The Blake-Nuttall Fund is providing partial or full funding for the following projects in 2017-2018:

Assessing the value of MassAudubon’s citizen science data for climate change biology

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Tracking movements and habitat use of wintering evening grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) and breeding Swainson’s thrush (Catharus ustulatus) in Western Pennsylvania

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Raptor education for students of New Mexico

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Is there a relationship between fish populations and loon abundance and breeding success in New Hampshire lakes?

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Use of transmission line rights-of-way and NE cottontail clearcuts by adult and fledgling songbirds during the breeding and post-breeding periods

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Common nighthawk wind guidelines and monitoring

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Migration behavior of Veery (Catharus fuscecens)

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Habitat use and migratory connectivity of terrestrial avifauna on the South Coast of Puerto Rico

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Human-Wetland-Bird interactions in Trinidad and Tobago

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch Proposal from Bedford Audubon

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Northern Saw-whet owls in Arkansas: What are they doing here?

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Quantifying piping plover brood range

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Breeding ecology of American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Spatiotemporal repeatability in migration of an arctic-breeding shorebird, the Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Managing vegetation on Maine islands for federally-endangered Roseate Terns

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Developing a predictive model for American Kestrel nest box occupancy

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Explore Birds. Learning environments in public spaces across NYC.

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Whip-poor-will migratory applied research project

Abstract and further information will be posted at a future time.

Blake-Nuttall Fund Grants: 2018 Request for Proposals

The Nuttall Ornithological Club will soon be soliciting proposals for bird-related projects to be conducted in 2018–2019 under the direction of organizations meeting certain qualifications. Selected projects are supported by grants from the Club's Blake-Nuttall Fund.

The Fund supports ornithological research, conservation, and education, with particular emphasis on the birds of New England and the Northeast.

The receipt deadline for applications is 1 September 2018. Awards will be announced by 30 September 2018 and funds will be distributed shortly thereafter.

Search Projects

Search includes content found within  pdf's of submitted project reports.

Blake-Nuttall Projects from previous years

Examining Migration and Seasonal Interactions of Prairie Warblers Using Geolocators and Stable Isotope Analysis

We conducted a study in 2016 and 2017 on prairie warblers (Setophaga discolor), using geolocators to examine their migration and wintering locations. Our main objective was to track migrating prairie warblers from Massachusetts and New York to obtain novel data on wintering locations, migratory routes and schedules. A secondary objective was to examine relationships between…
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Landscape effects on habitat use and singing behavior by edge-breeding bird species in Massachusetts

Many Nearctic-Neotropic migrant songbirds are experiencing long-term population declines in North America due in part to habitat fragmentation on the breeding grounds.  However, bird responses to landscape-level complexity in the form of natural heterogeneity compared to habitat fragmentation is not well established.  In addition, little research has been conducted that links the landscape level and…
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Initial Deployment of Archival Light-Level Geolocators on Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) at Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico

The effective conservation of long-distance migratory birds requires the identification and protection of the birds, nesting habitat as well as their stop-over and wintering habitats. This project provides the first implementation of archival light-level geolocator data logger technology by a Puerto Rican institution to study the migratory connectivity of Neotropical migratory birds in Puerto Rico…
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Feather Hydrogen Stable Isotopes Reveal Migratory and Interhabitat Connectivity of North American Wintering Songbirds in Coastal Secondary Dry Forest on the South Coast of Puerto Rico

This project was established to (1) support and develop a recently established academic program in ornithology and avian conservation (the only such effort in Puerto Rico); (2) employ mist netting, color banding census, stable isotopic analysis, light-level geolocators and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (for Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) techniques to establish links between breeding and wintering…
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Long-term demographic changes in a Bicknell’s Thrush population

Bicknell’s Thrush is a species of the highest conservation concern and is the target of ongoing, multi-national conservation planning under the auspices of the International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group. Although many aspects of the ecology of this species are well-understood, numerous information gaps persist that hinder the design and implementation of effective conservation practices and…
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Ornithological Assessment of Essex County Coastal Bird Islands

Beginning in January 2017 Mass Audubon implemented a project designed to assess avian breeding activity on 39 inshore islands located off Cape Ann, Essex County, Massachusetts. Collectively these islands comprise the Essex County Coastal Bird Islands Important Bird Area (IBA). The overall purpose and goals of the study were: Develop an understanding of past and current…
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Mystery of the lowland Giant Hummingbirds (Patagona gigas) of central Chile

Andean hummingbirds have narrow elevational distributions (500-1,500 m in amplitude) as a result of their specialized hemoglobin, which is genetically optimized to bind oxygen at low atmospheric pressures (Graham et al. 2009; Projecto-Garcia et al. 2013). As such, few elevational generalist hummingbird species exist. The Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas) – the largest hummingbird in the…
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Northern Saw-whet Owls in Arkansas: Where are they going?

The Northern Saw-whet Owl (hereafter saw-whet) has an extensive range through most of Canada and the northern U.S., as well as south into the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains (König et al. 1999). Little is known about this secretive species despite its widespread distribution. Its migration through the south-central U.S. has been recently discovered, occurring during…
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Determining Local and Broad-scale Movements of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) from New Hampshire

Since 2013, NHA conservation biologists have been collaborating with colleagues from BioDiversity Research Institute (BRI) and Stantec Consulting Services (Stantec) in a multi-year satellite telemetry project to better understand both local and broad-scale movement patterns of PEFAs nesting in rural settings near Iberdrola’s Groton Wind Farm located in Groton, NH (Stantec Consulting et al. 2016).…
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New Hampshire Bird Records Data Conversion

New Hampshire Audubon (NHA) independently collected and computerizing bird sightings from 1986 to 2009, at which point we began collaborating with eBird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) to provide an on-line data entry system for these data. NHA has since been working to upload to eBird the 22 years of birding data comprising 188,778 records. We…
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Bank Swallow Conservation Outreach in New Hampshire

The original goal of this project was to develop outreach materials on Bank Swallow conservation that could be made available to river recreationalists (e.g. kayakers) using the rivers in New Hampshire where Bank Swallows are known to occur. Such outreach would also have included landowners whose properties abutted these same rivers, particularly near significant banks…
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American Kestrel geolocator tagging

Blake-Nuttall Funding has been used to procure light-level geolocators and to develop tools for trapping and tagging American Kestrels. Support from the Blake-Nuttall Fund made possible the creation of a Great Horned Owl taxidermy mount and custom Teflon ribbon leg-loop harnesses for geolocator attachment. Program Report: American Kestrel geolocator tagging
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How flexible is bird diet to resource variability during Fall migration?

