursday morning field study and an afternoon session on the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act will help participants frame some of the issues facing birds. The Friday and Saturday sessions will focus in on the MBTA, how it works and how it might be made more effective. Saturday will include a roundtable discussion by all participants on their thoughts about the future of migratory bird protection and the MBTA. Although there will be discussion of the laws protecting birds, the conference is designed for a general audience; all who are interested are welcome to attend. See—Steve Holmer (

Focus on Diversity

The Focus on Diversity: Changing the Face of American Birding Conference will be held on 22 October 2011 at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, PA. Details at

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

The 11th Annual NAPPC International Conference will be held 25-27 October 2011in the Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (10th Street & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC). Details are available at NAPPC conference attendance requires an invitation. If you would like one, please contact Dolores Savignano ( PIF has just initiated a new round of discussions with NAPPC to explore issues and actions of common interest.

The Wildlife Society

The TWS Annual Conference will be held in Waikoloa, Hawaii, on 5-10 November 2011. Details at A workshop that has generated a lot of interest and that has potential for influencing future policy is, “Influencing Local Scale Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Release Decisions.”

Great Basin Consortium and Great Basin LCC Steering Committee Meeting

The Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative Steering Committee will be meeting in-person in conjunction with the Great Basin Consortium on 7-9 November 2011 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Meeting and other LCC info is available at

IXth Neotropical Ornithological Congress

The Neotropical Ornithological Society and the Peruvian Ornithological Union have announced the IXth Neotropical Ornithological Congress and VIIIth National Ornithological Congress to be held in Cusco, Peru, on 8-14 November 2011. For more, see

Quail VII Announcement

The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, University of Tennessee, invite you to the Seventh National Quail Symposium in Tucson, Arizona, 9-12 January 2012. Quail VII will feature the diversity in conservation of quails with field tours of areas supporting Gambel’s, Scaled and Montezuma quail and will highlight current management and research, including progress of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative ( and The Western Quail Plan ( See for details.

Southeast Partners in Flight

The 2012 annual meeting of SEPIF will be in Raleigh, NC, on 7-9 February 2012. The tentative them will be “Birds in a Changing Environment” with session topics such as alternative/renewable energy, urbanization, fire suppression, education and invasive species. Watch and the listservs for more details as they develop.–Scott Anderson (

Next National PIF Committee Meetings

The PIF Steering Committee and other national committees will hold their spring meetings in conjunction with the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference ( in Atlanta 12-17 March 2012.

Biodiversity Without Boundaries 2012

The 2012 BWB conference will be held 22-26 April 2012 in Portland, OR. The agenda tracks are Science, Technology & Tools, and Planning & Leadership. The goal of each annual BWB conference is to tackle urgent and emerging international conservation needs through science, collaboration, and leadership. See for details.

SCB North American Congress for Conservation Biology

The Society for Conservation Biology North America Congress for Conservation Biology is a bi-annual conference for presenting and discussing new research and developments in conservation science and practice. The 2012 conference will be held in Oakland, CA, on 15-18 July 2012, and the theme is “Bridging the Gap: Connecting People, Nature, & Climate.” PIF is assembling a symposium and we may need you! Proposals for symposia, workshops and discussion groups are due 7 November 2011. See for details, and contact Terry Rich immediately if you are interested in participating in the symposium.—Terry Rich (

North American Ornithological Conference

The 5th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC-V) will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 2012 ( PIF will have a half-day symposium on the science and research needs of long-distance migrant conservation. We are also planning two days of meetings with Canadian partners to occur prior to the conference itself. As mentioned above, we are also seeking travel support for Latin American colleagues to ensure a robust multi-national conversation in Vancouver. This conference is the annual meeting for most North American ornithological societies. Plan now to attend!

Phenology 2012 Conference
This second interdisciplinary international conference will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 10-13 September 2012. This conference aims to bring together experts from around the world in all sub-fields of phenology and related disciplines. The overall theme of the conference is “Future Climate and the Living Earth.” Conference products will include a set of peer-reviewed scientific papers in a special issue of the International Journal of Biometeorology. Visit the conference website: to see more information and to register your interest in order to be included in future direct messages.—Mark D. Schwartz (

Other Ornithological Society Meetings

Details on the annual conferences of other major ornithological societies in North America can be found at

The next newsletter will be issued on 1 January 2011. Items are due 15 December 2011 to Terry Rich (

This entry was posted in birds/nature, Endangered Species Act, environment, Links, migrants, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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