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TN: Observatory and New Grant Allow for Banding Success and Avian Research

The Tennessee River Gorge Trust will be conducting a 2-year geolocator project on Louisiana Waterthrush. Photo: Bill Majoros.

The Tennessee River Gorge Trust continued work in 2015 at our Bird Observatory by conducting Spring/Fall migrational inventory banding, as well as collecting productivity and survivorship data. A privy and two cabins increased our capacity to support research staff and visitors at the Observatory. During the year, 339 birds were banded that encompassed 51 different species, and 86 of these birds were recaptured for a total of 425 birds caught. Swainson’s Thrush and Hooded Warbler were the most abundant during this inventory.

Another major accomplishment from 2015 included receiving a $150,000 grant from the Benwood Foundation. We…
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WV: Publication for Enhancing Habitat on Oil & Gas Infrastructure

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Section published a new guide to provide information on management activities to enhance wildlife habitat associated with well sites, pipelines and access roads. Paul Johansen, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, recommends that landowners and industry use this non-regulatory guide -titled Enhancing Wildlife Habitat on Oil and Gas Infrastructure - to improve habitat for a variety of game and non-game wildlife. This includes those species that use the edges of developed areas, where natural habitats meet human habitats, such as early successional habitat.

Supported by West Virginia…
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Completion of the 2nd West Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) staff and partners continue to make progress towards completing its 2nd Bird Atlas manuscript for submission to West Virginia University Press. Over the last year, staff worked to proof and correct all distribution and abundance data. WVDNR also contracted with the Conservation Management Institute in Virginia to produce a statistical analysis and map products for inclusion in the forthcoming manuscript. The first versions of density models are now being produced.

An atlas author meeting was also held where support materials and style guidelines were discussed and distributed. Drafts of dozens…
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West Virginia Wildlife Action Plan to Guide Conservation Actions in State f

This Mourning Warbler in Pocahontas County, WVA, was one of over 100,000 birds observed during the 2nd West Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas. Photo: Doug Jolley.

The 1st revision of the West Virginia State Wildlife Action Plan was completed and submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff for review. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources staff and partners worked over much of 2015 to complete the document. Species lists were updated and rankings revised, threats and conservation actions were identified, and conservation focus areas were delineated. The document will now guide conservation and management work in the state for the next 10 years.
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New Off-Road Bird Survey Reveals Importance of Kittatinny Ridge

View from Pulpit Rock along the Kittatinny Ridge; photo by Brian Byrnes.

A survey study conducted in the Kittatinny Ridge Important Bird Area reveals that off-road point counts allow for much higher detection of forest interior songbirds, including many priority birds, in extensive forest systems. Findings demonstrate the efficacy of trail-based point counts in larger scale forests in the AMJV, where many forests are likely under-surveyed and under-appreciated for their importance to high priority species.

The Kittatinny Ridge is a largely forested ridge that extends for 185 miles through southeastern Pennsylvania, extending from the Delaware Gap to the Mason-Dixon Line. It is one of the primary hawk migration routes…
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Boreal Mountain Forest Bird Project Guide Protections for Rare Species

Boreal conifer forests are important for Blackpoll Warblers which are state endangered in Pennsylvania; photo by W.H. Majoros.

For several years, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has investigated the boreal mountain forest birds of the state.  Information gathered from such studies is informing management on state game lands and state forests. Furthermore, guidance documents for environmental review were finalized in 2013 for both Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Blackpoll Warbler, both state endangered species.  These documents will guide protections and management of locations that support these and other rare species that occupy this unique habitat.

Boreal conifer forests, mountain habitat islands that can be small and isolated, support breeding populations of several rare species including Northern Waterthrush, Canada…
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Surveys Result in Completion of Fifth Season of WV Breeding Bird Atlas

Juvenile Loggerhead Shrike observed in West Virginia; photo by Rich Bailey.

During the fifth field season of the six-year Atlas Project, 86 WV Division of Natural Resources staff and atlas volunteers logged 3,525 field hours and submitted nearly 15,000 observations of 165 species statewide to the Atlas data portal.  Abundance sampling took place on 170 quads statewide.

WVDNR staff also located and monitored seven breeding pairs of rare Loggerhead Shrikes in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe counties.  Staff initiated partnerships with local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices to contact and work with landowners on access and habitat management.  Partnerships with nearby states are helping initiate a trapping/banding program and…
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Golden-winged Warbler Monitoring Project Continues at Hampton Creek Cove

A male Golden-winged Warbler banded at Hampton Creek Cove; photo by Nora Schubert.

A Golden-winged Warbler monitoring project, funded by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, has documented population and breeding activities of this priority bird species at Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area (HCCSNA) for three consecutive years.  The major goals of this project are to record arrival phenology, breeding site fidelity, and number and spatial arrangement of all Golden-winged Warbler territories through color banding and territory mapping. Monitoring is also detailing nest success, vegetation characteristics of nest sites and territories, level of genetic introgression between Golden-winged Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler and hybrids, and evaluating the avian community associated with Warblers at this…
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Pennsylvania Golden-winged Warbler Monitoring Informs Management

Scrub oak barrens were one of the habitats found to be used by Golden-winged Warblers during surveys by PA Game Commission staff; photo by Doug Gross.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) Wildlife Diversity section comprehensive monitoring program is informing the agency and its partners not only of Golden-winged Warbler population status but also potential for implementing best management practices.  PGC has been coordinating the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (CLO) Golden-winged Warbler monitoring for several years and integrating standard surveys such as Breeding Bird Surveys, Breeding Bird Atlas, CLO Golden-winged Warbler Conservation Initiative Monitoring (CIM), and selective searches in appropriate locations.  The team of field observers conducting monitoring activities includes both agency staff and volunteers.

Over the last three years, searches that follow-up on …
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Audubon North Carolina Achievements for Bird Conservation

Audubon NC’s Private Lands Biologist Aimee Tomcho; photo by Curtis Smalling.

Enrolling Landowners and Acres in Working Lands for Wildlife
Working with Natural Resources Conservation Service through a Conservation Partners grant, Audubon is working with 105 private landowners to increase enrollment of acres that can enhance habitat for Golden-winged Warblers for the Working Lands for Wildlife program. Site visits are underway with these landowners and staff is helping write management recommendations and conducting property evaluations to expedite entry into the program.

Earlier in the year, we began identifying landowners who might be eligible to enroll in the program.  For the initial sign up in late winter and…
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