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!

The OC releases an updated version of its Import Guide

The Ornithological Council has released another updated version of A Guide to the Processes and Procedures for Importing Bird Products into the United State for Scientific Research and Display. This extensive guide, which was thoroughly updated in 2020, provides a step-by-step guide for ornithologists importing birds or bird products into the U.S. for research and display, including template documents and checklists to follow. The recent updates were made to ensure that the guide remains up to date as permitting requirements and system change.

The Import Guide is available to download for free from the Ornithological Council’s website at BIRDNET.org, as a service to the ornithological community. It contains sections on the import permitting requirements of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA APHIS, and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as information about planning your travel and how to ship your specimen. It leads the ornithologist through the entire process, from paperwork to port and beyond. In addition to the hard-and-fast rules and requirements, this guide also offers best practices and helpful hints.

The guide is updated regularly as agency permitting requirements change, keeping ornithologists in compliance with the many laws and regulations governing the import of bird products.

This new version of the Import Guide includes updates on using the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s new eFile System, which is required for all new and renewal permit applications starting today, May 31, 2022. Learn more about APHIS’ new system here.

If you have any questions after reading the Import Guide or find areas that require further clarification, please contact Laura Bies (laurabiesoc@gmail.com), Executive Director of the Ornithological Council.

OC submits comments on AWA regulation of birds

The Ornithological Council submitted comments this week to the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), regarding their forthcoming regulations for birds not bred for use in research under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). After previous, unfinished attempts at regulating birds under the AWA and subsequent lawsuits forcing agency action, APHIS announced in June 2020 that they were once again starting the rule-making process to develop regulations governing birds not bred for use in research.

In October 2020, the OC submitted written comments and also offered public testimony during a virtual listening session held by APHIS to gather information to assist the agency in the development of their regulations. In June 2020, APHIS released those draft regulations. The comments submitted by the OC this week in response to those draft regulations 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.

Unsure how regulation of birds under the AWA will affect you? Check out the OC’s fact sheet on birds and the AWA.

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 BIRDNET.org. 

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 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.

The Ornithological Council updates its Import Guide

The Ornithological Council has released an updated version of A Guide to the Processes and Procedures for Importing Bird Products into the United State for Scientific Research and Display. This extensive guide, which was thoroughly updated in 2020, provides a step-by-step guide for ornithologists importing birds or bird products into the U.S. for research and display, including template documents and checklists to follow. The recent updates were made to ensure that the guide remains up to date as permitting requirements and system change.

The Import Guide is available to download for free from the Ornithological Council’s website at BIRDNET.org, as a service to the ornithological community. It contains sections on the import permitting requirements of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA APHIS, and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as information about planning your travel and how to ship your specimen. It leads the ornithologist through the entire process, from paperwork to port and beyond. In addition to the hard-and-fast rules and requirements, this guide also offers best practices and helpful hints.

The guide is updated regularly as agency permitting requirements change, keeping ornithologists in compliance with the many laws and regulations governing the import of bird products.

If you have any questions after reading the Import Guide or find areas that require further clarification, please contact Laura Bies (laurabiesoc@gmail.com), Executive Director of the Ornithological Council