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Malcolm C. Coulter, 1947 – 2013. Malcolm was unassuming and worked in the background, so it was only after he passed, when his friends and colleagues began to compare notes, that we realized the many lives and projects he had touched and encouraged. Shortly before he died, he wrote: “It’s not what individuals can do but what we can all do together!”
Malcolm, a product of a comfortable Northern Virginia upbringing and New England boarding school, showed an early interest in animals, eventually focusing on birds. He went on to Stanford, took a master’s at Oxford, then did his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Western Gulls on the Farallon Islands. While there he started a 40-year monitoring project on the islands’ vegetation, one of many such long-term projects unlikely to have a quick payoff but invaluable as the years went by. Healso spent time in Antarctica and Great Gull Island. The Darwin Station in Galapagos offered him a position to lead a conservation program for the Galapagos Petrel which was being threatened by introduced mammals. His budget was small and the logistics were challenging but he put together a team of both islanders and visitors that helped stem the decline of the species. He then went on to run a program at Savannah River National Lab in South Carolina, studying the endangered American Wood Stork. Again he put together a tightly knit team that worked under difficult field conditions that Malcolm characteristically never mentioned, but were the stuff of later stories by Birdville alumni. A growing interest in the conservation of storks and relatives led to him becoming co-chair of the Wetlands International/IUCN specialist group on storks, ibis and spoonbills. It was here that he came into his own. He moved to a small house in rural New Hampshire and used it as a base for visits to countries, particularly in Asia, with species that needed help.
Malcolm kept a very low profile. He mentored and financially sponsored young biologists and conservationists so they could build programs themselves. He would get flustered if he received attention for something, responding: “No, no that is really x’s work. I just gave some advice”. The specialist group grew to over 900 around the world. Like his Farallon plant work, his efforts were geared to the longer term and he seemed to have a great deal of patience as he watched programs grow or waited for them to germinate. His travels took him to interesting places, from the Amur River, to the Korean DMZ to small villages in Xian, China, even as his health began its slow decline. He worked with others in Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, India and Africa. He helped Spoonbill Action Voluntary Echo (SAVE International), a multinational effort, bring the Black-faced Spoonbill back from the edge of extinction. Even when he couldn’t travel, he continued his long term participation in a range of committees, leading the Waterbird Society’s awards committee for years, and serving other groups such as the Pacific Seabird Group.
Ultimately, Malcolm’s life is best described as a 1,000 acts of kindness.
The Awards Committee of the Waterbird Society will receive nominations for two International Awards (Curry-Lindahl and R. Cushman Murphy) and the Society’s Distinguished Service Award.
Provide a 1-2 page document justifying the individual’s service, scientific or conservation contributions as appropriate to the particular award.
Nominations should be emailed to chairman Michael Erwin (USGS senior scientist emeritus) by 30 September at: mikeerwin67 AT yahoo.com.”
Travel awards to assist student attendance at meetings are available by applying to the Society. Awards granted are fairly small and do not cover all expenses for meeting attendance, so students should seek additional sources of funding if support is needed for multiple expenses (e.g., airfare, hotel, registration, meals). In some years funding may not be available, and in other years awards for special categories of study or from the local organizing committee may also be available. You can email Gail Fraser, Student Awards Committee Chair, below, to find out if funds are available or if there are special award categories.
To be eligible for a travel award:
1. Applicants do not need to be a member of the WBS or IWSG to apply for an award.
2. Student must present a paper (oral or poster) at the meeting and must be the lead author, although may have other authors listed on the paper.
Student Travel Awards are given on a competitive basis. Applications will be judged on the cover letter, statement of interest in waterbird research and abstract of the paper to be presented.
Your application must include:
1. Cover letter. Be sure to include your full name, university affiliation, full address, including a telephone and e-mail contact, name of your major professor, title of your presentation and an estimate of your travel costs. Please indicate that you are a student member of the Waterbird Society (or International Wader Study Group). Include a paragraph detailing the amount of money you are requesting and specifying expenses. Also state if you have other funds available.
2. Statement of research in progress or professional plans as they relate to Waterbirds (200 word maximum).
3. Abstract of paper you will present at the meeting.
Deadline for Receipt of Applications: May 31, 2013. Email applications to:
Gail Fraser, gsfraser AT yorku.ca
***If you did not receive confirmation of receipt of your Travel Award application, please contact Gail Fraser, gsfraser AT yorku.ca****
We are pleased to announce the Waterbird Society Student Presentation Award for 2012:
Sarah Trefry, University of New Brunswick
“Wing marker woes: a case study and meta-analysis of the impacts of wing and patagial tags”. Sarah’s PhD research is on frigatebirds.
Photo: Sarah Trefry with chick (photo by James Hudson)
We welcome you to join us in Wilhelmshaven in September 2013!
The Waterbird Society will hold its 37th annual meeting in 2013 in Germany for the first time. The Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland”, one of the oldest ornithological research institutes in the world, will be the host. The meeting venue is the Stadthalle, located in the centre of Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast.
