Tag Archives: usfws

Zinke To BLM, USFWS, NPS: Figure Out How To Increase Fishing, Hunting Access

Federal land managers are being directed to figure out how to provide more fishing and hunting access under a directive signed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today, a move lauded by sportsmen’s groups.

It follows on troubling news earlier this week that participation in hunting dropped by 2.2 million between 2011 and 2016, but could help open more lands, so key to the opportunities we enjoy.

MANAGERS OF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT GROUND AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ARE BEING ASKED HOW TO INCREASE HUNTING AND FISHING ACCESS UNDER AN ORDER FROM DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR SECRETARY RYAN ZINKE. THAT PROCESS HAS BEEN ONGOING AT PLACES LIKE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WHERE SPECIAL HUNTS FOR AN INCREASING ELK HERD HAVE BEEN HELD, BUT ZINKE’S ORDER COULD OPEN EVEN MORE OPPORTUNITY. (TURNBULL NWR)

“The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands,” said Zinke in a press release. “As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4 a.m. with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.”

His order calls for:

  • The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service to come up with plans within four months for expanding access to hunting and fishing on their lands;
  • Amend management plans for national monuments to specifically ensure hunting and fishing on them;
  • Identify federal lands where those activities are limited;
  • Expand outreach to underserved communities;
  • Develop a “one-stop” website outlining sporting opportunities on all Department of Interior lands;
  • And improve wildlife management collaboration with states, tribes, conservation groups and others.

Ducks Unlimited was supportive, particularly the part of Zinke’s order calling for “significantly” increasing waterfowl populations through habitat projects, as well as more hunting opportunities.

“Wetlands are not only a valuable resource for our nation’s waterfowl, but they also benefit more than 900 other species of wildlife,” noted Dale Hall, DU CEO, in a press release. “Investments in the conservation of wildlife habitats, like wetlands, are vital in preserving, protecting and advancing our nation’s long hunting and angling heritage. At the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring that all Americans and those generations to come, have access to the wildlife and wild places that we enjoy today.”

In recent years, USFWS has gradually been increasing waterfowl, big game and fishing opportunities on Northwest refuges and those across the country.

Land Tawney of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers said his organization looked forward to working with Zinke and Interior.

“Our hunting and fishing traditions rely on both conservation and access, with insufficient access being the No. 1 reason cited by sportsmen for forgoing time afield,” Tawney said in a press release. “The importance of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to sustaining and expanding public access opportunities to the outdoors, therefore, cannot be overstated.”

Others supporting the move included the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as well as National Rifle Association.

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” added Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a press release. “I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”

USFWS Proposes Adding More Hunting, Fishing Ops At 2 Western Oregon Refuges

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Oregon hunters and anglers could have additional opportunities on two National Wildlife Refuges as early as this fall.

In the proposal announced Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge would open bank fishing access on the Siletz River, and Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge would add a youth waterfowl hunt beginning in 2018.

GEESE FLY OVER BASKETT SLOUGH NWR, WHERE FEDERAL MANAGERS WANT TO ADD YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES. (GEORGE GENTRY, USFWS)

“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand public access at our National Wildlife Refuges, and these are two great opportunities,” said Kevin Foerster, Chief of Refuges for the Pacific Region. “Because of our focus on habitat management, we have some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities on public land. Some of the most prized hunting tags in the state of Oregon are on refuges, including antelope at Hart Mountain and mule deer at Umatilla.”

Secretary Zinke’s proposal would open or expand opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges nationwide. If finalized, this would bring the number of refuges where the public may hunt up to 373, and up to 312 where fishing would be permitted.

“I grew up in the mountains of northwest Montana, where I spent my time hunting and fishing on our shared public lands. I was lucky to take my boys out on the same land that my dad and granddad took me,” Secretary Zinke said. “As the steward of our public lands, one of my top priorities is to open up access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down the heritage. The last thing I want to see is hunting and fishing become elite sports. These 10 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and anglers across the country to access the land and connect with the wildlife.”