Our objective in this study is to establish the degree of synchrony between the temporal patterns of bird migration, arthropod biomass, and fruit availability at Acadia National Park. Further, it is to establish whether birds consume fruit during fall migration and, if so, establish the principal frugivores, the fruit they consume, and how the pattern of fruit consumption changes during fall migration. Not only does our study provide a window into bird-plant interactions in one of the most important protected areas in the eastern US but it can add information related to bird stopover behavior over a larger portion of the Atlantic flyway than previously known.
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Vegetation and Landscape Variables Predicting the Occurrence of Shrubland-Dependent Songbirds in Anthropogenic Shrublands

A total of $10,900 was received from the Blake-Nuttall Fund for the purpose of providing a field ornithological research opportunity for two University of New Hampshire (UNH) undergraduates during summer 2016. Students were to assist with bird surveys and vegetation measurements during the second year of a 2-year study investigating the distribution of eight focal shrubland-dependent bird species breeding within anthropogenic shrublands in southeastern, NH. The purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in the likelihood of each focal species occurring in each shrubland type, and to determine whether vegetation conditions or the landscape composition surrounding shrublands could be used to predict the occurrence of each focal species within shrublands.
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Migratory and Interhabitat Connectivity of North American Songbirds on the South Coast of Puerto Rico II

During this season the Blake-Nuttall fund has provided continuing support for (1) a recently established academic program in ornithology and avian conservation (the only such effort in Puerto Rico); (2) employ mist netting, color banding, and stable isotopic analysis for multiple species and light-level geolocator deployment for Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) to establish links between breeding and wintering populations of migratory songbirds that nest in North America and winter, or stop over in Puerto Rico; (3) document patterns of molt in Neotropical Migrants; and, (4) establish a long-term monitoring program for migratory and year-round resident species of terrestrial birds that utilize secondary coastal dry forest and mangroves in and around the area of the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (JBNERR). The funds have provided continuing support for undergraduate, and graduate student research focusing on long-distance migratory and interhabitat movement, habitat quality, and social structure of migrants and nesting residents, and promote and enhance the academic and professional development of ornithology and citizen science in Puerto Rico. This project provides the first implementation of archival light-level geolocator technology by a Puerto Rican institution to study the migratory connectivity of Neotropical migratory birds in Puerto Rico and will complement existing information derived from banding returns and stable isotope analyses. This project allows us to demonstrate new technology to students and the public and help establish the specific intercontinental migratory connectivity of specific populations of migratory birds, especially the Northern Waterthrush, that breed in North America and pass the winter in Puerto Rico and/or South America. We deployed 40 light-level geolocators on Northern Waterthrushes at Jobos Bay in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
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Influences of Habitat Fragmentation and Hurricane Damage on Wintering Songbirds in Belize

Many Nearctic-Neotropic migrant songbirds are experiencing long-term population declines in North America. These declines have been associated with habitat fragmentation on both the breeding and wintering grounds. However, landscape-level responses to habitat fragmentation by migratory songbirds during the winter period are not as thoroughly understood. In addition, research linking the landscape level to responses other than species richness or abundance is relatively rare and nearly nonexistent during winter. To accomplish this goal, I conducted point counts in forested habitats affected by fragmentation (i.e., orange-grove development, residential development) and natural heterogeneity (i.e., low-intensity hurricane damage, high-intensity hurricane damage, and riparian openings) in central Belize to survey total abundance, individual abundance, and species richness of migratory songbirds. Both richness and total abundance were highest in riparian habitat, followed by residential openings. In addition, 12 species responded to habitat differences, with most species more abundant at either residential sites (e.g., Hooded Warbler) or riparian (river) openings (e.g., Baltimore Oriole). Only one species, the Orchard Oriole, showed significant differences between survey years; it was not detected during the 2013 season. Information from this study will be valuable to elucidate differences among species and habitats for migrants during winter to help in overall conservation of songbirds. Specifically, future work will also explore foraging behavior of migrants could help conservation biologists quantify overall habitat quality as it affects population declines of migratory songbirds.
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Bird Blow Flies and Rusty Blackbirds

Little is known about the ecology and phenology of P. shannoni. Existing data indicates that in eastern North America, this species most frequently infests open cup nests at least 3 m from the ground in forests dominated by deciduous trees, and American Robins (Turdus migratorius) are frequent hosts (Bennett and Whitworth 1992). Since Rusty Blackbirds typically nest within 3 m of the ground in forests dominated by spruce and fir, P. shannoni may be expanding into previously unoccupied habitat at the southeastern edge of the Rusty Blackbird’s breeding range.
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Adirondack Loons as an Environmental Educational Tool

The primary objective of this project was to hire an intern to assist BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation with its outreach and conservation projects. A secondary objective was to provide an intern with a variety of outreach, communication, and data management skills that will be valuable in his or her future career.
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Assessment of Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) Status and Distribution in New Hampshire

Current data suggests that the distribution of OSFL in New Hampshire is gradually retracting to the north. The species is all but absent from areas it formerly occupied in the southwestern portion of the state, and even where it was detected it may not occur regularly. In central New Hampshire, declines in southern areas are more obvious than in the north, but there are signs of losses even in formerly-occupied areas in the southern White Mountains. Localized losses are also possible in the northern third of the state, although in general the range here has not changed significantly.
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Tern Vulnerability at Staging Grounds: Understanding Prey Availability

The Northwest Atlantic population of the Roseate Tern was listed as Endangered in 1987 under state and federal endangered species acts, and despite intensive efforts to protect birds at nesting colonies, has failed to meet recovery goals. Demographic analyses show that low recruitment of breeding birds is contributing to the population’s failure to thrive. Therefore, terns are experiencing difficulty during the period between fledging and reaching sexual maturity at 3 years. The most vulnerable time in this period is during the time fledglings are preparing for their first migration to South America—the time they are staging with a care giving adult at locations in the region with abundant, suitable prey (typically sand lance). Very little is known about foraging of staging terns. In addition, there is no understanding of how a major shift in the marine community at critical staging sites on Cape Cod and Nantucket with the exponential growth of another sand lance specialist—Gray Seal—may be impacting tern foraging. We propose to investigate 1) the foraging ecology of staging Roseate Terns by documenting foraging locations, identifying prey species delivered to terns in roosting flocks, and quantifying prey size and delivery rate to staging terns; and 2) the impact of seals on staging terns through a meta-analysis of existing information including diet overlap, and spatial displacement. Our request to the Blake-Nuttall Fund is for support of personnel costs related to data collection and analysis.
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Children’s Bird Art Exhibition – Museum of American Bird

