July-August NewsBRIEF

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in July and August 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. Contacted the Secretary of the Interior asking the department to reconsider its 2019 ban on the use of drones. The letter also asks Interior to move forward with regulations regarding the use of drones for wildlife research.

2. Participated in a new National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine committee. Dr. William Bowerman, current Vice Chair of the Ornithological Council, was appointed as one of 13 members of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research’s new Standing Committee for the Care and Use of Animals in Research. 

3. Participated in planning an animal welfare workshop. OC Executive Director Laura Bies is currently participating in the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Institute for Laboratory Animal Research’s workshop planning committee for a workshop to be held in early 2022 on “Discussing and Understanding Animal Welfare Challenges in Research and Education on Wildlife, Non-Model Animal Species, and Biodiversity.” 

4. Met with the staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds program, to discuss the agency’s policy change regarding permits for import under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service will no longer issue ‘blanket’ import permits, instead requiring that all import permits list dates, species and numbers. During the meeting, USFWS staff and OC Executive Director Bies discussed results from the recent survey of ornithologists conducted by the OC in cooperation with the co-chairs of the American Ornithological Society’s Collections Committee to gain insight into the current and recent MBTA import permits.

5. Participated in a quarterly meeting with Bird Banding Lab staff, to discuss issues of mutual interest. 

6. Continued work on our update of the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. We are currently in the process of reviewing the literature for new papers published since the 2010 publication of the current edition. New reference lists for each chapter are being made available on BIRDNET.org once completed, and once all chapter updates have been completed, a new PDF of the Guidelines with the new references will be compiled and posted online. 

7. Provided direct individual assistance to ornithologists who belong to OC member societies regarding how to obtain the permits necessary to complete their research. During July and August, assistance was offered to three individuals. 

8. Posted articles and updates on the Ornithology Exchange regarding:

Ornithological Council urges Interior to re-think drone ban

USFWS proposes listing Emperor Penguins as threatened under ESA

Legislation reintroduced to ensure MBTA covers incidental take

Northern Spotted Owl Habitat Revised

APHIS releases final guidance on field studies

Red Knot critical habitat proposed