Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

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 41 of 95

40 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 Birds of Midway Atoll was a success, and today the atoll is free of rats. Midway's Bonin Petrel popula- tion has exploded to astronomical heights since the rats left, Tristram's Storm-Petrels are breeding on Sand Island again, and Bulwer's Petrels may be breeding again as well. Brown Boobies are again nesting on Eastern Island. USFWS staff are busy removing iron- wood trees and Verbesina, cultivating and planting native grasses, and cleaning up soil contaminated with lead. Large parts of Sand and Eastern islands are now cov- ered with nesting albatrosses, where dense patches of Verbesina had excluded them only a few years ago. Until recently, birders could readily visit Midway through organized tours. Unfor- tunately, that has changed. Federal bud- get cuts to the USFWS have made it im- possible for tour groups to visit Midway; birders can only hope that funding for the Midway's visitor program will be restored in the near future. If you have the oppor- tunity, go! Though you can see some of the same specialty birds on the main Hawaiian Islands, visiting Midway is an experience you'll treasure for the rest of your life. Despite the obstacles they face, Midway's seabirds and other wild residents are resil- ient. They have dealt with war, rats, tsuna- mis, an onslaught of invasive plants—you name it. Through our awareness of the human-caused problems there and a will - ingness to take action, many species have been able to hang on and come back. n Bristle-thighed Curlew. Photo © Steve Tucker Map © Rad Smith

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