The project successfully launched inaugural juried exhibition of bird art by children, to be installed at the Museum of American Bird Art (MABA) in the fall of 2016, and also displayed online at Mass Audubon’s website. In total, 51 artworks were submitted, from children throughout Massachusetts towns as well as Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. With an established set of exhibition procedures we plan to offer the exhibition in 2017 and expand the reach of the project by making it an annual event at MABA. The grant from the Nuttall Ornithological Club’s Blake-Nuttall Fund has resulted in a robust, tested framework for what we expect to be an annual tradition at Mass Audubon: the juried exhibition of children’s bird art. Because of this grant, we have successfully piloted the first year of this project, and are now making plans to build on that success for 2017.
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New Hampshire Loon Recovery Plan: Year Five Final Report

In 2014, the fifth year of the Loon Recovery Plan’s implementation, Loon Preservation Committee staff and volunteers counted 289 pairs of loons on lakes in New Hampshire. Despite an impressive increase in numbers since LPC’s inception, loons remain a threatened species in the state and face growing challenges. Lead fishing tackle continues to be the largest documented cause of death of adult loons in the state; and other anthropogenic stressors, including mercury, other contaminants, and human disturbance, continue to affect loon breeding success. LPC’s groundbreaking research has revealed high levels of PBDE (flame retardants), PFOS (stain repellants), and a host of other contaminants in eggs that failed to hatch.
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Common Nighthawk Productivity Research

New Hampshire Audubon’s Project Nighthawk has been monitoring Common Nighthawk nesting since 2007 in conjunction with a rooftop gravel nest patch experiment. Few nests are confirmed in New Hampshire each year and many are not successful, especially on rooftops. Reasons for nest failure are not yet known and often the inability to access a roof restricts our efforts to determine the cause. In 2016 we anticipated a unique opportunity to monitor rooftop nesting success with cameras at two sites where there had been successful nests in 2015, providing a high likelihood that the birds would return to nest on these same rooftops. A grant from the Blake-Nuttall Fund allowed us to place two cameras on these rooftops prior to nest initiation, but unfortunately the nighthawks did not nest at these sites in 2016. We relocated one nest at fledging, too late for camera monitoring. We relocated the second nest on a ground site unsuitable for camera installation, but with access for visual monitoring of productivity and post-fledging observations. There is little data on post-fledging nighthawk behavior or success and this provided valuable information on this time period.
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Assessment of Golden Eagle Migration and Overwinter Activity in NH

Better information on seasonality and abundance patterns of GOEAs in New Hampshire could influence decisions about future wind development proposals and other natural resource management issues in the state.
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Wintering Raptors of the Great Basin – Census and Banding Study 1985-2015

This report summarizes the results of the past four winter surveys (2012-2015), consisting of roadside census and banding activities conducted in four of the nine primary, known concentration areas in Utah and Nevada, with supplementary information derived from two other areas in two states. GIS maps of three of the higher counts are included in the summary. A tewelve-year census (2003-2015) of major wintering areas - originally planned as a ten-year census with Dr. Jeff Smith, then of HawkWatch International - is now complete, and this report also represents a summary of the project's past 30 years.
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Bringing Research on Adirondack Avifauna to the Scientific Community II: Birds, Climate Change, and Exurban Development in the Adirondack Park

The Wildlife Conservation Society was awarded a grant from the Nuttall Ornithological Club to assist us in bringing to publication 2 studies of the WCS Adirondack Program. These funds followed a prior grant for similar efforts to disseminate research on Adirondack birds through publication in the scientific literature and represent a continuation of our work to understand the effects of critical stressors on bird populations in the Adirondack Park.
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Reproductive Behavior and Habitat Use of Threatened Golden-plumed Parakeets at Tapichalaca Reserve, Ecuador

My project sought to address major gaps in our understanding of L. branickii ecology, reproductive behavior, and natural history. Specifically, I aimed to: 1. Conduct a full-breeding season reproductive biology study in Ecuador to gain a better understanding of parakeet nest site selection and breeding biology, and; 2. Identify how Golden-plumed Parakeets utilize habitat in nest sites through vegetation surveys and behavioral observation.
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Migratory and Interhabitat Connectivity of North American Wintering Songbirds on the South Coast of Puerto Rico

This project was established to (1) support and develop a recently established academic program in ornithology and avian conservation (the only such effort in Puerto Rico); (2) employ mist netting, color banding census, stable isotopic and light-level geolocator and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (for Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) techniques to establish links between breeding and wintering populations of migratory songbirds that nest in North America and winter, or stop over in Puerto Rico; and, (3) establish a long-term monitoring program for migratory and yearround resident species of terrestrial birds that utilize secondary coastal dry forest and mangroves in and around the area of the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (JBNERR). The funds requested provided continuing support for undergraduate and graduate student research focusing on long-distance migratory and interhabitat movement, habitat quality, and social structure of migrants and nesting residents, and promote and enhance the academic and professional development of ornithology and citizen science in Puerto Rico. Samples have been collected for stable isotope analysis and mtDNA analysis, and the purchase of geolocators and software is under way. Analysis of our first replicate of feather samples and comparison to the new feather isotope atlas for North America have already provided noteworthy results. For ground foragers (Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis), Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapillus)), we found statistical differences overall between the isotopic signatures of wing (P1) and tail (R1) feathers, and discrepancies did occur between specific Isotopic Region assignments of individuals. Similar results were found for canopy foragers, Yellow Warblers ((Setophaga petechia), Prairie Warblers (Setophaga discolor) and Bananaquits (Coereba flaveola)), and there was statistical significance overall between wing and tail feather isotopic signatures of these species. Results also indicate that some individuals continued molting during migration and even upon arrival in Puerto Rico. Some individuals of the canopy foraging species displayed feather isotopic signatures indicative of the marine/mangrove environment, and about 13% of Yellow Warblers sampled appear to be migrants rather than local residents.
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Can Vocal Playbacks Encourage Re-establishment of Breeding Eastern Meadowlarks on an Easily-Protected Massachusetts Grassland?

