Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Posts about Bird conservation

And this, just in ......

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: September 9, 2014 - 9:26 PM

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) Tuesday reported that in less than 50  years western states including New Mexico, Utah and Arizona have lost almost half their bird populations.

"Right now, about a third of all bird species in the U.S. are in decline," said Steve Holmer of the ABC. It is one of the 23 organizations that cooperated in preparation of the report.

"The decline points to a very broad-scale problem where we're seeing habitat loss and a variety of threats," he said. "We're particularly concerned about the birds that live in deserts and grasslands in the West.

“These lands are being heavily used and there's a great deal of oil and gas development, so it's created a huge conservation challenge."

Shorebird species also are doing poorly, with near half of them endangered or at risk of becoming so. This includes species such as Ruddy Turnstones, Red Knots and Piping Plovers.

It's worse in Hawaii where we have done great ecological damage. including wholewale introduction of non-native species.

"Hawaii is the extinction capital of the world," said Pete Marra, director of the Smithsonian Institution's Migratory Bird Center. "We've seen about 10 extinctions in the past 40 years and all 33 species of endemic Hawaiian birds are in trouble."


Add this to the climate problem, and, well ……


The climate report got posted twice, I think, because the first post was inadvertently lifted word for word from The New York Times; my mistake. I thought the item came from Audubon. I should not do the blog before having morning coffee.

Birds on the climate hot seat

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: September 9, 2014 - 9:03 PM

National Audubon Monday released the results of a seven-year scientific study of the potential impact of global warming on North American birds. Based on four decades of bird census data, here is what we found:

  • 314 species of North American birds — nearly half of all species — could be severely affected by global warming in the coming years at the current pace of warming. The science shows that these birds could lose half or more of their livable ranges by the year 2080 if nothing is done to stop global warming.
  • Many of those severely threatened are birds like the Rufous Hummingbird or the Baltimore Oriole that we see every day, or love and cherish.
  • Some, like the Trumpeter Swan, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and American Avocet, could lose more than 99 percent of their livable range — which puts them at extreme risk for extinction.
  • The science also pinpoints potential “climate strongholds,” key places that will continue to support bird life in the coming decades and which merit urgent protection.

These are conservative estimates based on cutting-edge science and state-of-the-art climate models. The reality could, in fact, be worse.


Raise some hell with Congress. Carbon dioxide isn't the only problem.


September issue, Birding eBulletin

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: September 4, 2014 - 1:39 PM

You can access this issue and the archive of past E-bulletins on the
website of the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA):

The September 2014 edition includes the following topics:

Lower Rio Grande Valley Collared Plover

the argument that timely conservation really does work

new illustrations includes illustrations of rarities that were
not included in the first edition

possible emergency listing of the Tricolored Blackbird on CA
endangered species list

two endangered Puerto Rican parrots were recently hatched for
the first time in 144 years

every effort should be made to adhere to whatever guidelines
have been established to regulate birder crowd control

the battle over off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Hatteras National
Seashore (National Park Service) has gone on for years

US FWS bans the use of neonicotinoids at National Wildlife

permit was issued to a wind-power project in northern California

opportunities to personalize your field guide are practically

use the revenues from offshore oil and gas to support the
conservation of land and water - underfunded and must be renewed to be

Audubon has made a difference

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: August 29, 2014 - 6:10 AM

Bird-friendly glass in the new Vikings’ stadium? Audubon Minnesota and Audubon’s national office have been working very hard to get that done. They are unlikely to win this battle, but they certainly have raised national awareness of the war on needless bird death.

They have put the issue on the map. Give them credit. 

The Vikings gave this effort wings even though team officials have said not a word. You can’t challenge a National Football League team without making news. The glass effort was reported in The New York Times,  Washington Post, USA Today, on CBS national news, on sports channels, in magazines serving the glass, construction, and architectural communities, and in local media.

A campaign to specifically address dangers posed to birds by the reflections found in ordinary window glass would not have earned as much national news coverage.

The issue, as you must know by now, is that ordinary window glass reflects the outside environment. Birds fly toward the reflections, hit the glass, and die in large numbers. There is a glass that contains a visible pattern, fritted glass, that is supposed to alert birds to the glass, and prevent collisions. This is the glass that Audubon wants for the stadium.

The Audubon Minnesota team Wednesday delivered to the office of Gov. Mark Dayton the names of 73,000 people supporting the effort. Audubon collected names via its local and national web sites. 

There had been no word from the governor on his thoughts about this.

Matt Anderson, executive director of Audubon Minnesota, said Thursday he still sees a narrow window of opportunity even now, after the stadium glass reportedly has been ordered.

Regardless, Audubon has done more for the bird/glass issue in the past few weeks than has been accomplished in years of trying to make people widely aware of the problem. 

Better photo of fritted glass

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: August 27, 2014 - 3:46 PM

The fritted glass photo posted a few days ago showed, as I explained, an extreme example of fritting. Fritting is imposition on window glass of a visible pattern. That photo was taken at the Minneapolis Public Library, downtown branch. Fritting there is decorative. Below are photos of fritted glass intended to allow vision while making the window obvious from the outside. The idea in the current discussion is to let birds see windows so they don't try to fly through a reflection. In this case, the fritting consists of small white circles covering the glass at equal and small intervals. This fritting is closer to that which would be used in the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium, in the extremely long chance that the team agreed to use such glass. Added expense is always mentioned as a reason the team has expressed no interest in using fritted glass. A bigger reason, I believe, is that the glass has been ordered; production is underway. To replace that glass now certainly would impact the stadium construction schedule. I doubt if team owners and the sports facility authority would accept that delay. The first photo shows the glass from the inside looking out. The second photo is the reverse.

Below, the two panels of glass upper left have the fritted pattern.


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