Birder's Guide

AUG 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 9 of 35

8 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | August 2018 Conservation Milestones ing the students at Burroughs Community School had the opportunity to experience the joys of nature year-round. For the past three years, she has worked tirelessly to bring the wonders of the outdoors indoors through Project FeederWatch, a 30-year—and count- ing—citizen science study operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, equipping everyday birders (and soon-to-be birders) with the tools and knowledge needed to monitor visitation to feeding stations across North America. Amy installed a gourmet feeding sta- tion—thistle, suet, and sunflower—in the nearby tree grove, and wrangled a class - room-size set of binoculars and scopes for better viewing. She also created pocket- sized, laminated field guides with informa - tion on the most common birds of the area. "I usually start our observation time by prefocusing all the binoculars, although they rarely stay that way, and taping diop- ters in place, because little hands can't resist twisting," says Amy. "I also hang different-colored feed- ers so I can announce, 'There's a Goldfinch on the yellow feeder.'" The development of the stu- dents' interests in birds has grown beyond the rigid scientific structure of Project FeederWatch. Although Amy and her students follow a strict survey protocol for tallying birds at feeders, they can't help but count everything they encounter—even the flybys that couldn't care less about the seed. Amy has fallen into the routine of maintaining additional lists of all birds seen during observation time, not just those that visit their feeders, which the kids enjoy comparing to species reported in previous years. This gives way to dis- cussions about differences in abundance between years, and the kids hypothesize reasons for these observed differences. Amy's years of hard work, problem solv- ing, and patient guidance have truly paid off. Now, when Amy walks through the classroom doors, she is met with cheers of excitement from dozens of budding bird- ers eager to lay their eyes on their feath - ered friends. "I am simultaneously relieved and re- gretful when our FeederWatch season ends. It takes a lot of time for me as a vol - unteer, but the payoff more than makes up for it. I get to introduce 300+ kids to the wonders of birds every year," Amy says. To learn more about Project FeederWatch or to bring it to your school, household, or community, visit Central New Mexico Audubon: Window Warriors ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Based on a comprehensive study by sci- entists at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it is estimated that between 365 and 988 million birds are killed each year in the U. S. after flying head first into buildings. Those casualty estimates are striking, and frankly a bit over- whelming to think about, but a group of Albuquerque window warriors is making moves to solve this problem one square foot of glass at a time. Several months ago, staff at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden approached the Central New Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) for advice on how to treat glass on a building that was a "major bird-killer"—everything from ducks to hummingbirds. Managers at the Botanic Garden felt that showcasing a building posing significant danger to wildlife was inconsistent with the BioPark's values, and they were eager to find a solution. The building's façade was 660 square feet of glass reflecting a lush native landscape from 20 feet away, inviting birds of all kinds over for their last flap. An initial observation noted 23 collision impressions on the glass, an unacceptable number of window strikes given the location of the Botanic Garden, a stone's throw from the Rio Grande, an important greenspace for migratory and resident birds alike. CNMAS did an evaluation and pre - pared a report with options for retrofitting the glass with collision-deterrent mate- rials. The options varied in cost, but all were products tested or recommended by the American Bird Conservancy and were deemed appropriate for this case. Botanic Garden managers selected Solyx ® Bird- Safety Window Film, which uses thin hor- izontal lines to break up image reflections. The film was professionally installed this spring, just in time for the migration season. CNMAS is optimistic that the treatment will substantially reduce bird n One of Amy Simso Dean's students prac- tices using a spotting scope. Hint: twist down the eye cup for better viewing with glasses. Photo © Amy Simso Dean n Window strike victims recovered by CNMAS volunteers during a single morning of surveying in downtown Albuquerque. Photo © Raymond VanBuskirk Continued on page 10

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