In the spring of 2015, Mass Audubon bird conservation staff conducted a preliminary experiment on the effectiveness of vocalization playbacks as a means of attracting Eastern Meadowlarks to now-vacant grassland areas that were historically occupied.
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Quantifying Dispersal Behavior of Hawaiian Gallinules to predict impacts of land use and climate change

The authors received $3000 from the Blake-Nuttall fund to support the 2015 summer field season studying the movement of the Hawaiian gallinule, an endangered, endemic wetland bird on the island of O`ahu, Hawai`i (USA). C. van Rees traveled to O`ahu on May 4, and remained there until July 22. During that time, 76 new individual birds were captured and banded, expanding a mark-recapture study started the previous year to approximately 183 individuals. Of these individuals, feather samples were taken from 75 birds for genetic analysis of population structure. van Rees and Reed started a collaboration with Dr. Eben Paxton (U.S. Geological Survey), who is constructing a network of automated telemetry towers to study the movement of two other waterbird species (Hawaiian stilt, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni, and Hawaiian coot, Fulica alai). They constructed a tower at a major Hawaiian gallinule habitat and deployed coded transmitters on 3 Hawaiian gallinules as part of a pilot study. The birds’ movements are still being successfully detected using the tower and both state and federal agencies have tentatively committed funding to expanding the network of transmitter detection towers. On July 23, van Rees left Hawai`i and traveled to Anchorage, Alaska (USA) where he worked with research geneticist Dr. Sarah Sonsthagen (U.S. Geological Survey) to analyze feather samples collected in the field. All laboratory work was completed by August 11, and statistical analyses will be completed by August 28, when van Rees returns to Massachusetts. While in Hawai`i, van Rees mentored 3 undergraduate research assistants and two volunteer birdwatchers, including 3 women interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields and 3 individuals of Native Hawaiian descent.
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Protecting and Restoring Habitat for the Endangered Cochabamba Mountain-Finch with Local Communities

Thanks to the previous support of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, Armonía and ABC were able to establish in the community of Ch’aqui Potrero the first tree nursery where the Bolivian endemic Polylepis subtusalbida is being produced. This is the first, and therefore, the only tree nursery producing this native plant species which is threatened of…
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Massachusetts Important Bird Area (IBA) Program Signage Project

The Important Bird Area (IBA) Program – The IBA concept was developed in 1985 in England by BirdLife International as a model for prioritizing bird conservation areas around the world. In 1995 BirdLife partnered with the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society to launch the IBA Program in the United States. Mass Audubon initiated the IBA Program in Massachusetts in 2001. By 2002, 79 sites were identified and designated as IBAs throughout the Commonwealth. Since then Mass Audubon has made extensive significant efforts to promote bird conservation activities at existing IBAs, including the initiation of monitoring and support groups using volunteers and related alliances that will together increase protection and appropriate stewardship of IBAs in the future. The primary objective is to facilitate whatever strategy works best for each site as well as to ensure the future protection of the site as an IBA. Among the tools needed to effectively publicize and educate the public about the existence and significance of the IBA Program are high quality, colorful, and informative signs, and high-quality informational brochures that can be prominently displayed or distributed to a wide variety of audiences at appropriate IBA venues throughout Massachusetts.
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Interim Report on Assessment of Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi Status and Distribution in New Hampshire – 2015 update

The Olive-sided Flycatcher surveys funded by the Nuttall Ornithological Club were originally intended to occur in 2014-15. However, because of lower than expected coverage in 2015, and sufficient funds to continue the project for another year, it will be extended into the 2016 field season. The report below contains the same introductory material as the 2014 report to the Club, but has been updated to reflect data collected in 2015. Upon completion of the project in 2016, I will send a final report to the Club and other funders.
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Interhabitat Connectivity of North American Wintering Songbirds on the South Coast of Puerto Rico

Among the effects of global warming will be sea level rise (SLR) that will bring about coastline transformation and impacts on low-lying coastal dry forest. This study has been conducted in the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (JBNERR) on the eastern south coast of Puerto Rico. We conducted extensive mist netting at seven sites in the reserve and documented the occurrence and movements of several species of migratory Warblers in the Reserve. We also obtained information on the possible origins of long distance migrants that visit the Reserve in winter. Stable isotope methods involving the use of the measurement of stable hydrogen isotope abundance in feathers (δ2Hf) of Neotropical migrant songbirds that breed in North America and molt prior to fall migration can be used to connect the breeding and wintering grounds of individual birds (migratory connectivity). The feather deuterium isoscape (δ2Hf) for North America is much better known and structured than those for the Neotropics. Therefore, it makes more sense to sample birds at known wintering locations rather than at known breeding locations. Herein we demonstrate how feathers sampled on the wintering grounds at Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico can be used to infer breeding origins in North America. Using Bananaquits (Coereba flaveola) as our local baseline, our preliminary results indicate that some over-wintering Jobos Bay Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) and Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia), originate from breeding grounds at latitudes as far north as mid- to upper Hudson’s Bay, Canada (Zones D, E, and F) and that some first-year Yellow Warblers, Prairie Warblers (Setophaga discolor) and Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) may experience eccentric molts en route to Puerto Rico. Our results also suggest the occurrence of two races of Prairie Warblers at Jobos Bay. Continuing and future studies involving additional feather sampling and the deployment of light-level geolocators will help pinpoint more specific breeding assignments and refine conservation efforts for these species. In addition, this Blake-Nuttall funded project has provided the basis for the development of a new academic ornithology program at Universidad del Turabo, the only such university program in Puerto Rico.
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Big Barn Study Sites 2012-2014

Expansion of Mass Audubon's Big Barn Study in 2014.
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Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz Coordination

Following a highly successful Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz in 2009-2011, the IRBWG initiated a continent-wide, three-year Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz (the Blitz) in 2014. This effort engages volunteer citizen scientists to help identify important stopover habitat along Rusty Blackbird migration routes. Support from the Blake-Nuttall Fund enabled us to promote the Blitz in New Hampshire among birders, wildlife agencies, and the general public, and share ideas with coordinators in other states and provinces.
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Interim Report on Assessment of Olive-sided Flycatcher Status and Distribution in NH

Taken together, current data indicate a marked range retraction from the southwestern portion of New Hampshire (Figure 2), and potential losses in the central region. There was less effort in the latter in 2014 however, so more data are needed before making further conclusions. This project will continue into 2015, when effort will be directed to central New Hampshire and the north.
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New Hampshire Bird Records Data Conversion 2013-2014

New Hampshire Audubon (NHA) began computerizing bird sightings in 1986 utilizing volunteers to enter reports into a database. In 2009, NHA changed to eBird as an on-line data entry system for New Hampshire bird sighting data. This improved the reporting framework, but the original NHA database that contains 22 years of birding data from 188,778 records could not be imported into the eBird system without significant preparation. NHA began the work necessary to import this data into eBird in 2011 and continued the process in 2013.
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Lead and Line-free Lakes – Conservatuion of Adirondack Common Loons

This report summarizes the results of our “Lead and Line-Free Lake” outreach program in the Adirondack Park from the fall of 2013 through the summer of 2014. Support from the Blake-Nuttall Fund greatly enabled BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation to better protect Common Loons and other wildlife within the Adirondack Park.
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Geolocator Data Reveal the Migration Route and Wintering Location of a Caribbean Martin (Progne dominicensis)

