Friday, February 6, 2009

Information From Cornell

I am posting some articles and announcements from Cornell building for those who might be interested. I have turned off the comments for this post since I am just passing along information:

  • New Environmental Study: Over Half of New York State’s Birds Have Seen Dramatic Population Changes Since 1980- Ithaca, NY (1/07/2009) -- A new atlas on the birds of New York reveals that during the past two decades over half of New York State’s bird populations have seen dramatic changes in their distributions, with 70 species experiencing significant increases, 58 species experiencing serious declines, and 125 species maintaining relative stability. Among the birds showing the largest increases in New York State are Canada Goose, Wild Turkey, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Common Raven, Turkey Vulture, and Merlin. Those showing the largest decreases are Henslow’s Sparrow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, Common Nighthawk, Purple Martin, and Canada Warbler. Resident woodland birds showed the greatest increases as a group, and grassland birds showed the greatest declines. These new findings, published this month by Cornell University Press in The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, are the result of over 140,000 hours in the field by nearly 1,200 volunteers across New York State. The atlas, edited by two prominent figures in the field, ornithologist Kevin J. McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and wildlife biologist Kimberley Corwin of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), was initiated by the New York State Ornithological Association and implemented by the NYSDEC, which provided the funding, management personnel, oversight, direction, and data capture and management. The majority of the funding came from the state tax check-off program, “Return a Gift to Wildlife.” “This new atlas was truly an incredible team effort by the citizens of New York,” said Kevin J. McGowan. “From those who funded it with small donations via their tax returns to the impressive volunteers who collected the data, the atlas is an inspired monument to the dedication and love New Yorkers have for their wildlife.” Added Kimberley Corwin, “And what’s more, New Yorkers have considerably helped bird populations by planting trees and shrubs that provide food and cover, supporting conservation organizations, and participating in cutting-edge programs such as the Landowner Incentive Program, which we think is outstanding.” The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State will be an invaluable resource for the DEC and other state agencies involved in land management and conservation, as well as counties and towns who make management decisions on smaller scales. Data will also be used at the national level by federal agencies, non-governmental agencies such as the NY Natural Heritage Program and Audubon, as well as universities across the country.

  • Birds in Art/Art in Birds Challenge
    Ithaca, NY--People of all ages are invited to go outside and look for Birds in Art/Art in Birds for a contest sponsored by the Celebrate Urban Birds project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Celebrate Urban Birds is a free, year-round citizen-science project focused on birds in neighborhood settings.
    For the Birds in Art/Art in Birds challenge you can take photos, do some painting, write a story, create a sculpture. What do you see in a bird that is beautiful, stirring, or inspirational? It could be a broken-down nest in winter, a song recording, video of a bird perching on your window, something that makes you stop, look twice, laugh, cry.
    Prizes include bird sound recordings, books, gift certificates, "green" products, and more. We’ll send the first 50 entrants a copy of our "Doves and Pigeons" poster by Julie Zickefoose. Selected images will be posted on the Celebrate Urban Birds website.
    How to enter:
    1. Email your photo, art, or video entry to Links are acceptable for videos.2. Write "Art in Birds/Birds in Art contest" in the subject line. 3. Include your name and mailing address 4. Tell us why you submitted your entry to the Art in Birds/Birds in Art contest.
    Deadline for entries is February 28, 2009
    Visit the Celebrate Urban Birds web site for more information.

    Contact: Karen Purcell, Project Leader, (607) 254-2455,
    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Lab’s web site at

  • JOIN THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT -Count for Fun, Count for the Future February 13-16, 2009New York, NY and Ithaca, NY­-Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to join tens of thousands of bird watchers for the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2009. A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation. “Anyone who can identify even a few species can contribute to the body of knowledge that is used to inform conservation efforts to protect birds and biodiversity,” said Audubon Education Vice-President, Judy Braus. Volunteers take part by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the event and reporting their sightings online at The data help researchers understand bird population trends across the continent, information that is critical for effective conservation. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists, a new record. “The GBBC has become a vital link in the arsenal of continent wide bird-monitoring projects,” said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick. “With more than a decade of data now in hand, the GBBC has documented striking changes in late-winter bird distributions.”Participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest each year. Last year’s winners have been chosen and are now posted on the web site. Participants are also invited to upload their bird videos to YouTube tagged “GBBC.” Some of them will also be featured on the GBBC web site. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win dozens of birding items, including stuffed birds, clocks, books, feeders, and more.Businesses, schools, nature clubs, Scout troops, and other community organizations interested in the GBBC can contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473), or Audubon at or (215) 355-9588, Ext 16. The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by support from Wild Birds Unlimited.

  • Mini-Grants Available for Local Events Neighborhood activities focus on birds and nature
    Ithaca, NY--The Cornell Lab of Ornithology invites organizations and educators to apply for its Celebrate Urban Birds project mini-grants. Mini-grants average $100 to $500 and help fund neighborhood events across North America. Organizations working with traditionally underserved communities are strongly urged to apply.
    Celebrate Urban Birds is a free year-round project that collects information from everyday people about 16 species of birds that may be found in urban areas. Participants spend 10 minutes watching birds in their neighborhood and report their observations online at This information helps scientists better understand how birds survive in cities and make use of greens spaces, including parks and gardens.
    A local Celebrate Urban Birds event connects the arts, music, dance, and gardening with birds and science. Celebrate Urban Birds mini-grants could be used to support a bird-activity day at a local museum, afterschool, library, or community center, or fund art and gardening activities at your club, business, school, senior center, or neighborhood.
    To qualify for a mini-grant, please plan to:
    hold a Celebrate Urban Birds event in 2009
    introduce the public/youth to birds
    collect Celebrate Urban Birds data and inspire others to observe birds and collect data
    distribute Celebrate Urban Birds kits (with posters, seeds, and more)
    integrate the arts
    integrate gardening/habitat creation
    get people outside
    Application deadline is February 15, 2009
    To apply for a mini-grant, please visit No experience with birds required.
    Karen Purcell, Project Leader, (607) 254-2455,