Siletz Bay NWR, located south of Lincoln City, proposed walk-in access for bank fishing on the Siletz River, which has coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout. The refuge opened the Alder Island trail this spring, which offers easy access to the river.  The 568-acre refuge also offers seasonal waterfowl hunting in designated areas.

“We’re excited that more people will be able to use the refuge for fishing,” said Kelly Moroney, project leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “We hope to get it approved in time for fall fishing.”

Baskett Slough, a 2,492-acre refuge located west of Salem, proposed to add a 10-person youth waterfowl hunt beginning in fall of 2018. The hunt would follow Oregon state hunting regulations.

“This is a great opportunity to introduce the next generation to quality hunting,” said Laila Lienesch, deputy project leader for the Willamette Valley Refuge Complex. “We already have fantastic elk and black-tail deer hunting at William L. Finley Refuge, so this adds another hunting opportunity to our refuge complex in the Willamette Valley.”

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $144.7 billion in economic activity across the United States, according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 90 million Americans, or 41 percent of the United States’ population 16 and older, pursue wildlife-related recreation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands, such as wildlife watching and photography. The unparalleled network of 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts means there is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

For the national news release, go to http://bit.ly/2vPpMi6.

Entiat Hatchery Opening Bank Spot To Chinook Fishing, For First Time

Central Washington anglers have a new spot to fish for summer Chinook.

Managers of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery are opening part of their grounds along the river for the first time.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE CALIBER OF SUMMER KING RETURNING TO THE ENTIAT NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY. (USFWS)

The specific area is “right along the riverfront, just on the other side of the hatchery’s abatement pond,” according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Amanda Smith.

The request came from residents of the northern Chelan County valley, according to the agency, and helps fulfill an edict from Washington DC.

“Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has directed us to provide more fishing and hunting on public land,” said manager Craig Chisam in a press release, “and we’re doing that. We will do everything we can to accommodate it.”

This year will see the second full return of adult summer Chinook since the facility began producing the stock in 2009.

So far around 180 have arrived, and while biologists estimate around 1,200 will eventually show up, Chisam is “hopeful and optimistic that we will be closer to 2,000 because returns have just been on the late side this year.”

AN ANGLER FISHES BELOW THE HATCHERY. (USFWS)

According to WDFW catch card data from 2015, the most recent year figures are available for, anglers kept 114 kings that season, mostly in July, but about 40 percent in August and September combined.

The Entiat is open under selective-gear rules and a night closure, with a two-hatchery-Chinook limit through Sept. 15. Salmon fishing is open from the railroad bridge at the mouth to markers 1,500 feet upstream of the upper Roaring Creek Road bridge, where the hatchery is.

Try spoons or spinners. Catch code is 586.

Right now, the Entiat is flowing about average height for this time of year, 362 cubic feet per second.

Fish that make it past anglers and are surplus to hatchery needs are given to area tribes, according to USFWS.

Malheur, Little Pend Oreille NWRs Benefit From Mystery Woman’s Will

Editor’s note: As we’ve reported here before, hunters stand heads and shoulders above most when it comes to conservation and buying into the mission, and while birders feel just as strongly, without mechanisms like the Pittman-Robertson Act and duck stamps, their linkage with funding wildlife habitat isn’t as strong. But here’s the story of one birder whose generosity will help others enjoy three Northwest national refuges and several others across the West.

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

By Brent Lawrence

Nobody really knew Rita Poe until she died.

She moved through the final years of her life with little apparent interaction with others. Few people could recall the tall, thin woman with salt-and-pepper hair and brown eyes. She died at age 66 in her home – a 27-foot travel trailer parked in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains – of colon cancer on Nov. 16, 2015.

Though Rita’s life came to a close, her legacy will live on for generations thanks to her final act of astonishing generosity.