Caribbean Martins (Progne dominicensis) are common breeders on most Caribbean islands, where they regularly roost and nest in urban areas from February through August. However, from September through January, the basic ecology of this species—its migration and wintering locations—are largely unknown. In 2012, we deployed seven geolocators and, in 2014, recovered one geolocator from a female Caribbean Martin on the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small eastern Caribbean island. Her wintering location was the western portion of the State of Bahia, Brazil, approximately 3550 km southeast of Dominica. Although the non-breeding grounds changed minimally, the fall departure date, migration route and length of migration to western Bahia, Brazil, was different between years. In October 2012, the female followed a coastal migration route along the Atlantic coast of South America, then flew south to the non-breeding grounds. However, in Oct 2013, she flew south from Dominica through Guyana, spent a few days in the Amazon rain forest, and then migrated southeast to the non-breeding grounds. These results provide insight into the repeatability of migration routes and wintering locations by this species, and serves as a first step in better understanding the Caribbean Martin’s full life-cycle.
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Assessing the Connectivity of White-breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus) Populations

The White‐breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus; WBTH) is restricted to three populations, two on St. Lucia and one on Martinique. The St. Lucian and Martinique populations are separated by ~80 km. The two St. Lucian populations (Northeast and Mandelé) are separated by only 4 km. Little is known about movement of individuals between these three areas; none of the ~500 birds banded in the St. Lucian Mandelé range have been resighted in the other two thrasher populations, though resighting was not the goal of past WBTH work. Evidence from field surveys of banded birds in 2013 suggests that these separate populations might be completely isolated, even those separated by only 4 km – this might be due in part to the intervening matrix of human development and agriculture acting as a barrier to dispersal. In addition to banding records, our research provides a separate method for determining the degree to which populations are isolated by using genetic methods that compare allele frequencies. To do this, we collected blood samples. With these samples, we can assess overall genetic structure, genetic diversity within each population, and number of migrants between populations. Ultimately, these measures will tell us the extent to which each population is reproductively isolated.
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Angry Birds: Songbirds, Noise, and Exurban Development

Our NSF study examines the effects of exurban development on avian communities in two structurally different habitat types (interior forest and shrubland/grassland mosaic) in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of southwestern Montana. The goal of this research is to examine how individual land ethics, and land‐use decisions, operating within a regional land‐use context, shape human impacts on biological communities, and how understanding this relationship can lead to better management and, potentially, ecologically healthier landscapes. The study will investigate: (1) how avian community structure and reproductive success relate to individual land ethics and land‐use practices in an exurban context; (2) how these bird community characteristics are controlled by localized human disturbances versus overall habitat structure as well as landscape versus local habitat characteristics; and (3) the extent to which the magnitude of these effects in diverse landscapes can be explained by the overall connectivity and resilience  of the encompassing regions.
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New Hampshire Bird Records Data Conversion (2012-2013)

New Hampshire Audubon (NHA) began computerizing bird sightings in 1986 utilizing volunteers to enter reports into a database. In 2009, NHA changed to eBird as an on-line data entry system for New Hampshire bird sighting data. This improved the reporting framework, but the original NHA database that contains 22 years of birding data from 188,778 records could not be imported into the eBird system without significant preparation. NHA began the work necessary to import this data into eBird in 2011 and received a grant from the Blake-Nuttall Fund in 2012 to continue the process. We have now completed the data upload for 42 towns, with 15 more currently in process.
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Methane Burner Impacts on Raptors

Burners located in favorable habitat can be problematic to birds. Birds perched on, or flying near, a stack can be seriously injured or killed when a flare suddenly ignites. In some cases, birds may fly over or even through an almost invisible burner flame. If a bird survives such an encounter, its burned feathers may render it unable to fly. In such situations, the bird is likely to die from starvation, infection, exposure, or predation. Species known to be injured or killed by methane burners include the Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, and crows, as well as numerous songbirds. At one Wisconsin rehabilitation facility, most birds suspected of sustaining injuries from methane burners were juvenile Red-tailed Hawks and owls.
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Severe Decline of Threatened Plovers at Bahía de Ceuta, Sinaloa, Mexico

Wetlands in Northwest Mexico provide critical habitat for both migrating and resident shorebirds. Bahía de Ceuta (23°54’N, 106°57’W) is a coastal wetland with high biodiversity located in Sinaloa, Mexico. We monitored the nest habitat selection and reproductive success of three ground nesting bird species that use Bahía de Ceuta for reproduction: Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus, Wilson’s Plover C. wilsonia and Least Tern Sternula antillarum. We found 34 Snowy Plovers nests, eleven Wilson’s Plover nests and monitored 31 Least Tern nests over the breeding season. Snowy Plovers used similar open nest habitats largely located on mud flats or sites with small pebbles. Wilson’s Plover pairs preferred nesting sites that were covered by halophyte vegetation. This year Snowy Plovers shifted the breeding area further North in comparison with previous years. Wilson’s Plover and Snowy Plovers had similar nesting success (36% and 38% of the nests hatched). Nesting success was much lower for Least Terns. Only 7% of the monitored nests hatched. The 2012 breeding season ended as a complete failure for the local Snowy Plovers. Nest number declined by 52% in comparison with 2011 and not a single chick fledged. The long drought period followed by erratic flooding led to the observed failure this year but the lack of necessary conservation management actions compounded the situation. In the past Bahía de Ceuta hosted one of the largest Snowy Plover populations and an important Least Tern colony at the Pacific but if no appropriate conservation measures are taken the breeding site may vanish within a few years.
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Barn Owl population dynamics on Nantucket, a remote island at the northern limit of the species’ range

Global climate change has allowed species’ ranges to change and is responsible for unpredictable weather events that affect these species. We used population trends of the Barn Owl, Tyto alba, on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts to correlate nesting success with severe winter weather. Of the past twenty five winters, five had colder average temperatures and more snow than the others, and these more severe winters had significantly fewer chicks than the mild ones. Although Nantucket is the northern limit of the species’ range, Barn Owls were able to have reproductive success due to the building of nesting boxes in appropriate habitat, but they are still vulnerable to high mortality in years following severe winters.
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Snowy Owl Satellite Telemetry Project, Winter 2011-2012

The snowy owl season for this year from November 2011 through May 2012 was a great one. We banded a total of 52 snowy owls and recaptured an owl we had banded two years ago. Of the owls banded 42 were captured at Logan Airport, 29 were released at Duxbury Beach and 13 released at Plum Island. In addition to the owls banded at Logan Airport 4 owls were banded at Duxbury Beach and 6 were banded at Plum Island.
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New Hampshire Swallow Colony Registry

