Possible Oahu Populations Offer New Hope for Hawaiian Seabirds

juvenile newell's shearwater
A juvenile Newell’s Shearwater. Photo credit: Lindsay Young.

The two seabird species unique to Hawaii, Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels, are the focus of major conservation efforts—at risk from habitat degradation, invasive predators, and other threats, their populations plummeted 94% and 78% respectively between 1993 and 2013. However, a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications offers hope of previously undetected colonies of these birds on the island of Oahu, from which they were believed to have vanished by the late 1700s.

Shearwaters and petrels nest colonially in crevices, burrows, and under vegetation at mid to high elevations. They currently breed on other Hawaiian islands including Kauai and Maui, but were both believed to have extirpated from Oahu prior to European contact in 1778; biologists believed that occasional records from the island were birds thrown off-course at night by city lights.

Pacific Rim Conservation’s Lindsay Young and her colleagues used a spatial model based on elevation, forest cover, and illumination to identify potential suitable breeding habitat for both species on Oahu, then deployed automated acoustic recording units at 16 sites on the island to listen for the birds’ calls in 2016 and 2017, accessing remote mountain locations via helicopter. To their surprise, they detected petrels at one site and shearwaters at two sites.

condor-18-53_lindsay young
Automated acoustic recording units picked up the calls of endangered seabirds at remote locations on Oahu. Photo credit: Lindsay Young

“We were doing a statewide survey for these species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of recovery action planning, but Oahu was not initially included as one of the sites to survey, since evidence suggested they weren’t there,” says Young. “Since we’re Oahu-based, we thought we would at least put a few recording units out to see if there was anything. And we were surprised, to say the least, that we not only had calls detected, but detected both species across two years.”

These could be the last survivors of remnant breeding populations on Oahu, or they could be young birds from other islands that are searching for mates and breeding sites. “Either way, it gives us hope that we will be able to use social attraction—that is, using calls and decoys—to attract them nest on an island where they were once abundant,” says Young. Oahu birds could help boost connectivity between individual island populations and provide extra insurance in case any one island’s seabird population is decimated by an event such as a hurricane. As petrel and shearwater numbers continue to decline, protecting Hawaii’s remaining seabirds remains a major conservation priority in the region, and the possibility that they’re continuing to breed on Oahu provides new reason for optimism.

Evidence of Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels on Oahu, Hawaii is available at https://academic.oup.com/condor/article/121/1/duy004/5298327.

About the journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology, published by the American Ornithological Society. For the past two years, The Condor has had the number one impact factor among 27 ornithology journals.

Thank You to Kathleen Erickson, Outgoing AOS Journals Director

CaptureToday the American Ornithological Society is saying a fond farewell to Kathleen Erickson, who has led AOS’s publications since 2013.

Kathleen was hired in 2013 as the Managing Editor of The Auk and The Condor, working for the newly created Central Ornithological Publications Office, a joint venture of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society that preceded the societies’ eventual merger in 2016. Kathleen was promoted to Journals Director after the merger.

Under Kathleen’s leadership, the publications team created a successful publicity program, increased open access to Auk and Condor papers, reduced author page fees, and kept in contact with more than 8,000 ornithologists through the journals’ email newsletter and monthly content alerts.

“Getting the joint publications office up and running was like creating a startup, and it has been the dream job of my thirty-year publishing career,” says Kathleen. “The ornithology community is a passionate and down-to-earth group of professionals, whom I will miss. You’ll find me out at Point Blue counting birds!”

Catherine Lindell Named Editor of The Condor: Ornithological Applications

Catherine LindellThe American Ornithological Society announces the appointment of Catherine Lindell as the 15th Editor-in-Chief of The Condor: Ornithological Applications, one of two peer-reviewed journals published by AOS. Dr. Lindell is an Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University and an AOS Fellow. She will begin her position in 2019.

The AOS Council selected Dr. Lindell to lead the journal based on her comprehensive vision for The Condor’s future, including plans to increase interdisciplinary and international submissions to the journal and involve students in the manuscript review process, as well as her commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in scientific publishing. Dr. Lindell has conducted research with a wide network of colleagues in Latin America, a region that is currently underrepresented in AOS journals. Her research interests include the ecosystem services (and disservices) of birds in managed landscapes such as orchards.

Dr. Lindell will succeed current Editor-in-Chief Phil Stouffer, who will be stepping down after six years in the role. “I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to continue the great work of Phil Stouffer and the AOS Council,” says Dr. Lindell. “We will keep building The Condor into the go-to outlet for research from around the world on the roles birds play in and across ecosystems and their conservation and management.”

“I’m excited that Catherine Lindell will be the next Editor-in-Chief of The Condor,” says Dr. Stouffer. “Serving as editor of the journal has been a rewarding challenge for me, and I’ve been lucky to be part of a great team that takes pride in putting out the best possible product. Dr. Lindell has the experience and vision to take the journal to the next level. I’m sure she’ll do a great job.”

