September/October NewsBrief

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities from September and October 2020. 

The Ornithological Council seeks to

  • Ensure that the best ornithological science is incorporated into legislative, regulatory, and management decisions that affect birds;
  • Enhance the ability of ornithologists to pursue professional activities; and
  • Promote the influence of ornithology in public affairs. 

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 our Executive Director with questions or concerns about this report or about any other matter of concern to your society or your society’s members.

In this time period, the Ornithological Council:

1. Submitted written comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding draft guidance on the definition of “field study” under the Animal Welfare Act.

2. Provided oral testimony during a virtual listening session regarding the new regulations governing birds not bred for research under the Animal Welfare Act, which USDA APHIS is in the process of developing. We also submitted longer written comments for the record after the listening session.

3. OC Executive Director Bies met with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird office and the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center/Leetown Science Center to talk about issues of mutual concern.

4. Following up to the meeting with USFWS Migratory Bird program staff, we provided suggestions to USFWS staff on ways to streamline the permitting process and increase consistency among permitting processes and procedures across the USFWS regions.

5. OC Executive Director Bies received a demonstration of the new epermits system launched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provided feedback on the system to USFWS staff. Read more about the launch, including the USFWS press release quoting OC ED Bies here.

6. Posted articles and updates on the Ornithology Exchange regarding the newly released OC Import Guide (the completion of this revision was discussed in the July/August NewsBrief), the newly launched USFWS online permit system, a report on natural collections from the National Academy of Science, an update on the current status of the OC, downlisting of the red-cockaded woodpecker, the call for nominees for a new NAS Standing Committee for the Care and Use of Animals in Research, and the comments from the OC on draft field study guidanceand the regulation of birds under the AWA, as discussed above. All these updates, and more, are always available on the ‘News From the OC’ forum on Ornithological Exchange. Each time OC posts in the News from the OC forum, the link is sent to the OC society representatives to share with their networks. If your society would like these emails sent directly to someone else in your society, please let me know.

7. OC Executive Director Bies began reaching out to OC society social media contacts/communications managers to talk about ways to share information, jointly broaden our reach, and be more efficient in our communications. If your society social media contacts/communications managers haven’t talked to Bies yet, feel free to get in touch.

8. Provided individual assistance to 1 individual regarding permits. Name and society affiliations available upon request.

As always, we appreciate your support of the Ornithological Council!