NANCY ZINGHEIM MADE IT HER MISSION TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RITA POE, WHO STAYED AT HER RV PARK NEAR PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON, BEFORE DYING IN NOVEMBER 2015 OF COLON CANCER. (BRENT LAWRENCE, USFWS)

With no known friends or heirs in her final years, Rita’s closest connection was Nancy Zingheim, the manager for SKP RV Park in Chimacum, Washington, where Rita had parked her Airstream during the summer of 2015. Their only encounters were when Rita would come in to pay her lot rent or an occasional wave on the street when she walked her dog, an Italian greyhound/basenji mix named I.G.

Then in September, Rita showed up with a question for Nancy: “Will you be the executor of my will?” Nancy agreed.

Rita died a few weeks later, and Nancy got her first look at the will. It was as generous as it was surprising: give almost everything — nearly $800,000 – to eight National Wildlife Refuges and four parks across the West.

On the list were three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges from her home state of California, with one refuge in each of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Texas. The four others recipients were state and national parks from Texas and Wyoming.

Rita’s legacy started Nancy on a path that culminated with a 4,000-mile “trip of a lifetime” during which she learned about wild spaces and public lands, and what made them meaningful to Rita.

A USFWS MAP HIGHLIGHTS THE TOUR OF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES THAT  ZINGHEIM TOOK TO BETTER UNDERSTAND POE’S INTEREST IN THEM AND WHY SHE WOULD LEAVE MONEY TO EACH. (USFWS)

Between December 2015 and April 2017, Nancy researched each refuge and park online. She called them with questions, intent on making sure that each refuge and park would live up to Rita’s expectations.

The biggest obstacle for Nancy was fighting to collect $374,000 owed to Rita from a long-ago inheritance. Once Nancy won that battle and the money came in, she could have considered her work nearly done. Someone else might have simply written the checks.

But not Nancy.

Over the months of searching through Rita’s paperwork and photos, Nancy started to know Rita on a deeper level. The last photo Nancy found of Rita was from a 1981 Texas driver’s license. Nancy discovered that Rita was born on October 20, 1949 in California and that she once held a nursing license, but couldn’t determine where or when Rita worked. Nursing may have been what Rita did at some point, but it was clear that it wasn’t what fulfilled her. There was an empty spot in Rita’s soul that could only be filled on public lands.

A SAGE GROUSE DISPLAYS AT FROSTY MALHEUR NWR. POE WOULD TAKE HUNDREDS OF IMAGES OF WILDLIFE BUT NARY A SELFIE, ACCORDING TO USFWS. (USFWS)

Rita’s devotion to the places that left a mark on her was infectious, and Nancy was determined to see firsthand where Rita’s final act of generosity was going. “I had never heard of a (National Wildlife) Refuge,” Nancy said. “I wanted the money to go to what Rita would have wanted.”

So in April 2017, Nancy took two weeks of vacation and headed south in Rita’s truck to visit six of the National Wildlife Refuges. It was a final trip that Rita would have loved, Nancy said.

First stop was Merced and San Luis refuges in central California. Next up was Tule Lake Refuge in northern California, then Malheur Refuge in Oregon, followed by Camas Refuge in eastern Idaho. Nancy’s final stop was northeast Washington at Little Pend Oreille Refuge, her personal favorite.

LITTLE PEND OREILLE NWR IN NORTHEAST WASHINGTON. (USFWS)

At each stop Nancy asked what the refuge needed and how they could best use the money. Most refuge managers suggested giving it to their respective Friends of the Refuge group, which would enable the money to be used on specific local projects per Rita’s intent. Malheur requested it go to the High Desert Partnership, a grassroots organization that brings together disparate groups to work collaboratively in the best interest of the refuge and the local community.

The possible projects are numerous. At Camas, for example, they need to replace dying trees around the visitor center for nesting and roosting birds, as well as finishing a pollinator garden. At San Luis and Merced, they need more family picnic areas.

MULE DEER PARADE THROUGH TALL GRASS AT MALHEUR NWR, WHICH IS OFF LIMITS TO BIG GAME HUNTING. (USFWS)

At Little Pend Oreille Refuge, they could leverage the money as matching funds for a bigger grant. “Maybe an overlook/observation point with an accessible trail,” refuge manager Jerry Cline said. “We want it to be something a visitor like Rita would benefit from.”

