Birder's Guide

MAY 2015

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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7 May 2015 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community tinent-wide scale, these data should help show where kestrels are nesting and why some populations are declining. Anyone with a kestrel nest box can list it on the American Kestrel Partnership's website (below). If you don't have a kestrel box but have some suitable land, why not put one up? As Miller points out, screech- owls take the same size nest box, so you might get some owls as well. To fnd out more, check out kestrel. Gillian Martin: Life for Dead Trees ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– If you were a bluebird, wouldn't you prefer a nice dead tree over a nest box? Gillian Martin, Program Director of the Southern Cal - ifornia Bluebird Club's Cavity Conservation Initiative, be- lieves the answer is YES. Martin and other members of the all-volunteer bluebird club are passionate about their relatively new program to retain dead trees in urban areas, and they are encour- aged by some early success. The club provides nest boxes for cavity-nesting birds to compensate for the wide- spread removal of dead trees in which they historically nested. In 2012, club mem- bers recognized the growing dependence of these birds on artifcial cavities as well as the unsustainability of such a stop-gap measure. "The root problem—the removal of dead trees—was going unchecked," Martin says. "And what a poor substitute nest boxes are for dead trees!" The club started the Cavity Conserva- tion Initiative to encourage the retention of dead trees, not only for cavity-nesting birds but also for the many contributions that dead trees make to diversify habitats. Martin and volunteers designed ma- terials and public programs to help land managers in Orange County manage snags while enabling them to reduce risk to peo- ple and property. They helped change tree- management policies within the county and city parks as well as golf courses and other locations. They also created Wildlife Tree signs that can be nailed to dead and dying trees. The cost of their newest sign was under- written by the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas. Signs explain the value of these trees to wildlife and prevent their acciden- tal removal. Trees with signage also serve as study subjects for youth on feld trips. Youngsters are rewarded with a charm- ing Wildlife Tree Warden patch and are Noah Strycker Creswell, Oregon Above, fourth grader Rachel Supnick, with her classmate, Max Levinson, proudly shows off a few of her kestrel nest boxes. Photo © Stacia Supnick Callie (left), an "education raptor" at The Avian Reconditioning Center in Florida, checks out a nest box. Photo © Allison Miller Community events change attitudes about dead trees. Photo © Gillian Martin

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