Wilhelmshaven can be reached easily by train from the nearby airports: Bremen, Hamburg, Hannover, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. Wilhelmshaven is located adjacent to the World Heritage Site “Wadden Sea National Park of Lower Saxony”. There will be good opportunities to experience the rich biodiversity of the Wadden Sea, which provides critical habitat for both breeding and migrating waterbirds along the East-Atlantic Flyway.
The opening reception will be held on Tuesday evening 24 September, the closing banquet on 28 September. The three day scientific program will consist of plenaries, symposia, contributed papers and poster sessions. Saturday 28 September will be a joint scientific day with the International Wader Study Group (IWSG) annual conference (27 to 30 September). Mid-conference field trips will be offered on Friday 27 September. Exhibitors, including book and equipment suppliers, will be present during the meeting.
Please check www.waterbirds.org for updated information.
The 37 th annual meeting of The Waterbird Society is organized by the Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, and The Waterbird Society
Prof. Dr. Peter H. Becker Institut fuer Vogelforschung “Vogelwarte Helgoland” An der Vogelwarte 21, D-26386 Wilhelmshaven, Germany NEW email email@example.com Homepage www.vogelwarte-helgoland.de
Call for Abstracts for Oral and Poster Papers – 5th North American Ornithological Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 14-18 August 2012
On 20 January 2012, the NAOC web site began receiving Abstracts for oral papers and posters, and invited symposium papers.
The limit is approximately 250 words for all abstracts, excluding the title and author names and affiliations. Students applying for awards should pay careful attention to special abstract requirements by following the links to student awards.
To submit an abstract, go to http://www.naoc-v2012.com/abstract-submission, follow the instructions and consult the on-line “how to” guide.
The deadline for receipt of Abstracts for all oral and poster papers is 29 February 2012. Abstract acceptances will be sent by 30 April 2012.
The program will include several Workshops, to be scheduled before and after the conference. http://www.naoc-v2012.com/program
Welcome to our new President, Katharine Parsons!
The thirty-fifth annual meeting of the Waterbird Society was held 9-12 November 2011 at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland. This was actually the second Waterbird Society meeting in calendar year 2011; the March 2011 meeting in Nebraska, held jointly with the North American Crane Working Group, was the society’s thirty-fourth annual meeting.
Ellen Paul, Melanie Steinkamp, and Any Bernick constituted the local committee. At the meeting, Will Mackin and Dave Brinker assisted with logistics and AV management
On Thursday 10 November, James A. Kushlan, past-president of the Waterbird Society and recipient of the Waterbird Society’s Kai Curry Lindahl International Conservation Award, recounted from his personal perspective the story of colonial waterbird conservation in North America over the past 40 years, often noting the roles played by Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He discussed the development of some of the major academic and conservation themes in colonial waterbird conservation – inventory and monitoring, populations, behavior and ecology, and conservation action revealing the stories behind the stories as to how we got where we are today and his view of the future of colonial waterbird conservation in North America through hemispheric planning for local conservation action.
On Friday, 11 November, Ted Simons, Professor and Assistant Unit Leader in the US Geological Survey Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biology, NC State University, highlighted the collaborative achievements of the American Oystercatcher Working Group over the past 10 years including; the establishment of range-wide surveys, color-banding protocols, mark-resight studies, a revision of the Birds of North America species account, and new mechanisms for sharing information and data. Collaborations among state, federal, and private sector scientists, natural resource managers, and dedicated volunteers have provided insights into the biology and conservation of oystercatchers in the U.S. and abroad that would not have been possible without the relationships formed through the working group.
Three symposia were presented:
- The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center–contributions to waterbird science and conservation (eight talks honoring the 75th anniversary of PWRC).
- Reddish Egret Conservation (eight talks by researchers and land managers who are currently engaged in ongoing reddish egret research and conservation projects)
- The BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill and waterbird conservation (seven talks on the first pre-spill assessments of the earliest patterns of injuries detected to various waterbird species and guilds found in the Gulf of Mexico)
Two special sessions were presented:
- American Oystercatcher Conservation Science (seven talks)
- Migration and Wintering areas of Arctic- and Temperate-nesting Waterbirds (six talks)
Papers presented in symposia: 23
Papers presented in special sessions: 13
Papers presented in general sessions: 42
Posters presented: 30
James A. Kushlan is a writer, scientist, educator, and conservationist. His research and conservation work focuses on waterbirds, seabirds, and wetlands. He has written over 200 papers and several books including Herons Handbook (1984), The Freshwater Fishes of Southern Florida (1987), Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills of the World (1993), Heron Conservation (2000), The Herons (2005), Waterbird Conservation for the Americas (2005), and Conserving Herons (2007). Dr. Kushlan has held positions as research biologist for the National Park Service, professor of biology and director Center for Water Resources Texas A&M University (Commerce), professor and chair of biology University of Mississippi, director Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, senior science advisor US Geological Survey, and research associate Smithsonian Institution. He has served as president of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Waterbird Society, editor of Waterbirds and Florida Field Naturalist. He is the founder and current council member of Waterbird Conservation for the Americas, president of the Bahamas Environment Fund, co-founder and chair of the IUCN Heron Specialist Group, and serves on the boards of the Everglades Foundation, Friends of the Everglades, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, History-Miami, American Ornithologists’ Union, John Cabot University (emeritus), and Biscayne Nature Center. His accomplishments have been recognized by the Waterbird Society’s Kai Curry Lindahl International Conservation Award, as a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union, as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, by a Distinguished Faculty Award at Texas A&M – Commerce, and honorary honorary doctor of science degrees by John Cabot University and by Thiel College.
