August 2015

Vol. 43, No. 4

Zaps: 43.4

Zaps are notes of awareness and pleas for action that appear in the corresponding print edition of Bird Observer. Here they are from the current issue.


Help MassWildlife count Turkeys through August

Sportsmen and women, birders, landowners, and other wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to assist with this year’s Wild Turkey Brood Survey. MassWildlife conducts a survey from June through August each year to evaluate turkey brood numbers. “The brood survey serves as a long-term index of reproduction,” explains Dave Scarpitti, MassWildlife Turkey Project Leader. “It helps us determine productivity and allows us to compare long-term reproductive success, while providing some estimation of fall harvest potential.” Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics. Scarpitti also points out that citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and he encourages all interested people to participate. A turkey brood survey form is available. Be sure to look carefully when counting turkey broods, the very small poults may be difficult to see in tall grass or brush. Multiple sightings of the same brood can also be noted. MassWildlife is interested in turkey brood observations from all regions of the state, from rural and/or developed areas. The survey period ends August 31. Completed forms should to be mailed to: Brood Survey, DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.

U.S. House of Representatives vs. MBTA

Birding Community E-Bulletin July 2015

In June 2015, the Birding Community E-Bulletin described the announcement of intent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to strengthen implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in order to address some new “incidental takes” from some oil pit, power line, communications towers, and other potential hazards. The report indicated that comments were to be due by July 27th.

In what seemed to be by many as a reaction to this proposal, the U.S. House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate an appropriations bill for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS), HR 2578, which contained a rider. This rider, presented by Congressman Duncan (R-3-SC), amendment 347, would defund enforcement of the MBTA by the Department of Justice for one year.

Bird conservationists around the country were stunned and outraged, prompting a flood of letters, calls, and e-mails to the Senate to make sure the rider would not be part of the Senate companion bill.

While the Senate struck the anti-MBTA rider from its initial consideration of the CJS appropriations bill, there is still a chance that it could reemerge. Congressman Duncan has been trying to get a similar amendment through the House Interior Appropriations bill.

You can get more information from the Ornithology Exchange or the Birding Community E-Bulletin July 2015.

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