WHERE RITA POE’S MONEY WAS DISBURSED.
Camas NWR (Idaho) – $96,551.48
Little Pend Oreille NWR (Washington) – $48,275.74
Malheur NWR (Oregon) – $48,275.74
San Luis NWR (Calif) – $48,275.74
Merced NWR (Calif) – $96,551.48
Tulelake NWR (Calif) – $72,413.6
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (Utah) – $48,275.74
Laguna Atascosta NWR (Texas) – $48,275.74
Hueco Tanks State Park (Texas) – $72,413.61
Choke Canyon State Park (Texas) – $48,275.74
Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) – $120,689.35
Wild Birding Center (Texas) – $48,275.74

Nine days and thousands of miles later, Nancy arrived back home from her solo trip. She was exhausted, but happy to see her husband and new dog – I.G., which she took at Rita’s request in her final days.

I.G. THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND-BASENJI MIX THAT POE WISHED ZINGHEIM TO TAKE CARE OF AFTER SHE PASSED. (NANCY ZINGHEIM)

Nancy finally had a true understanding of National Wildlife Refuges, public lands and, perhaps most importantly, Rita. On the open roads of the West, Nancy discovered how the enigmatic Rita could find her peace on public lands.

“Only one person at any of the refuges remembered Rita, and it was because of her Airstream” Nancy said. “She’d go to the refuges and spend all day taking hundreds of pictures. There weren’t any (photos) of Rita; just the birds and animals she loved.”

And Rita passed that love for wildlife and wild lands on to Nancy. The nondescript stranger in lot #412 at the SKP RV Park changed her life for the better.

“She made me realize that we live in nature and there are animals all around us,” Nancy said. “How often do we take time to sit and watch them? I never stopped to realize the little things like when the birds arrive. I do stop and watch the animals now. … Your refuges are quiet and peaceful. If you’ve never been, you should go to a refuge and spend some time there for Rita.”

Tracy Casselman, the project leader for the Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex that includes Camas, didn’t know Rita. But he knows a lot of people like Rita who visit the refuges.

“Rita’s relationship wasn’t with people,” Tracy said. “Her relationship was to the refuges and public lands. She found her peace out there. Her generous gift will ensure that more people will enjoy our refuges in her memory.”

Nancy keeps her memory of Rita and her love of nature close. Rita asked that she be cremated and that her ashes spread in nature away from people. Nancy held on to her ashes for months before finding the right spot near her home.

“A friend found the spot on a hike, and the next day we hiked a mile into the woods and scattered her ashes and some flowers on a hillside overlooking a lake, the mountains and trees. She can hear the birds she loved. I say hello to her every time I drive past.”

No obituary.  No tombstone. Only a marvelous, shining legacy.

Please, carry on the spirit of Rita with a visit to your public lands.

Editor’s note: Brent Lawrence is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public affairs officer in Portland.

Apparent Wolf Captured, Collared In Eastern Skagit County

What could be the first wolf captured in Western Washington is now being monitored by wildlife managers.

The 100-pound animal was collared Thursday, June 8, in eastern Skagit County near Marblemount and released.

USFWS CONFIRMS A POSSIBLE WOLF WAS CAPTURED AND COLLARED NOT FAR UP THE SKAGIT VALLEY FROM HERE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The news was broken by the Skagit Valley Herald.

“We did capture what appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male gray wolf,” confirms U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ann Froschauer late this afternoon.

She says blood and saliva were taken from the animal and sent to the agency’s forensic lab for testing, confirmation that it’s a full-blooded wolf and to determine where it might have come from.

WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS WORK ON THE SEDATED CANID CAPTURED JUNE 8. (USFWS)

While at least four collared wolves have briefly wandered into Western Washington in recent years (one of which didn’t make it back out after being hit on I-90), this would be the first to have been captured, outfitted with telemetry and released west of the Cascades.

