March-April NewsBRIEF

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in March and April 2022. 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. Held the annual meeting of our board of directors on April 4. Dr. William Bowerman, with the University of Maryland, was elected as Chair for the coming year. Teresa Patricia Feria, with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, was elected Vice Chair. During that annual meeting, the board discussed developing new OC working groups, to increase capacity and coordination on issues of importance to all OC member societies. These working groups would be populated by volunteers for OC member society, as well as other members of the ornithologist community as appropriate. Priority issues would be determined by OC member societies. More information will be forthcoming as the OC board further develops the topic.

2. Prepared comments on the proposed rule published by the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service that would regulate the use of birds not bred for research under the Animal Welfare Act. The comment deadline has been extended to May 25, so those comments will be submitted soon.

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

4. Participated in a two-day virtual animal welfare workshopOC Executive Director Laura Bies was part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Institute for Laboratory Animal Research’s workshop planning committee for a free virtual workshop held February 9-10 on “Discussing and Understanding Animal Welfare Challenges in Research and Education on Wildlife, Non-Model Animal Species, and Biodiversity.” There were over 1700 registrants for the event, from 72 different countries. Recordings from the workshop, along with PDFs of each speakers’ presentation, are available at the workshop website.

5. Released an updated version of the Guide to the Permits and Procedures for Importing Bird Products into the United States for Scientific Research and Displayas a result of recent changes in permitting systems and requirements. The Guide is available as a free resource on 

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 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 societies regarding how to obtain the permits necessary to complete their research. During March and April, we assisted three individuals with permit issues and onewith animal welfare issues. We also assisted OC member societies with comments on a proposed port expansion in Vancouver, Canada (Waterbirds and the Pacific Seabird Group) and event cancellation insurance for an upcoming annual conference (Association of Field Ornithologists)

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

Animal welfare workshop recordings available

USGS Director nominated

The Ornithological Council updates its Import Guide

Avian Influenza Update

Administration releases budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023

COMMENT OPPORTUNITY: Proposed animal welfare regulation for birds

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Advances in U. S. Senate

USFWS confirms Streaked Horned Lark’s threatened listing

COMMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED: Proposed animal welfare regulation for birds

APHIS launching new online permit system

Update from USDA on avian influenza

All these updates – and more – are always available on the ‘News From the OC’ forum on Ornithological Exchange.