January/February NewsBrief

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities from January and February 2021.

The Ornithological Council’s mission is 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 comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, in response to the agency’s decision to freeze implementation of the previous administration’s final rule and to reopen the comment period. The comments stressed the inadequacy of the environmental analysis conducted on the rule and urged a return to the previous interpretation of the MBTA. Learn more here.
  2. Prepared our 2020 Annual Report, highlighting our accomplishments during calendar year 2020. View or download the report here.
  3. Sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new principal deputy director, Martha Williams, congratulating her on her new position. That letter included the OC’s recommendations for the new administration. Read more here.
  4. Contacted the Director of the CDC’c Division of Select Agents and Toxins in the Center for Preparedness and Response regarding concerns the OC has about the requirements for certification and treatment of imports, after not receiving a response to our December inquiry.
  5. Began discussions with both the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) and the IACUC Administrators Association (IAA) about animal welfare and wildlife issues. ILAR is planning a workshop on animal welfare issues associated with wildlife research and Bies will serve on the planning committee. IAA is working on gathering and preparing resources for ICACUC administrators on wildlife and Bies will be assisting in that effort.
  6. Began the update of the Guidelines for the Use of Wild Birds In Research. We’re secured several volunteers to lead chapter literature reviews. But we still need a few more! Scroll down to the post below for more information.
  7. Met with staff from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center/Leetown Science Center, in a quarterly meeting we’ve established to share information and news and brainstorms ways to work better together.
  8. Posted articles and updates on the Ornithology Exchange regarding:

MBTA rule finalized by FWS

Interior Least Tern delisted

Critical habitat for Northern Spotted Owls Slashed

Lawsuits challenge MBTA rule

OC’s 2020 Annual Report released

Biden administration freezes MBTA rule; reopens comment period

New administration hits the ground running

The Ornithological Council welcomes FWS Deputy Director Williams

Notice from FWS regarding new online permit system

Implementation of Northern Spotted Owl habitat reduction delayed

The Ornithological Council submits (more) comments on MBTA

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.

9. Provided individual assistance to one ornithologist regarding permits. Name and society affiliations available upon request. OC staff also assisted with getting the word out to the ornithological community when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new online permitting system accidentally sent an unnecessary email to all registered users.

10. Dealt with several administrative tasks such as developing a new handbook for incoming OC Board Members, drafting a new document retention policy, and reviewing old files to determine what to archive, what to digitize, and what to recycle.