Froschauer says its movements are being monitored via GPS collar to “see if it sticks around or wanders off.”

USFWS and WDFW were drawn to the location in mid-May after a resident reported three chickens killed by a wolf and had solid photos to back it up.

Initially there were suggestions that a pack might be in the area, based on howling, but that’s less certain now.

“We did hang some cameras out. We did not see any other animals. As of right now there’s at least one that appears to be a wolf,” Froschauer says.

Grand scheme, a single wolf doesn’t do much for state recovery goals, but it has the potential to bring issues from the 509 much closer to Western Washington.

USFWS has management authority over wolves in the western two-thirds of the state, where the species remains federally listed.

WDFW had no comment.

WDFW also has had no comment about two dead calves found in the Kettle Range two days ago and which were investigated yesterday.

And WDFW probably doesn’t want to comment on the latest from Washington State University, where a professor plans to sue over alleged free speech violations involving wolves.

Oregon Cattlemen Threaten Lawsuit Over Wolf Delisting Review Lag; USFWS Points To Great Lakes Case

It’s been exactly four years to the day since federal managers proposed delisting gray wolves in western and central portions of Washington and Oregon, as well as across most of the country outside of the Northern Rockies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the species had successfully recovered since its Endangered Species Act listing, and wanted to return management to the states and focus its work on Mexican wolves.

THE OREGON CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION SAYS IT INTENDS TO SUE THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO COMPLETE ITS REVIEW PROPOSING THE DELISTING OF WOLVES IN WESTERN AND CENTRAL PORTIONS OF THE BEAVER STATE AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. (ODFW)

The June 7, 2013 announcement also launched a 90-day public comment period, with a final determination to be “made” the following year.

2014 was three years ago, and with no discernible results, last week the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association announced that it intends to sue USFWS for failing to follow through on the proposal.

According to a story today in the Capital Press, the organization voted to do so at its quarterly meeting.

Reports Katy Nesbit:

Todd Nash, the Cattlemen’s wolf committee chairman, said the absence of a completed analysis three years after U.S. Fish and Wildlife closed its public comment period regarding its environmental policy analysis to delist gray wolves from the endangered species list was one reason for the suit.

“They are legally bound to do that within one year and that’s the preface pressing forward with lawsuit,” Nash said.

The Press‘s story states that while Washington Cattlemen Association members were in also attendance at the quarterly, they were going to take joining the lawsuit back home to their board for more discussion.

So what’s going on with USFWS’s proposal?

It’s a question I’ve asked federal spokesmen on occasion over the years, and today one pointed towards a court case elsewhere in the country as the hold-up.

“Our proposal for delisting the gray wolf in the remainder of its range is predicated on the gray wolf populations in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes being delisted,” says Sarah Levy. “We are currently waiting for a court decision on delisting wolves in the Western Great Lakes, which puts our larger delisting proposal on hold.”

Last month, under a headline reading “Appeals court holds key to future of wolves,” USA Today reported a ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington DC on the Great Lakes question was “expected soon.”

In March the same court upheld USFWS’s 2012 contention that wolves in Wyoming could be delisted, and that state took over management of the species as of April 26 of this year.

But the newspaper’s story says that the two cases are only similar at a very high level and focus on aspects of state management and federal process.

Time will tell.

USFWS, WDFW Looking For Signs Of Possible Wolf Pack In Skagit Co.

Federal and state biologists are looking into the possibility that there may be wolves in eastern Skagit County.

Spokeswoman Ann Froschauer says it’s too early for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to confirm that reported tracks, howls and photos mean wolves have indeed arrived on the west side of the North Cascades or how many there might be, but in recent weeks her agency and WDFW biologists have been following up on good leads.

FEDERAL AND STATE BIOLOGISTS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING UP ON EASTERN SKAGIT COUNTY RESIDENTS’ REPORTS OF POSSIBLE WOLVES. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Froschauer says that in mid-May, a resident reported a suspected depredation of their chickens by a wolf and had pictures to back it up.

