OOS RETURNS TO SHAWNEE STATE PARK!Plan to join your fellow OOS members at Shawnee State Park near Portsmouth, Ohio April 24 to 26, 2015. Not only will this event give you a chance to head south to meet the first big wave of spring migration, you'll also get to enjoy excellent presentations, the charm of the Shawnee State Park lodge, and the wonderful fellowship of a bunch of fun, avid birders. Details coming soon!
Native Cavity Nesters WorkshopDarlene Sillick and Paula Ziebarth, Ohio Bluebird Society Area Contacts, are presenting native cavity nester workshops on March 14, 2015. The events will be held at Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio. Those interested should call Stratford and register at 740-363-2548. Indicate which session(s) you wish to attend when calling in:“Backyard Bluebirding Basics”
Don't miss this great opportunity to help our native cavity nesting birds raise young successfully!
Passenger Pigeons in Ohio
Compiled by Bill Whan from http://passengerpigeon.org/states/Ohio.html
Historian Caleb Atwater observed in 1838 that passenger pigeons still passed through Ohio in huge numbers in the spring and fall, adding that "[f]ormerly the pigeons tarried here all summer, building their nests, and rearing their young, but the country is too well settled for them now; and so, like the trapper for beaver, and the hunter, they are off into the distant forests, where their food is abundant, and where there is none to disturb them in their lawful pursuits." Actually, large nesting colonies survived in a few spots in the state after the middle of the century, even though there were growing numbers of humans who continued to persecute them.
By 1882, Wheaton, born in 1840 and author of Report on the Birds of Ohio, observed it had become "much less abundant and irregular." Less than twenty years later its extinction in the wild was complete. Lawrence Hicks in 1935 summed up its former abundance in “immense numbers in every section of the state and presumably breeding generally, though usually locally and in very large colonies,” citing confirmed large nestings historically in rural Licking, Pickaway, Morrow, Huron, Wayne, Medina, Columbiana, Portage, Trumbull, Ashtabula, and Geauga counties.
Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
Still extant is a mounted specimen, now at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, collected in the state in 1900, thought for many years to have been the last pigeon verified in the wild. Martha, a pigeon kept at the Cincinnati Zoo until her death in 1914, is considered to have been the last of all her kind.
Birding FestivalsLooking for a birding festival this summer? Visit the Bird Watcher's Digest "Festival Finder" page to have look for festivals around the country. This is a great way to get to find birds with local guides and field trips to hotspots in the area, and a fun way to get to know other birders too!
VIREO Bird Photos
VIREO (Visual Resources for Ornithology) is the world-wide bird photography collection of The Academy of Natural Sciences. With more than 160,000 photographs representing over 7,000 species VIREO is the world's most comprehensive collection of ornithological images, http://vireo.acnatsci.org. More than 700 photographers from around the world have contributed to VIREO. The collection contains work by some of the world's most talented bird photographers. This can be useful to help with bird ID.
Pesticide Use and Grassland Bird Decline
First Bees, Now Birds
From Pesticide Action Network North America
Prairie bird populations are falling in many Midwestern states, from ring-necked pheasants to horned larks to sparrows. Scientists now say insecticides are a primary culprit.
Minnesota birds are hardest hit with 12 species in decline, followed by Wisconsin with 11, and Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and New York with nine affected species each.
The recent study looked at a range of possible causes of the population declines, including habitat loss which has long been considered a key driver of the problem.
Bird conservationists are “still concerned” about range management, urban development and loss of habitat, but are now focusing additional attention on the harmful impacts of pesticides. According to Cynthia Palmer, Manager of the Pesticides Program at American Bird Conservancy:
[This study] suggests that we also need to rein in the use of lethal pesticides in agriculture, and that we need to be especially careful about any new pesticides we introduce into these ecosystems such as the neonicotinoid insecticides.
Neonicotinoid use has increased dramatically in recent years, and as we've reported here before, many studies link this class of systemic pesticides with dramatic honey bee declines. American Bird Conservancy is expected to release a toxicological assessment of neonicotinoid impacts on birds and other organisms soon.
The current study was conducted by Dr. Pierre Mineau, a scientist recently retired from Environment Canada, along with Mélanie Whiteside of Health Canada. Using pesticide-use data from the 1980s and 1990s, the study focused on organophosphate insecticides such as diazinon and chlorpyrifos, as well as carbamates. According to Dr. Mineau:
What this study suggests is that we need to start paying a lot more attention to the use of pesticides if we want to reverse, halt or simply slow the very significant downward trend in grassland bird populations.