Project Reports: New Hampshire Swallow Colony Registry, September 2011 through August 2012 New Hampshire Swallow Colony Registry, October 2010 through September 2011 Swallow CORE Newsletter Spring 2012 Cliff Swallow nest poster
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The New Hampshire Loon Recovery Plan: Concept Paper and Year Three Progress Report

The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) was created in 1975 because of concerns about dramatic declines in New Hampshire’s loon population. The Committee consists of a network of dedicated individuals who work to further the organization’s mission of restoring and maintaining a viable population of loons throughout New Hampshire; monitoring the health and productivity of loons and loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and promoting a greater understanding of loons and the natural world. Today, LPC houses the most comprehensive database of loon populations and productivity statistics in the world, and our management activities have more than tripled New Hampshire’s loon population, despite dramatic increases in shoreline development and human use of lakes.
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Forest Fragmentation Effects on Ovenbird Populations in the Urban Region of Eastern Massachusetts, USA

We compared pairing and reproductive success of ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) in three large (120‒312 hectare) and nine small (10‒60 hectare) forest reserves in a suburban landscape over six years and related ovenbird success to patch-scale and landscape-scale features. We applied estimates of ovenbird reproductive success to population viability models and compared results with those of ovenbird studies in other regions and landscapes. Pairing success was high at all sites but not significantly higher in large (98%) vs. small (88%) reserves. The probability of nest survival was significantly higher in large (42%) vs. small (17.5%) reserves, as were reproductive success (61.3% vs. 46.8%) and fledging success (70% vs. 50%). Density was significantly higher and territories were significantly smaller in large reserves. The amount of forested area within 2 kilometers of the forest center was somewhat positively related to the proportion of successful nesting attempts and fledging success (p < 0.10). There was no significant difference in predation or parasitism rates by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) between large and small forests, but parasitized nests in small reserves fledged significantly more cowbird nestlings. Source-sink results varied with estimates of adult survivorship and annual productivity, but most models found that large reserves were above the source-sink threshold and small sites were population sinks or very near the source-sink threshold. Suburban landscapes in heavily urbanized regions of the northeastern U.S. can likely support viable populations of ovenbirds with forest cover > 40%, with the maintenance of reserves ≥ 120 hectares, and with the preservation of small woodlots close to larger tracts of forest. The rates of pairing and breeding success in our irregularly patterned suburban landscape were higher than those found in other regions and landscapes, supporting the conclusion that regional and landscape context are important considerations in the conservation and management of ovenbirds, and pointing to the importance of local and regional studies for determining minimum area requirements for ovenbirds and for informing municipal planning and conservation efforts.
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Nest Success Rates of Four Shrubland Specialists in Conservation-managed Fields with Comparisons to Other Managed and Unmanaged Shrublands

Shrubland birds are disturbance dependent species and are experiencing population declines of 1–3%/year rangewide. In our study, we determined nest success rates of four shrubland species, Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus), Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla), at Bent of the River Audubon Center, Southbury, Connecticut, USA. Field sites were conservation-managed fi elds that were actively managed for shrubland specialists. Data were collected on 123 nests (May–August, 2004–2006) and nest success rates (calculated using the Mayfi eld method) were 0.37 ± 0.003 for Blue-winged Warbler, 0.35 ± 0.013 for Prairie Warbler, 0.65 ± 0.009 for Indigo Bunting, and 0.50 ± 0.014 for Field Sparrow. Our study of these species is one of only three from the New England/ Mid-Atlantic Coast Region. We compiled data from studies from all regions reporting nest success of these species, conducted in a variety of managed and unmanaged shrublands. We compared our results to these studies and found nest success rates in conservation-managed fi elds to be similar to or higher than studies in different habitat management types in different regions. Based on our comparision of results from the limited number of studies on nest success rates of shrubland birds, the rotational mowing, selective tree removal, and invasive plant control regimes used to maintain conservation-managed shrublands are effective management practices to maintain high to moderate rates of nest success and may even be preferable to other management practices where shrubland species are targets for conservation.
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Nocturnal Activity of Nesting Shrubland and Grassland Passerines

Nocturnal behaviors and sleep patterns of nesting passerines remain largely undocumented in the field and are important to understanding responses to environmental pressures such as predation. We used nocturnal video recordings to describe activity and quantify behaviors of females with nestlings of four shrubland bird species and three grassland bird species (n 19 nests). Among the shrubland birds, Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus), Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor), and Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) returned to the nest for the night at the same time, around sunset. Among the grassland birds, Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) returned the earliest before sunset and Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) returned the latest after sunset. All species exhibited “back sleep” with the bill tucked under scapular feathers, and individuals awoke frequently for vigils or “peeks” at their surroundings. Sleep of all species was disrupted by nestling activity. Average duration of sleep bouts varied from 6 min (Grasshopper Sparrow) to 28 min (Blue-winged Warbler; Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla). Mean overnight duration on the nest varied from 6.4 hr (Field Sparrow) to 8.8 hr (Indigo Bunting). On average, adults woke in the morning (the last waking before departing the nest) 20–30 min before sunrise. The first absence from the nest in the morning was short for all species, and nestlings were fed within 12 min of a parent’s departure. Our study highlights the need for further video research on sleep patterns of nesting birds in the field to better understand basic natural history, energetic cost–benefits of sleep, and behavioral adaptations to environmental pressures.
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Baseline avian survey of the North Rupununi River, Region 9, Guyana

The purpose of this eight day avian survey of the North Rupununi River in Guyana, South America, was to provide important baseline data on bird abundance, species richness and composition for this relatively unstudied and largely pristine region which is subject to a multitude of pressures across spatial and temporal scales. Two of us (DCM, MDS) have visited the biologically diverse Rupununi region of savannah, forest, and wetlands annually since 2007 and have witnessed the rapid growth of ecotourism against a backdrop of increased oil prospecting, gold mining, large scale agriculture, and growing pressures for timber extraction, climate change impacts, and pressures to pave the road from Lethem on the Brazilian border to Georgetown on the Caribbean coast.
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Wintering Raptors of the Great Basin – Census and Banding Study 1985-2011

Since 1985, Principal Investigator (PI) Al Hinde has conducted a roadside census and banding study of wintering raptors in the Great Basin. Initially, this project was limited to northeastern Nevada and was intended to augment knowledge of regional raptor ecology derived from HawkWatch International’s (HWI) long-term migration study in the Goshute Mountains of northeastern Nevada (on-going annually since 1983; Hoffman and Smith 2003; Smith and Neal 2008a). By 1989, further exploration throughout Utah and Nevada had revealed eight major concentration areas for wintering raptors. This report summarizes the results of winter 2010/2011 roadside census and banding activities conducted in seven of the nine primary, known concentration areas in Utah and Nevada, with supplementary information derived from three other areas in the two states.
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Testing the Role of Patch Openness as a Causal Mechanism for Apparent Area Sensitivity in a Grassland Specialist

