The Ornithological Council welcomes FWS Deputy Director Williams

The Ornithological Council has sent a letter to Martha Williams, congratulating her on her appointment as Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

That letter included the OC’s recommendations for the new administration.

Williams began her career as an  attorney for Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, then served as Deputy Solicitor Parks and Wildlife at the Department of the Interior and worked as a professor at the Blewett School of Law at the University of Montana. Most recently, she was Director of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Read the press release from the Department of the Interior, announcing William’s appointment, here.

A few more volunteers needed to assist in updating the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research

The Ornithological Council is planning a minor revision to the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. This foundational publication, now in its third edition, provides an in-depth guide to the animal welfare considerations when performing research involving wild birds, including ethical considerations and the legal framework that must be followed by researchers. Topics include investigator impact generally, collecting and trapping, marking, transport, housing and captive breeding, minor and major manipulative procedures, and euthanasia.

The last edition was published in 2010. The Ornithological Council is interested in compiling updated references from the last 10 years so we can include those in the next update. If you are aware of a methods paper relevant to a topic covered in the Guidelines, please submit the citation (and if you have it, a PDF of the paper or a link to it) to Laura Bies (laurabiesoc@gmail.com). Also submit papers that are not methods papers per se but assess the impact of the study methods.

We are still looking for volunteers to coordinate the literature reviews for the chapters below. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Laura Bies at laurabiesoc@gmail.com.

Chapter 2. Impact of Investigator Presence
Chapter 4. Transport of Wild Birds
Chapter 5. Captive Management
Chapter 7. Major Manipulative Procedures
2018 Supplement: Drones

The 2010 edition of Guidelines is available here.

November/December NewsBRIEF

Happy New Year! The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities from November and December 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. Met with staff from:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird office, to talk about the suggestions that the OC provided recently to USFWS Migratory Bird program staff on ways to streamline the permitting process and increase consistency among permitting processes and procedures across the USFWS regions. USFWS MB staff reported that many of those actions are underway and some are complete

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.

The Director of the Institute for Animal Laboratory Research (ILAR), to talk about the newly announced Standing Committee on the Care and Use of Animals in Research (see below) and the future directions of ILAR.

2. Submitted two nominations for ILAR’s new Standing Committee on the Care and Use of Animals in Research. Learn more here.

3. Attended 2 webinars regarding the transition to the Biden administration and what it means for conservation and ornithology.

4. Submitted recommendations to the Day One project (an initiative of the American Federation of Scientists) on key science positions within the federal government. Learn more here.

5. Attended a webinar regarding CDC’s import permit system and then reached out to 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.

6. Launched an update of the Guidelines for the Use of Wild Birds In Research. We’re looking for methods papers published in the last 10 years relevant to the topics covered in the Guidelines, as well as volunteers to lead chapter literature reviews. Learn more here.

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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes habitat definition
USFWS declines to uplist Northern Spotted Owl to endangered
National Wildlife Health Center Wildlife Health Bulletin on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
USFWS declines to list Tufted Puffin
Final environmental review of rule limiting MBTA published
The Ornithological Council weighs in on key science positions in U.S. government
USFWS announces public meeting on Red-cockaded Woodpecker downlisting
OC nominates two ornithologists for new standing committee
New fact sheets available on the Ornithological Council’s website

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.


8. Continued to reach 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 ED Bies yet, feel free to get in touch.

The Ornithological Council is updating the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research – and we need your help!

The Ornithological Council is planning a minor revision to the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. This foundational publication, now in its third edition, provides an in-depth guide to the animal welfare considerations when performing research involving wild birds, including ethical considerations and the legal framework that must be followed by researchers. Topics include investigator impact generally, collecting and trapping, marking, transport, housing and captive breeding, minor and major manipulative procedures, and euthanasia.

The last edition was published in 2010. The Ornithological Council is interested in compiling updated references from the last 10 years so we can include those in the next update. If you are aware of a methods paper relevant to a topic covered in the Guidelines, please submit the citation (and if you have it, a PDF of the paper or a link to it) to Laura Bies (laurabiesoc@gmail.com). Also submit papers that are not methods papers per se but assess the impact of the study methods.

We are also looking for volunteers to coordinate the literature reviews for each chapter. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Laura Bies at laurabiesoc@gmail.com.

The chapters in the Guidelines are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Impact of Investigator Presence
  3. Capture and Marking
  4. Transport of Wild Bird
  5. Captive Management
  6. Minor Manipulative Procedures
  7. Major Manipulative Procedures
  8. Scientific Collecting

The 2010 edition of Guidelines is available here.