Category: Our Avian Friends

Bird Songs SOS

Submitted with thanks to Kathryn Boothby


Begin forwarded message:

From: “David Yarnold, National Audubon Society” <>
Date: June 17, 2011 12:30:34 PM
Subject: American birds in decline — How you can help

Eastern Meadowlarks were once commonplace, but these yellow-bellied beauties are suffering steep declines in numbers as their grassland habitats become increasingly scarce.Raise your voice for birds — by donating to Audubon today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.

Dear Joe,

There’s nothing common about the Eastern Meadowlark. Its melodic four-note call is the epitome of Spring birdsong. With its showy brilliant yellow breast emblazoned with a black V, the Eastern Meadowlark has been a dependable and beloved resident of grasslands and meadows throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.

Until now. Once classified as “common” by field biologists, this lovely bird is suffering a precipitous decline in numbers. Four decades ago, there were an estimated 24 million Eastern Meadowlarks in the wild. Today that number has fallen to fewer than seven million.

Please raise your voice for birds like the Eastern Meadowlark by donating to Audubon’s Summer campaign. Between now and June 30, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, so your gift will go twice as far.

The Meadowlark might be an indirect victim of American dependence on oil. As oil prices have skyrocketed, farmers have switched over their fields to grow vast mono-crops of corn for ethanol. And cornfields make poor Meadowlark habitat.

Thanks in part to data provided by birdwatchers and other citizen scientists, Audubon has identified more than 20 other “common” birds that are in trouble. In addition to the Eastern Meadowlark, these birds include:

  • The Rufous Hummingbird, a West Coast native, whose numbers have declined 60 percent over the past four decades.
  • The Northern Pintail, a slender and elegant duck, once abundant throughout North America. Changes in farming practices in the Pintails’ breeding habitats have contributed to a steep 71 percent decline since the mid-1960s.
  • The Northern Bobwhite, a meadow-dwelling bird, whose signature two-tone whistle is the first song many young birders learn. Bobwhite populations have plummeted by more than 80 percent since the mid-1960s.

Donate to help save these birds and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

For more than a century, Audubon has been a champion for conserving birds and their natural habitats in America Our work has brought the Brown Pelican and our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, back from the brink of extinction. We are working intensively to restore the magnificent California Condor. And more recently, Audubon was on the front lines of responding to the massive Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, assisting in oiled bird rescue and recovery, helping to assess ecological impacts of the spill, and setting new directions for the long-term environmental health of the region.

Beyond the inspiration birds offer, we humans understand innately that their fate is linked with our own. Ultimately, by raising our voices for birds, we are raising our voices for all life on Earth.

David Yarnold
President and CEO, National Audubon Society

P.S. If you are new to Audubon, welcome! As a new member, your gift of $20 or more will entitle you to full membership privileges including our award-winning photo-packed bi-monthly magazine.

225 Varick Street, New York, New York 10014
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Kathryn and Ron do the Baillie Birdathon

From: Ron Allensen Kathryn Boothby <kmboothby>

Date: May 1, 2011 11:22:36 PM EDT

To: Joe Stephenson <joestephenson11>

Subject: Kathryn and Ron do the Baillie Birdathon


Hi Members of OVN

Help us support the conservation of Canada’s birds!

In May, we will be participating in the Baillie Birdathon raising money for bird research and conservation. The Baillie Birdathon is a 24 hours birding extravaganza, and the oldest sponsored bird count in North America.

Please consider donating to this important cause. Use the link at the bottom of this email, and visit our site.

A portion of funds raised will be returned to OVN to help in our conservation efforts.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Kathryn & Ron

Bird Box Designs

Cats wreak havoc on songbirds

Songbirds brought a loud burst of life to a British Columbia bog almost a decade ago.

“Now it’s almost silent,” said University of Western Ontario professor Liana Zanette, who studies the animals.