Area sensitivity, species being disproportionately present on larger habitat patches, has been identified in many taxa. We propose that some apparently area-sensitive species are actually responding to how open a habitat patch is, rather than to patch size. We tested this hypothesis for Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by comparing density and occupancy to a novel openness index, patch area, and edge effects. Bobolink density and occupancy showed significant relationships with openness, but logistic models based on an openness occupancy threshold had greater explanatory power. Thresholds remained approximately consistent from June through August, and shifted to be more open in September. Variance partitioning supported the openness index as unique and relevant. We found no relationships between measures of body condition (body mass, body size, circulating corticosterone levels) and either openness or area. Our findings have implications for studies of area sensitivity, especially with regards to inconsistencies reported within species: specifically, (1) whether or not a study finds a species to be area sensitive may depend on whether small, open sites were sampled, and (2) area regressions were sensitive to observed densities at the largest sites, suggesting that variation in these fields could lead to inconsistent area sensitivity responses.
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Breeding Ecology and Mating System of the Canada Warbler in New Hampshire

The primary objective of the past field season with support from Nuttal was to explain the mechanisms responsible for Canada warbler reproductive success, and the pattern of that success over years, among age classes, and at several spatial scales. We are measuring reproductive success at the level of individuals in the context of populations. We consider the habitat features and behavioral milieu that best promote successful fledging. We characterize the behaviors most associated with success, such as neighborhood dynamics, male and female mating opportunism, individual attributes – including age, plumage and physiological condition measured by carotenoid concentrations and reflectance values in feathers - that increase success. We examine whether “hot” areas occur within neighborhoods based upon asymmetries in paternity among males in each neighborhood, and whether males and females shift territories or choices for extra-pair copulations, respectively, recognizing these hot spots.
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Effects of Controlled Burns on Breeding Bird Species and Density in Myles Standish SF

Myles Standish State Forest (MSSF) and adjacent natural areas comprise one of the three largest remaining Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)/Scrub Oak (Quercus ilicifolia) ecosystems in the world, providing essential habitat to many species of rare and threatened plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. In particular, MSSF provides core breeding habitat for three bird species which are rapidly declining in New England - Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor), Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) and Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythropthalmus) - as well as for many other vulnerable animals and plants such as the well known Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferous), Barrens Buck Moth (Hemileuca maia) and Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii).
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Song Performance and Social Mate Choice in Prairie Warblers

I am testing the prediction that female warblers prefer males whose singing is highly consistent, singing in which successive songs differ very little. I have previously found evidence of such a female preference in Chestnutsided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica), and during the breeding season of 2010, I collected data to determine whether a similar preference is present in Prairie Warblers (Dendroica discolor).
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Conservation through Appreciation: Birds as Winged Ambassadors for Caribbean Conservation

Conservation of nature begins with education—an understanding and awareness of our dependence on intact ecosystems and an appreciation for the many values of biodiversity. We proposed to build on two very successful outreach and education programs of the SCSCB and continuing development of a third education program on migratory birds. The overall goal of these projects is to increase awareness and appreciation of the Caribbean’s unique and diverse bird life and the important habitat upon which these birds and human societies depend through our outreach and education programs. Our primary objective with this proposal was to develop new outreach materials that will help organizations across the region to raise awareness about the value of birds – both residents and migrants, and the importance of habitat conservation.
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Identifying Rusty Blackbird Foraging Habitat in New Hampshire

In 2006, New Hampshire Audubon initiated surveys of documented Rusty Blackbird breeding sites in Pittsburg, the State’s northernmost township, where the highest density of documented breeding sites occurred. This effort documented Rusty Blackbirds at only three (13%) of the 23 historic sites surveyed. Birders observed the species at four additional New Hampshire locations that year, for a total of seven occupied sites. In 2008, surveys in the White Mountains yielded two additional occupied sites. A 2009 survey of historical and potential Rusty Blackbird breeding habitat in New Hampshire documented 57 active breeding areas, including a concentration of pairs in the upper Androscoggin watershed, and collaboration with other researchers enabled collection of tissue samples from 20 New Hampshire Rusty Blackbirds that are contributing to research on diet, genetics, blood parasites, and mercury levels. The present study focuses on the population in the Androscoggin watershed to collect detailed information on habitat use throughout the breeding and early fledgling periods.
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Whip-poor-will Territory Mapping at Two New Hampshire Sites

The Eastern Whip-poor-will (EWPW, Caprimulgus vociferus) has been declining across its range for decades. Habitat loss or maturation has been proposed as an important factor behind these declines, since EWPWs require a mix of open habitat for foraging and forested habitat for nesting. To better understand the potential effects of habitat management on Whip-poor-will populations in New Hampshire, detailed studies were initiated in two high density areas in 2008: Mast Yard State Forest and the Ossipee Pine Barrens. In 2008-10, Mast Yard supported an average of eight EWPW territories, with birds concentrated at the western and eastern portions of the study area. In the west, they used areas of thinned pine, recent clear cuts, and wetlands, while in the east they occupied areas of aspen regeneration, wetlands, and a power line corridor. The remainder of the site, which is dominated my mature pine, was completely unoccupied. In 2010, three birds occupied an area of mature forest that was unoccupied in previous years but which was selectively logged in the summer of 2009. This rapid colonization suggests that EWPWs can respond quite quickly to habitat management, at least wihin areas that already support a breeding population. Data collection improved at the Ossipee Pine Barrens in 2010, and the resulting territories are far more indicative of actual habitat use than those mapped in 2009. Interestingly, birds continue to avoid the most recently burned areas, suggesting that perhaps the understory is too sparse to serve as suitable nesting habitat.
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Evaluating mechanisms for area sensitivity in density and occupancy in Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) in Massachusetts

We are studying habitat selection by grassland birds. Specifically, we are addressing the question of why there are fewer grassland birds per unit area present on small fields relative to large fields. Understanding the mechanism of this process is important for conservation, as it will either underscore the importance of preserving large fields or provide a means of managing small fields to be more suitable for grassland birds. We have been examining this question in Bobolinks, and have tested hypotheses relating to two specific mechanisms: 1. that Bobolinks select fields based on how open they are, rather than how large they are, and 2. That animals perceive a greater risk due to avian predators on small fields relative to large fields.
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The Squam Lake Loon Initiative: Progress Report (September, 2010)