Dr Kushlan will investigate, from his personal perspective, threads of the story of colonial waterbird conservation in North America over the past 40 years, often noting the roles played by Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He will discuss the development of some of the major academic and conservation themes in colonial waterbird conservation – inventory and monitoring, populations, behavior and ecology, and conservation action revealing the stories behind the stories as to how we got where we are today. There has been a remarkable amount of success and some disappointments along the way. But the future of colonial waterbird conservation in North America seems clear- hemispheric planning for local conservation action.
Ted Simons is a Professor and Assistant Unit Leader in the US Geological Survey Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biology, NC State University. He earned his BS at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle. He served as a research biologist with the National Park Service and the Director of the NPS Cooperative Park Studies at the University of Virginia before coming to NCSU in 1993. His research strives to improve species conservation and monitoring programs, and the management of protected areas through a better understanding of wildlife habitat relationships and sampling methods. Central to that research has been the application of ecological principles to the conservation of rare, endangered, or declining species and their habitats. Recent research has been directed toward the conservation of Neotropical migratory landbirds, including studies of the stopover ecology of birds during migration and breeding birds in southern Appalachian forests, and the conservation of marine birds, including the endangered Hawaiian Petrel, Black‐capped Petrels in the Dominican Republic, and American Oystercatchers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Research is focused in three broad areas: (1) understanding the ecological factors that constrain species diversity and abundance, (2) modeling wildlife habitat relationships at the population and landscape level, and (3) improving wildlife population sampling methods.
Haematopology – collaborative focal species research and management in waterbird conservation.
In this presentation I will highlight the collaborative achievements of the American Oystercatcher Working Group over the past 10 years including; the establishment of range-wide surveys, color-banding protocols, mark-resight studies, a revision of the Birds of North America species account, and new mechanisms for sharing information and data. Collaborations among state, federal, and private sector scientists, natural resource managers, and dedicated volunteers have provided insights into the biology and conservation of oystercatchers in the U.S. and abroad that would not have been possible without the relationships formed through the working group. I will argue that broad collaborative approaches and the engagement of the public are key elements of effective species conservation programs.
The USFWS Migratory Bird Program is inviting input on its proposal to advance marshbird monitoring; specifically feedback on a series of questions which will then inform a summit meeting late in the year. We are very interested in coordinating with Partners in Flight, especially in light of your unique capacity and key role in avian monitoring and data management.
Please take time to review this document and provide feedback to me no later than September 30, 2011. I will be sure to provide information and updates following that as they become available.
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Katie Koch, Midwest Bird Monitoring Coordinator
Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership
Information about the meeting will be posted at the website of the Waterbird Society (http://www.waterbirds.org/annual_meeting).
*THE THIRTY-FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WATERBIRD SOCIETY will be held in Annapolis, Maryland, from 10 Nov – 12 Nov 2011. This meeting will constitute the annual meeting for the 2011 calendar year, and will include presentations of research papers, symposia, workshops, social events and area field trips. The meeting venue is a charming city founded in 1649 and home to the U.S. Naval Academy. Annapolis is a walking city with historical buildings, and waterfront dining and recreation. Chesapeake Bay and nearshore waters offer a variety of field trip options for birding and to view research and restoration sites. Members and prospective attendees are invited to participate in the development of the scientific program by submitting proposals to organize symposia, sessions and workshops. Potential topics include but are not limited to: 1) conservation science of beach-nesting shorebirds, 2) first-year update of impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on waterbirds, 3) assessing abundance and demographics of secretive marshbirds, 4) coordinated monitoring of colonially-nesting waterbirds, 5) restoration of wetland habitats in Chesapeake Bay, 6) transboundary management and conservation issues of seabirds, 7) new developments in tracking technology. Proposals should include 1-2 paragraph summary including rationale, and list of proposed speakers and presentation titles, and should be sent to the Scientific Program Chair by 1 July 2011. Deadline for submitting abstracts for paper sessions and posters is 1 September 2011. Submit an abstract and/or register. Information about the meeting will be posted at the website of the Waterbird Society (http://www.waterbirds.org/annual_meeting). Contacts for the meeting are: ELLEN PAUL, Local Committee Co-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org, Melanie Steinkamp, Local Committee Co-Chair Melanie_Steinkamp@fws.gov, and KATHARINE PARSONS, Scientific Program Chair email@example.com).