In the past few years, Zanette has witnessed a 70 per cent decrease in the songbird population – enough to prevent her from using that bog as a location for this summer’s research.

via Cats wreak havoc on songbirds | OurLondon.

GBBC eNewsletter – February 2011

Something for everyone:

From: Great Backyard Bird Count <gbbc>

Date: February 8, 2011 5:13:03 PM EST

Subject: GBBC eNewsletter – February 2011

Reply-To: gbbc

If you can’t see a formatted message and photo, view the web version.

February 2011 eNewsletter
The Great Backyard Bird Count is less than two weeks away: February 18-21.

Freebie Facts about Feeder Favorites

The folks at Birds of North America Online are offering free access to accounts for five species commonly reported during the GBBC: Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, and White-throated Sparrow. These accounts have newly updated information on distinguishing characteristics, along with photos and video. To view these life history accounts simply visit BNA Online at and click on one of the photos along the right-hand side of the page for the species you would like to review. This is a chance to have a look at what BNA Online has to offer for FREE and learn the most current information available about some of our most beloved backyard birds.

Narrow Down that Sparrow

Identifying sparrows has got to be one of the biggest challenges for birders—there are so many flavors of “little brown birds” out there. For this month’s quiz, try your hand at identifying the sparrows below. Here are your choices: Savannah, Fox, Chipping, and Tree sparrow. You’ll find a couple of others as well when you head over to the answer page. Good luck!

Missed our previous newsletters and quizzes? You can access them here:

October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011 Prizes for You!

Anyone who submits a checklist for the GBBC is eligible for prizes. We’ve got another batch of great ones this year, donated by Wild Birds Unlimited, Droll Yankees, Green Mountain Digital, DK Publishing, Bird Studies Canada, the National Audubon Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Take a look at our GBBC prize page to see what you could win!

Let’s Get All A-Twitter

Now is the time to really ramp up your social networking to spread the word about the upcoming GBBC. People often tell us they never saw anything about the count in the commercial media–so perhaps the best way to make sure nobody misses out is to make sure everyone in your circle of family, friends, and acquaintances is aware of the dates and where they can go for more information– The Twitter widget is on the GBBC home page, so any tweet tagged with #gbbc will show up there. And don’t forget to visit the GBBC Facebook page and become a fan! With your help we can make this yet another record-breaking year!

To Err is Human—But We’ve Got a Form for That

Now there’s an easier way to correct mistakes on checklists. When the count begins on February 18, we’ll post the cute little button you see here. Click on it and you will be taken to a short correction form, if you need it.

New Portal for Canadian GBBC

In mid-January we launched a new “doorway” to the GBBC for our participants from Canada. To find it, just go to It’s going to look pretty familiar, but it also contains some new content specifically for our Canadian bird watchers, contributed by Bird Studies Canada.

See you on February 18 for the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.

Bird Studies Canada administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada’s national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.

National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Call: (212) 979-3000

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473

Bird Studies Canada
Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531

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Record-setting bird count

Eighty-two distinct species was a record for the five-year history of the Pt. Burwell bird count as was the total number of birds spotted (18,453). As well those working in the field of a 24-kilometre diameter circle centred around Vienna, a number of birders participated by recording species and numbers at their feeders.

via Record-setting bird count – Tillsonburg News – Ontario, CA.

Number one despite wind

Breezy weather couldn’t stop the Long Point Christmas Bird Count from celebrating its 50th anniversary Sat., Dec. 18 by leading the province in species.

via Number one despite wind – Tillsonburg News – Ontario, CA.

Best find recently, is the spotted towhee from the west, found east of Port Burwell, reported by Ron Allensen at his Monarch Landing Sanctuary.

via West Lorne bird count a busy one | Travel | London Free Press.

A new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides yet more evidence that birds did not descend from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs, experts say, and continues to challenge decades of accepted theories about the evolution of flight.

via Study challenges bird-from-dinosaur theory of evolution – was it the other way around? | News & Research Communications | Oregon State University.