“We hope that Dr. Lindell’s appointment will be the beginning of an exciting new era for The Condor,” adds Kathy Martin, president of AOS. “She is especially well-positioned to increase the profile of Latin American ornithology in the journal, and AOS is confident in her ability to continue this venerable publication’s journey into the twenty-first century.”

The Condor: Ornithological Applications was first published as the Bulletin of the Cooper Ornithological Club in 1899. It became The Condor the following year, and was officially renamed The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2014, with a new focus on applied ornithological topics such as conservation and management. In 2016, the Cooper Ornithological Society merged with the American Ornithologists’ Union to form the American Ornithological Society, which now publishes both The Condor and its sister journal The Auk. As of 2017, The Condor has the highest impact factor of any ornithology journal. Dr. Lindell will be the first woman to lead The Condor in its 120-year history.

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About the American Ornithological Society

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest and most influential ornithological society in the world. The society provides leadership in ornithological research and a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds and invests more in research awards and direct support of students and early professionals than any other society devoted to ornithology. AOS publishes two international journals, The Auk: Ornithological Advances and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, which have consistently had among the highest impact factors of the world’s ornithological journals, and the book series Studies in Avian Biology. The society’s checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org.

Job Announcement: Editor-in-Chief Position, The Condor: Ornithological Applications

Chicago, IL:  July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks candidates for the editor-in-chief position for its journal, The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The new editor-in-chief will begin their term in 2019 when Philip Stouffer, Ph.D, the current editor-in-chief of the journal, will step down after a distinguished 6-year term of service.

The Condor is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, syntheses, and assessments focusing on the application of scientific theory and methods to the conservation, management, and ecology of birds, and the application of ornithological knowledge to conservation and management policy and other issues of importance to the society. The journal holds an Impact Factor of 2.722, making it the top-ranked journal in the field of ornithology.  

The new EIC of The Condor will serve as the chief scientific authority responsible for the process and output of top quality peer-reviewed articles in the journal. The EIC is responsible for assembling and overseeing a diverse editorial board; determining the scope and direction of the scientific content of the journal; overseeing manuscript submissions; ensuring that journal content is effectively and broadly disseminated; and aiding the society in developing new policies responsive to changing publishing needs. The EIC also attends annual AOS meetings and, as an ex officio member of  the Elective Council, is responsible for representing and reporting on the publication program of the AOS.

The ideal candidate for the editor-in-chief position should be an internationally recognized scientist whose reputation brings prestige and visibility to the journal. Candidates should have five or more years of cumulative hands-on editorial (associate editor or above) experience with international peer-reviewed journals; a demonstrated ability to lead teams of fellow scientists; dedication to supporting individual diversity and inclusivity in our field; and a commitment to publishing and broadly disseminating our science. Excellent organizational and communication skills, strong professional ethics and a willingness to adapt to new techniques in scholarly publications are essential. The term of the initial appointment is one year with annual reappointment subject to AOS Council approval; the position includes an annual honorarium of $16,000 USD, and full financial support to attend the AOS Annual Meetings during their editorial term.

See the complete position description.  

The AOS welcomes both direct applications and nominations for the position. Nominees will be contacted by the Chair of the Condor Editorial Search Committee.  Interested candidates should submit, electronically, the following materials to the Editorial Search Committee aggregated in one file:

  • cover letter describing their qualifications for the position, editorial experience and ability to meet the annual time demands of the position
  • vision and goals to improve the reach, impact and visibility for The Condor
  • curriculum vitae

The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 4 September 2018.

For questions about the Condor editor-in-chief position and to submit applications, please contact:  Dr. Anna Chalfoun, Chair, The Condor Editorial Search Committee at jobs@americanornithology.org.   

About the American Ornithological Society
The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds.  AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications,  and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology.  The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

Job Announcement: AOS Communications Specialist

Chicago, IL:  July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks seeks a highly motivated individual with the talent and creativity to deliver the Society’s online communications and social media. The successful candidate will have experience in science writing and storytelling; online communication programs and services, including website development, social media, email communications; content management; and publicity. Strong science writing and marketing skills, proven interpersonal skills, and the desire to work in a mission-driven organization are highly desired. This is an outstanding opportunity for someone seeking to lead a communications program in a growing professional society. The Communications Specialist will also be at the front line of implementing the comprehensive communications strategy for the AOS.

  • The Communications Specialist is a part-time position, up to 25 hours per week on average, through Dec 2018, and is expected to go to a full time position in 2019.
  • Compensation: $2,150 per month, for an average of 25 hours per week through December 2018. Base salary range anticipated for the full time position is $42,000-$46,000, starting in 2019.
  • The successful candidate is not required to be located in Chicago.
  • The position begins as soon as the vacancy is filled.

See the complete position description.

The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 25 August 2018.

To be considered, send an application in one file that includes a current C.V. and cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest in the position (no more than four pages combined) to jobs@americanornithology.org. Please direct any questions about the position to Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations, at cruiz@americanornithology.org.

About the American Ornithological Society
The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.orgThe AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.