American Bird Conservancy update


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Dec. 2014 news from the American Bird Conservancy

First Predator-proof Fence on Kaua’i Completed at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

Rare native plant and animal communities that have inhabited a roughly eight-acre area at the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge—including imperiled bird species found nowhere else on earth—will be protected from predators thanks to the completed installation of a predator-proof fence that stretches almost a half-mile in length.

The effort is a collaboration that includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Kaua’i National Wildlife Refuge Complex, American Bird Conservancy, Pacific Rim Conservation, and the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (a Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit project). The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided critical funding support.

The state-of-the-art fence took about three months to construct and will keep introduced mammalian predators, including cats, dogs, rats, and mice, out of the area so that native species such as the endangered Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose), the Mōlī (Laysan Albatross), and rare plants can flourish again in a protected environment. In addition, the absence of introduced predators make this restored site an appropriate translocation site for the threatened ‘A’o (Newell’s Shearwater) and for the reintroduction of rare native plants.

Congress Approves Bill for Duck Stamp to Provide More Habitat Conservation

The Senate unanimously approved a House-passed bill, H.R. 5069, to increase the price of Duck Stamps from $15 to $25.  The President will soon sign the bill into law.  Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated: “On behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I commend the U.S. Senate for approving an increase in the price of the Federal Duck Stamp today. I want to thank the bill’s sponsors, congressional leaders and millions of hunters and other conservationists for purchasing Duck Stamps and contributing to the preservation of habitat that all Americans can enjoy for generations to come.”

“At a time when millions of acres of wildlife habitat are at risk of being lost forever, congressional approval of this bipartisan legislation is a critical boost for wetlands conservation. By restoring the lost purchasing power of the Federal Duck Stamp, this legislation will give us the opportunity to work with thousands of additional landowners across the nation to maintain vital habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds and hundreds of other native species.”

Congratulations from ABC to all who worked to pass this wildlife conservation bill in a very difficult legislative climate.

Markers Reducing Collisions with Powerlines

“Birdwatch” reports that hundreds of special diverters have saved migrating swans and geese from colliding with overhead power lines in Lancashire, Great Britain. A 50 percent reduction in bird collisions has been recorded following the installation of 150 bird diverters on overhead power lines in the area surrounding the WWT’s Martin Mere reserve, near Burscough, Lancashire, last winter. As a result, engineers are installing a further 200 diverters along one mile of overhead power lines to help raise their visibility for the 30,000 Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans that migrate to the area from Iceland each winter.  See http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/channel/newsitem.asp?c=11&cate=__15710 for more details.

Virginia Tech Researchers Studying Solutions to Prevent Window Collisions

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 17, 2014 – When a bird flew into the window of Becky Schneider’s office at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center last year, the avian ecologist rushed outside and found a stunned flycatcher that flew off shortly afterward.  A few weeks later she heard a bird fly into her co-worker’s window; the scarlet tanager was not as lucky and died from the collision. With the permission of the corporate research center, Schneider and a troop of volunteers began surveying bird collisions with windows in the park last October. Over the past year, they have documented 203 fatalities.

“I looked at the windows and saw how reflective they are — more like mirrors than windows,” said Schneider, a project manager with the Conservation Management Institute in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  “The birds often do not see the glass as a barrier,” said Schneider. “Instead they focus on the reflecting vegetation and sky and crash into the window.” For more see http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/11/111714-cnre-birdwindowcollisions.html.

Use of Window Films to Save Birds Growing

Windowfilmmag.com reports “A growing number of consumers are purchasing specialty window film not only for its energy-saving qualities, but also its bird-saving capacity.” http://www.windowfilmmag.com/2014/09/save-two-birds-with-one-film/

ABC BirdTape is available at http://www.abcbirdtape.org/

Wind Energy Faces Turbulent Future in Desert

Sammy Ross of the Desert Sun has written an interesting article about the competing interests between different forms of energy development and wildlife conservation.
http://www.desertsun.com/story/money/2014/11/24/drecp-hurt-windmill-developments/70059056/.  The Bureau of Land Management is now preparing a management plan that will guide energy development in much of the federal estate in Southern California.

ABC will be submitting a comment in support of the idea of zoning the landscape to ensure proper siting for new wind projects.  We will also urge the agency to analyze an additional management alternative comparing the impacts of developing industrial-scale energy on federal lands, including the effects of constructing new powerlines, to installing solar panels on already existing infrastructure such as box stores, warehouses, parking lots, schools and hospitals.

Wind Energy Co. Sues Associated Press to Prevent Release of Bird Death Totals

WASHINGTON (AP) – A company that operates at least 13 wind-energy facilities across three states is suing in federal court to block the U.S. government from releasing information to The Associated Press about how many birds are found dead at its facilities. See http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Ore-wind-farm-sues-to-block-release-of-bird-death-data-282941851.html for more.
Bend Bulletin Editorial: PacifiCorp should release bird-kill numbers
We can understand PacifiCorp’s reluctance to release figures showing how many birds die at wind farms each year. That said, there’s good reason for making the information public.

Wind power is one of the country’s shining stars in its drive toward more renewable energy. It’s produced in every state, largely without controversy, and in 2012, it accounted for about 42 percent of new electricity-generating capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Currently there’s enough wind power produced to serve some 15.5 million homes in this country.

http://www.bendbulletin.com/opinion/2599939-151/editorial-pacificorp-should-release-bird-kill-numbers?entryType=0

Promoting Bird Tourism in Nebraska

Univ. of Nebraska sees an ecotourism opportunity tied to birds. The migration stopover by 500,000 cranes at the Central Platte River is the focus of a new, ecotourism marketing effort.
http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/crane-migration-promoted-as-ecotourism-marvel/article_be5f3ade-5b82-11e4-a715-130cffbbcae1.html

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Steve Holmer
Senior Policy Advisor
American Bird Conservancy &
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance
202-888-7490
sholmer@abcbirds.org

http://www.abcbirds.org, http://www.birdconservationalliance.org, ABC on Facebook, ABC Videos

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