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Identifying Important Migratory Landbird Stopover Sites in the Northeast

Identifying Important Migratory Landbird Stopover Sites in the Northeast

Dozens of species of landbirds, such as warblers, hummingbirds, and orioles, migrate through the Northeastern United States from their summer breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada to their nonbreeding grounds as far south as South America. During the migration period, birds must find habitat where they can stop, rest and replenish their energy reserves. Conservation efforts are increasingly focused on identifying stopover sites that are important for sustaining migratory landbird populations. This project built upon prior work by the University of Delaware and USGS to use weather surveillance data and field surveys to map and predict important migratory bird stopover sites.

Dozens of species of landbirds, such as warblers, hummingbirds, and orioles, migrate through the Northeastern United States as they journey between their summer breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada and their nonbreeding grounds as far south as South America. During the migration period, birds must find habitat where they can stop, rest and replenish their energy reserves. The migration period is one of the most perilous stages in the life cycle for birds, and conservation efforts are increasingly focused on identifying stopover sites that are important for sustaining migratory landbird populations. This project will build upon prior work by the University of Delaware and USGS to use weather surveillance data and field surveys to map and predict such areas.

 Specific steps in this project are:

  1. Calibrate NEXRAD weather surveillance radar data of bird stopover density by collecting ground survey data of bird identities and densities.
  2. Improve NEXRAD-based models of important stopover sites for the Northeast by incorporating two more years of radar data, a more sophisticated modeling method, and better explanatory variables.
  3. Validate the updated NEXRAD-based predictive statistical models for the Northeast using ground survey and (as available) NASA radar observations.
  4. Assess habitat use of migrants in relation to food abundance, habitat and landscape features in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain.


LCC Staff Contact: Scott Schwenk

The results of this project were announced in April 2018. Datasets of important sites for migratory landbirds, and other materials, are available for viewing and download in a Data Basin gallery.

Scope of Work - Migratory Landbird Radar Study

Buler Agroecology Lab Website

InstitutionFunding
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), FY13

$165,000

U.S. FWS, NWRS, FY14 $53,121
U.S. FWS, NWRS, FY15 $25,885
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird Program $15,000
North Atlantic LCC $75,000
Maryland Department of Natural Resources $34,800
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality $33,922
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries $35,490
University of Delaware in kind contributions
USGS in kind contributions
NASA in kind contributions
Old Dominion University in kind contributions
The Nature Conservancy in kind contributions

Products

The final report, datasets, and other information are available through a gallery on Data Basin.

Journal Articles

Buler, J and Deanna Dawson. 2014. Radar analysis of fall bird migration stopover sites in the northeastern U.S. Ornithological Applications 116: 357-370.

 

A predecessor project to the 2013-2015 project sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners yielded:

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