Birder's Guide

MAY 2014

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 20 of 51

19 May 2014 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community costs, and more pollinators for vegetable gardens. "The best part is that now the com- munity has a unique entrance," he says. "It isn't like every other subdivision in the area." Quigley's experience shows how one individual can change a whole commu- nity, one yard at a time. He says: "You just need to invest a little time and pas- sion into it." Contact Quigley at Delta Wind Birds: Helping Mississippi Shorebirds –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a brand-new federal project called the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative was instituted to help Gulf Coast landown- ers manage their property for wildlife in key areas. The partnership was so popu- lar (enrolling nearly half a million acres, three times as much as projected, with a budget of $40 million) that it has inspired other, similar programs; for instance, in 2011, the initiative was expanded to in- clude the northern Great Plains, paying farmers across the Midwest to restore and manage wetland areas. Three birders from Oxford, Mississip- pi—Jason Hoeksema, Gene Knight, and J. R. Rigby—heard about the success of these programs and embraced the con- cept. In the fall of 2013, they decided to create their own organization, called Delta Wind Birds, to help migratory shorebirds ("wind birds") in the Missis- sippi Delta region. "In many cases, agricultural manage- ment of the landscape produces quality shallow-water habitat and mudfats for shorebirds, but not always in the right season," they point out. Their idea was to provide incentives for farmers to leave their land shorebird-friendly while the birds are moving through. Within a few months, Delta Wind Birds formed partnerships on local and state levels, and, to spread the good word about birding in the Mississippi Delta, began hosting ID workshops, birding trips, and other creative events, including a "Know your LBJs Like Your ABCs" sparrow workshop, a "Fifty Shades of Gray" gull workshop, and a "Woodcocks and Wine" fundraiser. The group maintains an active Facebook page: Allen Williams: Bird Magnets in School Grounds –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Allen Williams, who owns a landscap- ing business in Pharr, Texas, has, for more than a decade, maintained one of North America's birdiest yards. His 2.5- acre property in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is a lush oasis of native trees, shrubs, vines, and other plants. "The After some back-and-forth, Gallus Quigley convinced his homeowner's association to embrace native plants. Photo © Gallus Quigley Delta Wind Birds co-founders Gene Knight (middle) and Jason Hoeksema (right) scope out shorebirds in a west Mississippi catfish pond with state ornithologist Nick Winstead (left). Photo © J. R. Rigby At a recent Winter Sparrow identification workshop, the Delta Wind Birds group stalks Le Conte's Sparrows at the Sardis Waterfowl Refuge in northern Mississippi. Photo © Stuart Nielsen 2-Conservation Milestones.indd 19 5/22/14 7:34 PM

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