Monday, May 10, 2021, 7:30pm

The Biggest Bird Conservation Story You’ve Never Heard - the Boreal Forest of North America

Jeff Wells

Speaker: Jeff Wells

One of the world’s last large intact forest regions is the Boreal Forest of North America stretching from Alaska east to Newfoundland. Supporting between one and three billion birds, the Boreal Forest is aptly named North America’s Bird Nursery. While few people have heard the news, some of the world’s largest land conservation actions to protect birds and their habitat are underway in the Boreal, led by Indigenous governments and communities forging new, exciting partnership and stewardship models. Much of the migratory and winter bird life of New York comes from the Boreal Forest. Come hear about some innovative ways National Audubon’s Boreal Conservation program is working to conserve the Boreal Forest including through some innovative collaborative models with Indigenous peoples and modern research with partners like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

About the Speaker:

Jeffrey V. Wells , Ph.D.,  is the Vice-president of Boreal Conservation for the National Audubon Society.  Dr. Wells works from a satellite office in Gardiner, Maine. He has had a wide-ranging career in science and bird conservation.  After receiving his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Maine at Farmington in 1988 he went on to earn a Master’s (1992) and Ph.D. (1995) in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University. He went on to work for the National Audubon Society, first as Bird Conservation Director for the New York State office, then as the National Director of Bird Conservation. Dr. Wells completed the first book on Important Bird Areas in North America in 1998 when he published Important Bird Areas in New York State, a highly acclaimed handbook to help determine highest priority bird conservation areas for use by state and federal agencies, land trusts, and others. During his first tenure with Audubon, Dr. Wells was located at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where he continues as an Associate of the Lab.  After leaving Audubon and Cornell, Jeff became the Senior Scientist for the International Boreal Conservation Campaign and Boreal Songbird Initiative, leading their science efforts for almost 20 years during which he published and spoke frequently to media about the globally significant conservation values of the Boreal Forest. As part of this work in 2011, he completed the book Boreal Birds of North America: A Hemispheric View of Their Conservation Links and Significance (University of California Press).
Dr. Wells is also an active birder and for 12 years was a member of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Sapsuckers birding team, which won the prestigious World Series of Birding in 2001 and 2002. His contributions as a member of the World Series team were instrumental in helping the Lab raise more than $150,000 each year for the Lab's conservation work. Dr. Wells has birded throughout much of the North American continent from the Northwest Territories of Canada to Veracruz, Mexico, and in the Caribbean, where he has led birding trips in the Lesser Antilles and he is an expert on the birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.  To promote conservation on the islands, he and his wife Allison Childs Wells have created the websites www.arubabirds.com and www.bonairebirds.com. In his “spare time” he also leads trips in Maine for LL Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School. 
Dr. Wells is an active speaker and writer. He has authored or co-authored thousands of scientific papers, reports, book chapters, blogs, columns, op-eds, and popular articles on birds and bird conservation and other conservation topics. His book, Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk, published in Fall 2007 by Princeton University Press, was the first of its kind—a bird book for bird conservation. More recently he co-authored with his wife Allison, Maine’s Favorite Birds (Tilbury House, 2012), and in 2017, Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao: A Site & Field Guide (Cornell University Press). In 2020, Jeff was part of the author team to publish the monumental new book Birds of Maine (Princeton University Press). Jeff lives in Gardiner, Maine, with his wife, teenage son, and two indoor cats.

Links from the talk:
Staying Connected With Boreal Conservation

Audubon Boreal Conservation webpages: https://www.audubon.org/conservation/boreal-forests

Pimachiowin Aki website: https://pimaki.ca/

Boreal Conservation website: https://www.borealconservation.org/

Indigenous Leadership Initiative: https://www.ilinationhood.ca/

Land Need Guardians: https://landneedsguardians.ca/

Bird Sounds From Poplar River and other areas: https://soundcloud.com/birdwells

Bird Videos from Boreal and other places: https://www.youtube.com/user/birdconservation

Cayuga Bird Club meetings start at 7:30pm on the second Monday of each month, September through May (the June meeting is an outdoor picnic). Webinars are free and open to the public. Each virtual meeting will begin with the speaker's presentation, followed by club business.