The time of year has come again when cats should be kept indoors for the safety of nesting and fledging birds. Please keep them in at night also, as a cat can destroy the entire nest of the parent and babies. This is something proactive that you can do to protect birds.
The American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoors! Campaign writes, and I quote:
The Featherbed Lane Banding and Research Station will be participating in an international study to determine the baseline of what Influenza type A viruses (of which some 144 are currently identified) Neotropical migrant landbirds normally carry, and to identify transmission paths. This information would further the goal of developing custom vaccines against Influenza A. Starting with the 2006 breeding season and for the next four years, we will be taking cloacal swabs of birds of selected species as they migrate through, nest locally, and migrate through again in the fall. Then samples from the same species will be taken from birds captured at Monitero de Sobrevivencia Invernal (monitoring winter survival) stations in Central and South America during the winter. Also by collecting feather samples from a subset of the species and individuals from which the viral samples were collected, genetic and stable isotope analyses can provide information on the connectivity between breeding and wintering populations of these species. This information will be critical for dealing with the spread of an infectious disease.
This is one of the most exciting projects of our times and may be essential for maintaining national and global human health. The project is spearheaded by Dr. Thomas B. Smith of the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, and field coordinated by The Institute for Bird Populations of Point Reyes, CA. As you know, our bird banding station cooperates, now in our 15th year, with the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship project of the IBP.
Interested in recording data in the field? Contact me at 609-466-1871.
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