OC bimonthly news brief Mar-Apr 2024

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in March and April 2024. Over the last two months, Ornithological Council staff: 1. Released a revised strategic plan, which builds off of the 2006 strategic plan, updating and streamlining it. The revised plan was developed with input from the entire OC board of directors, which includes representatives of all the OC member societies. The work was led by a subcommittee of the board of directors. Read the OC's revised strategic plan here. Read More

Annual members meeting (virtual) on May 14, 2024

Please join us for the annual AFO Members Meeting next month on Tuesday, May 14th from 2-3:30pm Eastern Time. We have an informative agenda that will update members on recent AFO accomplishments. Following the meeting we will be treated to a fun presentation by AFO Communications and Marketing Specialist, Agustina Torretta. She will present: “Saffron-cowled Blackbird Project: A translator’s gateway to the conservation world.” Read More

Tree Swallows begin laying eggs earlier with increasing spring temperatures

Many bird species have advanced their first egg dates in response to recent milder winters and increases in spring temperatures. My colleagues and I studied the timing of egg laying by Tree Swallows nesting in boxes in west Michigan from 1993 to 2018. Within species, birds that begin laying earlier in the breeding season tend to produce more offspring that subsequently become breeders than do those that begin laying later. In a 2020 paper [...], my colleagues and I showed that Tree Swallows at our study site that began laying early... Read More

Sora research and morphometrics on the Patuxent River, Maryland

Nestled near the middle of the Patuxent River stands Jug Bay — the largest freshwater tidal wild rice (Zizania aquatica) marsh in Maryland. It boasts a unique and rich history intertwined with the region’s abundance of migrating Sora (Porzana carolina). These elusive birds have drawn hunters to the Patuxent for over 200 years. Historical logs from local gun clubs paint a vivid picture of Jug Bay's allure, including one staggering account of just three hunters, from one of the clubs, bagging a remarkable 1,800 Soras in six hours. Read More

New information from old tags: getting the most out of geolocator data

Just about every bird nerd I know loves a good tracking study. As tracking tags have gotten lighter, we’ve been able to deploy them on more and more species. The movements they have uncovered have confirmed suspected migratory routes in some cases and completely flipped those expectations on their head in others. But regardless, the information we gather from tracking tags are both exciting to read about and invaluable to protecting migratory birds. Read More

OC bimonthly news brief Nov-Dec 2023

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in November and December 2023. The Ornithological Council’s mission is to: Our work focuses on animal welfare issues, permits, research funding, and other policies that affect ornithologists and ornithological societies. We greatly appreciate your support. Please contact Laura Bies with questions or concerns […] Read More

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) breeding season roost site selection in a working agricultural landscape in Clay County, Mississippi

Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) have been considered a beloved gamebird of the North American hunter for generations. Unfortunately, bobwhite populations are experiencing range-wide population declines. By the early 1990s, bobwhite populations declined by 60-80% throughout approximately 70% of their range. Read More

Statement on common name changes

The Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO) strongly endorses efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of ornithology and the pastime of birding. The recent decision by the American Ornithological Society to change all eponymous bird names caused a stir in much of the ornithological community.  We have had many discussions among AFO […] Read More

Studying Bird Migration without ever capturing a single bird

The ability to attach devices such as satellite transmitters or geolocators to birds has transformed our knowledge of how birds migrate. However, these technologies have their limits. They require capturing the birds, usually twice, and the expense limits most studies to a small number of individuals within a relatively limited portion of their range. Also, some species, such as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, are too small to allow tagging with current geolocators. Read More