Daily Archives: March 20, 2015

Learn how you can help nesting birds

Watching birds at the nest is fun–and fuels bird conservation


Springtime is nesting time, and that means another season of beautiful birdsong, colorful eggs, and downy nestlings. Spring also brings another season of NestWatch, a free citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Volunteers have been helping the Lab monitor nesting birds for 50 years, keeping tabs on open-cup nests and actively putting out the welcome mat for species that prefer a cozy cavity.

“Even those who already have birds nesting nearby can support more birds by putting up a nest box, or by landscaping for nesting birds,” says NestWatch project leader Robyn Bailey. “Supplying nesting materials, like wool, cotton, or pet fur is another great way to encourage more birds to take up residence.”

NestWatch provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of nesting birds but it is much more. NestWatch data have been used in more than 130 scientific studies, yielding valuable information for scientists and land managers, such as:

♦ When, where, and how many eggs are laid by certain species across a wide range

♦ How to minimize the effects of forestry and agricultural practices on nesting birds

♦ Revealing that some species, such as Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds, are nesting

earlier as spring temperatures have risen.

These discoveries and others are made possible by people who simply enjoy watching birds in their backyard or local park.

“I find observing the behavior of the natural world endlessly fascinating,” says participant Kate Lowry. “NestWatch offers me the chance to channel my efforts into this more organized method that can provide information to real scientists who, in turn, use the data in their studies.”

“Even after five decades there’s a lot learn,” says Bailey. “For example, data on the Eurasian Collared-Dove, a relative newcomer to North America, remains sketchy. We still don’t know how its presence affects our native Mourning Doves, or even how many times they can nest in one year.” Scientists need more data to understand how and why species respond differently to large, continent-level changes in the environment.

NestWatch can be a wonderful learning experience for the whole family. Find out more about the project, sign up, and learn how to locate and monitor nests at NestWatch.org.


NWF backs Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act; urges enhanced conservation


The National Wildlife Federation commends the sponsors of bipartisan sportsmen’s legislation for supporting increased conservation funding and improved access to public lands and encourages Congress to strengthen conservation measures and efforts to expand public access for hunting, angling and other wildlife-related recreation.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Thursday on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 by Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.

“The National Wildlife Federation has more than a million hunters and anglers across our national organization and 49 state affiliates, so we’re encouraged by legislation that would increase conservation funding and improve access to public lands for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. We’re glad the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act would reauthorize programs to leverage public and private funds for fish and wildlife habitat and provide funding to open landlocked public tracts to sportsmen and others,” NWF CEO and President Collin O’Mara said. “As the bill advances we hope Congress considers including additional habitat conservation and sportsmen access measures and works to reauthorize such key programs as the Land and Water Conservation Act. Collectively, these actions would make this session a truly landmark year for wildlife and sportsmen and ensure that the outdoor legacy built by previous bipartisan efforts lives on indefinitely.”

In a letter to Murkowski and Heinrich, NWF praised provisions that would have “a direct positive impact on hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation,” including:

♦ Measures identifying public lands now inaccessible to hunting, fishing and other activities and directing that 1.5 percent of Land and Water Conservation funds be used to open those areas to the public.

♦ Reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction and Facilitation Act, which allows public agencies to acquire private in-holdings from willing landowners to enhance conservation and public access.

♦ Reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which leverage public and private funds for habitat and conservation projects.

However, NWF expressed concern that the legislation includes fewer proactive conservation measures than previous sportsmen’s proposals. Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Act, approval of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act and stronger efforts to combat harmful invasive species are among the provisions NWF encouraged Congress to add to the bill.

“Wildlife habitat conservation, especially on our nation’s public lands, is essential to providing quality hunting and angling experiences – over eighty percent of the most critical habitat for elk and deer and over fifty percent of the nation’s blue ribbon trout streams are found on public lands,” NWF wrote.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation generate an estimated of $646 billion in spending yearly and support 6.1 million direct jobs.

A section of the bill NWF wants to see dropped or changed would exempt the use of lead in hunting and fishing equipment from regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. NWF is concerned that a legislative exemption will undermine the incentive for sportsmen to continue voluntarily reducing the use of lead to minimize the impacts on fish and wildlife.



Urge support for S. 405: The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation


Contact your Senators at 202-224-3121 or email them and urge them to cosponsor S.405, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.

This week, anti-hunting forces in an attempt to derail the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, sent Humane Society of the United States’ Wayne Pacelle to Capitol Hill to testify in opposition to this pro-hunting, pro-sportsmen legislation. It is imperative that your Senators hear from you in support of this bipartisan bill – the most important proactive piece of legislation to hunters and sportsmen in a generation.

In his testimony, Pacelle told the committee, “I want to be clear that the Humane Society of the United States is not opposed to hunting.” Really? Then how do you explain your quote from an article in the Associated Press? “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.”

But it’s not just sport hunting. Pacelle also said he would campaign against people hunting for food and HSUS has worked to restrict deer hunting in New York, wolf hunting in the Great Lakes region, bear hunting in Maine and all big-game hunting in California.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have worked together to craft a proposal that would protect the use of traditional ammunition made with lead components, increase access to public lands for hunters and other sportsmen, and increase flexibility for shooting ranges to build and maintain facilities to create more opportunities for everyone to enjoy the shooting sports.

Your Senators need to hear from our side so that radical, anti-hunting, anti-sportsmen activists don’t derail this legislation.

Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or email them today and urge them to sign on as a cosponsor to S.405, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.