The resident told investigators that they had heard howling and seen tracks for a couple months beforehand too, according to Froschauer.

“Follow-up conversations with other area residents included reports of additional sightings, tracks, and howling in the area,” she adds.

Froschauer says the howling is “suggestive of multiple wolves.”

“Biologists attempted to capture one or more animals over the next week and a half without success. We have deployed trail cameras, and will continue to investigate reports of wolf activity in the area,” Froschauer says.

Capturing one would help determine if the animal was a purebred wolf, hybrid or something else.

And if proven to be a wolf, it could mean the first pack in Western Washington outside of the British Columbia-denning pack that haunted the Hozomeen area of Washington’s upper Ross Lake in recent years.

Froschauer says USFWS and WDFW get multiple unconfirmed reports of Westside wolves annually, and says at least four individuals are known to have traveled from their packs west across the Cascade Crest at one point or another.

“Wolves have continued to naturally recolonize the state via dispersal from resident Washington packs and neighboring states and provinces,” she says.

Wolves west of Highways 97, 17 and 395 are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act and managed by USFWS. Those east of that line are managed by WDFW and state listed.

Seattle, USFWS Set To Sign ‘Urban Bird Treaty’

Lest I suffer a stroke, about this time of year I have to remind myself that our Departments of Fish and Wildlife have a bit more on their plate than salmon and elk.

A few Aprils ago now I was shocked to receive a press release that declared “At WDFW, every day is Earth Day.” That one sent me off on a deadline-destroying tangent.

This morning it was a Facebook note informing me that WDFW was part of an Urban Bird Treaty Ceremony coming up near me in Seattle.

An Urban Bird WHAT?!?! was my immediate reaction — at least with a few select words edited out for family consumption.

STELLAR’S JAY. (KATHY MUNSEL, ODFW)

Are we like making a deal with the seagulls in return for less freelance fertilization of our streets and buildings?

Does it give pigeons patrolling for food scraps priority over spots to park our vehicles on Capitol Hill?

Will it mean more or fewer featherbrains in government?!?!

No on all counts, it turns out.

The Urban Bird Treaty is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program that aims to “conserve birds in urban areas through habitat conservation, hazard reduction, citizen science, and education and outreach.”

Annually, perhaps as many as a billion birds — primarily songbirds — bounce off our windows with broken necks, and with all that glass and residents, urban areas are a pretty good spot to start making more bird-friendly, not to mention befriend more birders.

So, WDFW’s teaming up with USFWS, the city, Seattle Audubon and other organizations for the signing on May 5 at Lincoln Park, on the way to the Fauntleroy Ferry.

The idea is that as Seattle is part of the Pacific Flyway, this will provide a linkage between other cities that have signed the treaty along it, including Anchorage, Portland and San Fran.

It also attempts to connect city kids with nature, and that’s not a bad thing, done right.

A few years ago I blogged about a study that showed birdwatchers were just as strong conservationists as sportsmen. True, the former folks don’t pay the freight like we have for decades, and that’s a problem. But drawing them into the fold has the potential to be a win.

“Diversified strategies that include programs to encourage both hunting and birdwatching are likely to bring about long-term gains for conservation,” wrote that study’s authors.

Amy and I long ago signed an urban bird treaty, per se, enrolling our property in the backyard wildlife habitat program.

Still no sign of wolverines, but last night a pair of robins were out at dusk noisily calling back and forth in search of dinner, while a crow flew off with something to line its nest, possibly in the big hemlock on our fence line.

A few weeks back we had as many as six bandtail pigeons scouting out the ‘hood, and other recent visitors have included a bandtail pigeon hawk (inside joke), Stellar’s jays, flickers, plus the usual collection of little brown birds.

And I regularly see ducks homing on Barb and Tom Witkowski’s Fly Inn in North Seattle.

No, I won’t be attending the Urban Bird Treaty Ceremony, as I’ve made my peace with the flockers, but it could be interesting for those who do attend.

Just please don’t sign away any more parking spots in Seattle. That would be, er, for the birds.