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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: October 29, 1997

International Colonial Waterbird Meeting Comes to Lafayette

Scientists from nine countries will exchange information about the status and ecology of colonial waterbird populations at the twenty-first annual meeting of the Colonial Waterbird Society. Colonial waterbirds include herons, egrets, ibises, gulls, and terns. The event is cohosted by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center and the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Presentations will get underway on Thursday, October 30, at 8:20 a.m. at the Lafayette Hilton and Towers.

Louisiana's rich natural heritage includes a time during the late 1800's and early 1900's when snowy egrets and other waterbirds were eagerly hunted for their feathers, which were used as fashionable adornments for women's hats and gowns. Today, colonial waterbirds are protected from hunting. Now Louisiana is home to increasing populations of a vast array of colonial waterbirds. Some believe that the extensive complex of coastal wetlands and the rice and crawfish growing areas of southwestern Louisiana are attracting herons, egrets, and ibises from adjacent states.

Drs. Carroll Cordes and Bruce Pugesek of the National Wetlands Research Center have organized special symposia in conjunction with the Colonial Waterbird Society. Dr. Cordes will chair a session of seven speakers who will report on the importance of agricultural wetlands to colonial waterbirds. These speakers will represent seven different countries. Dr. Pugesek will chair a special symposium on ecology of gulls.

Throughout the world many species of birds are experiencing downward population trends. Specific information on populations of game birds such as ducks and geese is well known. However, populations of nongame birds such as herons, egrets, and ibises are less studied. In the United States the Colonial Waterbird Society represents a cadre of scientists who dedicate themselves to the study of colonial waterbirds. One of the goals of the society is to ensure the long-term conservation of these avian resources.

Citizens interested in learning more about the Colonial Waterbird Society may contact Dr. Carroll Cordes at (337)266-8653 or Dr. Jay Huner at (337)482-5239.

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