The Squam Lake Loon Initiative begun in 2007 is an increased monitoring, research, management and outreach effort to: 1. Determine the overall survival and reproductive success of Squam’s remaining loon population; 2. Assess causes of nest failure and collect inviable eggs from failed nests for analysis of a wide range of contaminants and pathogens; 3. Rescue sick or injured loons to increase loon survival whenever possible; 4. Find and collect loon carcasses, determine causes of death, and test liver samples from dead loons for contaminants and pathogens; 5. Band loons to allow us to identify and track individual birds and collect blood and feather samples for analysis; 6. Determine survival and breeding success of previously banded and sampled loons, and relate survival and breeding success of individuals to their levels of contaminants and pathogens; 7. Incorporate results into a systems dynamics model to determine the relative contributions of a wide range of possible stressors on the mortality and reproductive failure of loons on Squam Lake; and 8. Restore and maintain a healthy and stable population of loons on Squam Lake as a component of a healthy state-wide population of loons.
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Migratory Double Breeding in Neotropical Migrant Birds

Neotropical migratory songbirds typically breed in temperate regions and then travel long distances to spend the majority of the annual cycle in tropical wintering areas. Using stable-isotope methodology, we provide quantitative evidence of dual breeding ranges for 5 species of Neotropical migrants. Each is well known to have a Neotropical winter range and a breeding range in the United States and Canada. However, after their first bout of breeding in the north, many individuals migrate hundreds to thousands of kilometers south in midsummer to breed a second time during the same summer in coastal west Mexico or Baja California Sur. They then migrate further south to their final wintering areas in the Neotropics. Our discovery of dual breeding ranges in Neotropical migrants reveals a hitherto unrealized flexibility in life-history strategies for these species and underscores that demographic models and conservation plans must consider dual breeding for these migrants.
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Investigating Rusty Blackbird Breeding Habitat in New Hampshire

Populations of Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) have been declining steadily for nearly a century, with the steepest declines occurring over the past few decades. Potential causes of these declines include habitat loss and degradation on breeding grounds, migration stop-over sites, and wintering areas; competition with other blackbird species, increased nest mortality associated with timber harvesting; and impacts of parasites and contaminants. In New Hampshire, Rusty Blackbirds have disappeared from several historic breeding sites. However, surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008 confirmed that this species still breeds in several sites throughout the historic breeding range, from the White Mountains to the Canadian border. Surveys in 2009 focused on sites in the White Mountain National Forest, where Rusty Blackbirds were documented at seven of 47 survey points, located in five different sites. Four of these sites were historic breeding areas, and one was documented for the first time this year. Habitat characteristics of occupied sites in the White Mountain National Forest were similar to other occupied sites throughout the state. However, occupied wetlands were well below 2500 ft. in elevation, and therefore situated in primarily mixed and deciduous forests, rather than spruce-fir dominated landscapes. Future surveys will focus on wetlands above 2500 ft. to determine if Rusty Blackbirds still inhabit historic breeding sites in spruce-fir habitat.
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Wintering Raptors of the Great Basin

Since 1985, Principal Investigator (PI) Al Hinde has conducted a roadside census and banding study of wintering raptors in the Great Basin. Initially, this project was limited to northeastern Nevada and was intended to augment knowledge of regional raptor ecology derived from HawkWatch International’s (HWI) long-term migration study in the Goshute Mountains of northeastern Nevada (on-going annually since 1983; Hoffman and Smith 2003, Smith et al. 2008, Smith and Neal 2009a). By 1989, further exploration throughout Utah and Nevada had revealed eight major concentration areas for wintering raptors, with each roughly 50-mi2 area consistently containing 100–200+ individuals of 18 species (13 diurnal species and 5 owl species). One such area, Lovelock, Nevada, contained a previously undocumented communal roost of 200+ buteos (Rough-legged Hawks [Buteo lagopus], Red-tailed Hawks [B. jamaicensis], and Ferruginous Hawks [B. regalis]) and several Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus). Continuing each January, with field assistance from experienced HWI raptor biologists, other ornithologists, and local and state wildlife officials, Mr. Hinde focused on these eight areas, including the Lovelock roost. All sites have continued to sustain similar large numbers of wintering raptors each year. The Lovelock roost routinely contained dozens of mixed-species buteos until this past year. This long-term study suggests that these areas are among the most significant winter ranges for raptors in western North America, and the censuses provide a means of monitoring population changes in relation to habitat, land-use, and climatic changes in the study regions. This report summarizes the results of winter 2008/2009 roadside census and banding activities conducted in nine primary, known concentration areas in Utah and Nevada, with supplementary information derived from several other areas in the two states.
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The Energetics and Stopover Ecology of Neotropical Migrant Passerines in an Urban Park

Due to the overlap of the Atlantic Flyway with some of the most urbanized regions of North America, the habitats remaining within cities may play an important role in bird migration. Yet, the use of urban parks by migrating birds is currently poorly understood. To determine if an urban habitat is serving as a suitable stopover site, I investigated the energetics of 8 species of migratory songbirds in Bronx Park (Bronx, NY) during two consecutive spring and fall migrations. Fat score, body mass, and rate of mass gain of birds of different ages and sexes were compared within and between migration seasons. For comparison to other studies, I calculated possible flight ranges. Fat score and condition index was significantly higher in spring for most species. There were few significant sexual differences in fat score or condition index in spring and few significant age-related differences in fall. Rate of mass change was positive in 12 of 17 possible combinations of species and season. Rates of mass gain were greater in spring than fall for most species. Flight ranges were comparable to those calculated in studies in rural areas and suggest most migrants in Bronx Park store enough energy to fly longer distances than are possible in the course of one night at the assumed average flight speed of small passerines. High fat scores, condition indices, and flight ranges, and positive rates of mass gain demonstrate the study site is a place where migrants can sufficiently restore depleted energy reserves. These findings highlight the importance of conserving and properly managing the remaining green spaces in urban areas situated along migratory bird flyways.
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Take a Second Look (TASL): 25 Years and Counting

Take a Second Look (TASL) Boston Harbor winter bird counts have been a part of the Greater Boston birding scene for a quarter century. TASL is what local birders do in November, when the masses of sea birds finally arrive in the Harbor. And TASLing is the way to pass the winter months, after the Christmas Bird Counts and the new year list blitz are over and done with. In this article, Maury Hall, the TASL data compiler for the past 17 years, sketches a brief history of the project. Maury then explains the basic techniques of the counts, presents summary data for TASL's first quarter century, and provides brief accounts of water bird population trends or lack thereof.
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