Category Archives: Conservation

Special Offer: 25% OFF – Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania

Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania

Penn State University Press has graciously offered a new discount for the recently-published Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania. Audubon chapters and bird clubs helped create the Second Atlas with your observations and financial support, and we are eager to make it as available as possible.

The resulting book is beautiful, full of color photos of each species of nesting bird, multiple maps, and habitats. It’s a real treasure trove of information about Pennsylvania’s nesting birds; a must-have in the library of anyone interested in birds.

Click here for a more detailed description of the book (PDF)

Through this summer, the Second Atlas is now available for 25% off the already subsidized price.

To get this special offer, go to the page for Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania on the Penn State University Press website, select “add to cart”, then “proceed to checkout” and check the box “I have a discount code” and enter: AUD14

I hope you enjoy the book and learn much, pouring over its pages. Thank you for your continued support of bird conservation.

- Dan Brauning
Co-editor, with Bob Mulvihill and Andy Wilson

Protect Pennsylvania’s Endangered Species – Your Action Needed

Protect Pennsylvania's endangered species


Update – March 19, 2014

HB 1576 remains on the House calendar, but is not scheduled for a vote.

PA House leadership indicates that there are not sufficient votes in support of HB 1576 to bring it to a floor vote. This does NOT mean the legislation is dead. Proponents of HB 1576 are still actively lobbying in the capitol.

Update: Keep Up the Pressure – March 11, 2014

The bill was not brought to a vote, reportedly because the House leadership didn’t yet have the votes they needed for passage. They are feeling the strong opposition to this bill, and some in the leadership are beginning to wonder if it’s worth spending political capital to push it through. This is exactly the message we wanted to send — that those voting for this bill will pay a political price for it.

Please keep up the pressure. Call or email again today to reiterate your opposition, and ask them to kill the bill entirely. And please cc the following House leaders:

  • Mike Turzai, House Republican Floor Leader, mturzai@pahousegop.com
  • Frank Dermody, House Democratic Floor Leader, fdermody@pahouse.net
  • Sam Smith, Speaker of the House, shsmith@pahousegop.com
  • William F. Adolph, Jr., House Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman, wadolph@pahousegop.com
  • Joseph Markosek, House Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman, RepMarkosek@pahouse.net

– Scott Weidensaul, via PA-BIRDS email list

Pennsylvania’s mining, fracking and timber industries are pushing to pass a bill next week that would eviscerate our state’s Endangered Species Act. House Bill 1576 aims to strip our wildlife experts of the authority to decide which species are protected. It wants to hand that authority to the industry-dominated Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).

Our voices count. The only reason this bill wasn’t rammed through and into law last autumn was the incredible outpouring of opposition from Audubon supporters and other concerned citizens, but now industry is pushing hard to get it passed in the State House of Representatives on March 11.

The bill is designed to slow the designation process for all species and makes headwater trout streams more vulnerable to impairment. Among other habitats that will be at greater risk of destruction, this bill will make it easier for Marcellus gas drilling companies and other industries to fragment our fragile songbird nurseries in Pennsylvania’s remaining large blocks of forests.

HB 1576 reduces protection for rare plants and animals, and prolongs and politicizes the process through which they are protected. It jeopardizes critical federal funding of the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission; increases the likelihood that federal agencies will exert greater authority on rare species protection in the absence of good state protection; and weakens protection for high-quality streams.

One especially bad aspect of this bill is that it requires agencies to create a redundant database of the location of all threatened or endangered species in the state and share that information with anyone who asks, thus placing sensitive species at risk. There are black-market smugglers (of rare herps like bog turtles, orchids and more) who would love to have that become law. It’s a road map for poaching.

We are up against some powerful forces, especially extractive industries (particularly shale gas) with very deep pockets, and so far we’ve stopped them.

Take Action Now

Speak up to keep our current endangered and threatened species protection program safe and strong. We want species protected based on sound science determined by biologists in the PA Game Commission and the PA Fish and Boat Commission, not through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).

Please contact your PA House Representative today and urge him or her to stand up for Pennsylvania’s endangered species and oppose HB 1576. Even a simple phone call in opposition will help.

Your state representatives depend on where you live. Follow the links below to find your legislators.

The most effective talking point is that you care about wildlife, this bill puts rare species in Pennsylvania at risk, and you will take your rep’s vote on this issue squarely into account at election time.

Wind Power and Eagles

Bald Eagle with American flagHow can the Interior Department sanction the needless killing of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle?

How can the Interior Department sanction the needless killing of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle?

On Friday, December 6, 2013, the Interior Department announced a new rule that would grant wind energy companies 30-year permits to kill Bald and Golden eagles.

Audubon strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threat posed to birds and people by climate change. We need to deploy renewable energy sources aggressively and use conventional sources more efficiently if we are to meet the challenge of our lifetime. At the same time, we must carefully site and manage these facilities to reduce impacts to birds and other wildlife.

This 30-year permit takes us in the wrong direction. This rule was not necessary to promote responsible wind power development. With no effective conservation measures in place, and without adequate monitoring capabilities, the government is locking in unproven and ineffective permit conditions for decades while protecting the wind industry from enforcement. It is a recipe for more dead eagles.

National Audubon has a long history of involvement in wind-wildlife interaction issues, including efforts to develop state guidelines for wind development in California, Washington, Pennsylvania, and New York; providing substantive input regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s policy for wind development on public lands; and working cooperatively to improve the siting, design, and management of wind facilities across the country.

National Audubon has taken a pragmatic, results-oriented approach to reach an agreement with the wind industry that would have protected eagles and supported renewable energy deployment. We did the hard work of finding a real solution. But DOI issued a bad rule that won’t prevent the killing of eagles even while it creates potential roadblocks for renewables deployment.

We don’t think that’s acceptable, and that is why we are speaking out strongly about the new 30-year rule, and actively challenging the Interior Department on their commitment to monitor and enforce current bird protection laws including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Join us in sending a message to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging her to reverse this decision and work with conservation groups and the wind industry to come up with a better solution — one that both promotes wind energy and safeguards our Bald and Golden Eagle populations.

Send a message online through Audubon’s Action Center or by mail to Secretary Sally Jewell, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington DC 20240.

Learn More