July-August NewsBRIEF

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in July and August 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:

Prepared comments on the permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, CITES, and the Wild Bird Conservation Act. These comments were submitted in two different letters, which you can read here and here. 

Reinvigorated its ‘supporting membership’ category, to expand its membership and its reach to ensure that all ornithologists can benefit from the OC’s resources and expertise. Now, organizations and institutions can become part of the OC community of those who work with and love birds. Two applications for supporting membership have been approved by the OC board, from the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and the Ventana Wildlife Society. Learn more here. https://birdnet.org/oc/supporting-members/

Launched two new working groups, focusing on (1) the use of wild birds in research and (2) permitting issues. The board’s vision is that each working group will have about 5 or 6 members, representing the breath of our societies’ geographic and taxonomic diversity. This will offer ornithologists of all ages and career levels a chance to interact with representatives from other societies, contribute to the ornithological community in a new way, and dig deeper into issues they are interested in. Society leadership will be hearing more from their OC representatives soon!

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

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 (only one chapter is left to be completed!), and once all chapter updates are ready, a new PDF of the complete Guidelines with the new references will be compiled and posted online. If you’d like to help with Chapter 3: Capture and Marking, please contact our Executive Director.

Provided direct individual assistance to ornithologists who belong to OC societies regarding how to obtain the permits necessary to complete their research. During July and August, we assisted two individuals with permit issues. We also assisted one IACUC with animal welfare issues. 

Posted articles and updates on the Ornithology Exchange regarding:

White House mandates immediate open access for federally funded research

Applegate sworn in as USGS Director

OC comments on various USFWS permits

Sixty-third Supplement to the Check-list of North American Birds published

OC submits comments on MBTA permits

Court strikes down Trump-era ESA rules

COMMENT OPPORTUNITY: USFWS taking additional comments on Ivory-billed delisting

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

OC comments on various USFWS permits

The Ornithological Council submitted comments today in response to a request for comments on an information collection for the permits that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues under the Endangered Species Act, CITES, Wild Bird Conservation Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The comments submitted by the OC highlight several concerns of the ornithological community, including the current delays in permit processing and the difficulties with validating CITES permits.

The Federal Register notice from the USFWS is available here. You can read the OC’s comments here.

OC submits comments on MBTA permits

The Ornithological Council submitted comments today in response to a request for comments on an information collection for the permits that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The comments submitted by the OC highlight several concerns of the ornithological community, including the current delays in permit processing and the agency’s move away from blanket permits for imports and exports under the MBTA.

The Federal Register notice from the USFWS is available here. You can read the OC’s comments here.

May/June NewsBRIEF

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide this bimonthly report covering activities in May and June 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:

– 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 comments submitted by the OC note that, while the OC believes strongly that all birds should be treated humanely, in the laboratory and in the field, additional regulation of birds under the AWA may well be duplicative to already existing regulation of such research under different laws and rules. Read the OC’s comment letter here.

– Reinvigorated its ‘supporting membership’ category, to expand its membership and its reach to ensure that all ornithologists can benefit from the OC’s resources and expertise. Now, organizations and institutions can become part of the OC community of those who work with and love birds. Supporting memberships are just $500/year for international and national organizations and $250/year for local and regional organizations. Learn more here.

– Released another updated version of the Guide to the Permits and Procedures for Importing Bird Products into the United States for Scientific Research and Display, as a result of recent changes in permitting systems and requirements. The Guide is available as a free resource on BIRDNET.org. 

– 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.  

– Provided direct individual assistance to ornithologists who belong to OC societies regarding how to obtain the permits necessary to complete their research. During May and June, we assisted 3 individuals with permit issues.

– Posted articles and updates on the Ornithology Exchange regarding:

Canada updates migratory bird regulations

ESA habitat definition rescinded

Arati Prabhakar nominated as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

Survey seeks info on colonial seabirds during the current HPAI outbreak 

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act passes the U.S. House

New APHIS online permit system launched

OC submits comments on AWA regulation of birds

In case you missed it: New Ivory Billed pre-print available

Bi-State Sage Grouse listing to be reconsidered

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

OC launches Supporting Memberships!

For thirty years, the Ornithological Council has been the voice for ornithologists in Washington, D.C. and has provided expert advice to empower and support all manner of work with birds. Founded and historically supported by ornithological societies, the Ornithological Council is expanding its membership and its reach to ensure that all ornithologists can benefit from its resources and expertise. Organizations interested in supporting the OC can now become supporting members. Learn more here!