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2014

Field Work on Wintering Grounds of Priority Birds in Nicaragua

Dr. Amber Roth with Crimson-collared Tanager; photo by Curtis Smalling.

Curtis Smalling of Audubon North Carolina and Dr. Amber Roth of Michigan Tech met with partners Lili and Georges Duriaux Chavarria at El Jaguar, their private reserve and coffee plantation in Nicaragua, to conduct further Golden-winged Warbler (GWWA) research in January and February 2014. Smalling and Roth attached the newest generation of geolocators to 20 GWWA males during their visit. These new geolocators are finally small enough (<0.4 grams) that they may be attached to birds as small as the 8.5 gram male Golden-wings. Small backpacks sit on the back of the bird and are held on with leg loops. The geolocator does not transmit but rather records data…
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International Wood Thrush Conservation Alliance Forms

Wood Thrush with geolocator attached; photo by David Shuford.

The International Wood Thrush Conservation Alliance (Alliance) is a consortium of scientists and conservation biologists from academic institutions, agencies, and non-profits in Central and North America. It is focused on conserving Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) populations using the best available science and raising awareness about the conservation needs of associated forest birds and their habitats. Our specific mission is to ensure the long-term viability of Wood Thrush populations and the habitats on which they depend through science-based, full life cycle conservation planning, management, and education. 

Presently there are three active Technical Committees conducting work to meet the Alliance’s mission:

Creation of Young Forest in Georgia Yields Results

Site of Flat Branch Ruffed Grouse habitat improvement area; photo by Mathew Soberg.

Fourteen years ago, cooperators began work on the Flat Branch Ruffed Grouse Habitat Improvement Area in Georgia. The project area has produced results in enhancing healthy forests for ruffed grouse and many other species of forest wildlife, including Golden-winged Warblers, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the specific management practices implemented on this site included rotational controlled burning, selective tree removal, wildlife opening planting, soft-mast shrub plantings, non-native invasive species control, and road closure. Specific improvements to ruffed grouse populations have occurred as witnessed by wildlife biologists and local hunters. These results are due to the efforts of many partners including the U.S. Forest…
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ARRI Wins Partners in Conservation Awards

Reforestation activities at Flight 93 National Memorial; photo by National Park Service.

The U.S. Department of the Interior honored the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) with the Department’s prestigious Partners in Conservation Award in 2014. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell recognized the Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) ARRI work with public and private collaborators for ongoing reforestation at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

ARRI became involved with the Flight 93 Reforestation effort in 2011 when the National Park Service (NPS) requested OSM’s help in reforesting previously mined and reclaimed land at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On September 11, 2001, the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 bravely gave their lives, thereby thwarting a planned…
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Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Enhancement in New Jersey

Third consecutive year of habitat management for Golden-winged Warblers at Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area; photo by Sharon Petzinger.

Timber harvests for Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA) and other young forest species are continuing on public and private lands throughout the state. While many plans in New Jersey are in development to create young forest for GWWA in 2015 and 2016, some work has already been implemented within the bird’s focal area. Over the last year, the total acreage of young forest created is closing in on 1% of the focal area, bringing forest age classes to 75% mature forest and 5% young forest within the focal area in the state.

On public lands, habitat creation for GWWA were completed for a third consecutive year at…
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RGS Partners with CONSOL Energy to Create Young Forest Habitat

CONSOL Energy young forest habitat project; photo by Mathew Soberg.

The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) has been fortunate to forge an innovative relationship with CONSOL Energy (CONSOL), that simultaneously benefits both industry and wildlife conservation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. CONSOL is a large private landowner in the eastern United States, much of it in the Appalachian basin. The relationship involves RGS helping CONSOL manage their lands, and in turn share in timber management proceeds. The nearly 13,000 acres of young forest habitat created to date through the CONSOL relationship has established habitat for species within the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan. These include breeding and migrating songbirds classified as “High Level of Concern” such as the
Cerulean and Golden-winged…
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Working with Private Landowners to Enhance Young Forest Habitat

Audubon biologists meet in New York to develop consistent reporting goals for Working Lands for Wildlife; photo by Aimee Tomcho.

In 2014, Audubon North Carolina continued to work through site assessments of private property owners who responded to targeted mailings on enhancing habitat for Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA)
for the Working Lands for Wildlife program. The process Audubon North Carolina is undertaking for this initiative involves an initial assessment and site visit, where staff look at various ranking and scoring criteria in the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Guide from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Then staff makes a quick series of recommendations and begin the process of assisting landowners with completion of farm and tract number assignment and other required paperwork. Audubon works closely with a regional Wildlife Resources Commission…
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New Observatory Helps Implement Bird Inventorying and Monitoring Projects

Tennessee River Gorge Trust bird observatory; photo by Kevin Livingood.

In May 2014, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust constructed a bird observatory in the Cash Canyon area of Marion County. The observatory, funded by Benwood Foundation, TN American Water Company, and Norcross Wildlife Foundation, will allow the Trust to conduct two simultaneous bird research projects in the Gorge; a two-year study of postIfledgling foraging habitat for the Cerulean Warbler, and a long-term bird inventorying and monitoring project. Both initiatives were launched this year.

Here’s what the Trust has accomplished in the bird observatory’s 1st year:
  • Bird banders John Diener and Lizzie Goodrick banded 98 birds of 24 different species;
  • On June 19th,…
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NCWRC Acquire Critical Lands to Protect AMJV Priority Species

Prescribed burn on NCWRC lands; photo by NCWRC.

In 2014, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission acquired 891 acres of land to add to our existing game lands within the AMJV boundary. The highlight of these acquisitions was a 523-acre parcel on Humpback Mountain, added to the Little Table Rock Mountain Tract of the Pisgah Game Lands already owned by the Commission. This property will add to the conservation lands of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest Game Lands and protect priority species such as Wood Thrush and Canada Warbler. In addition, staff conducted prescribed burns and other management activities to maintain young forest habitat on many of the Commissions lands. This included burns on 971…
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Collaborative Loggerhead Shrike Project across the Virginias

Newly banded shrike trapped at site in Virginia; photo by Amy Johnson.

State wildlife agencies of Virginia and West Virginia began collaborating on a Loggerhead Shrike banding project across their respective state boundaries to further understand population dynamics and habitat use. Working under the umbrella of the Loggerhead Shrike Working Group coordinated by Dr. Amy Chabot, a shrike researcher from Ontario, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) are giving one another a hand in trapping and color banding. These activities are part of the Working Group’s efforts to implement a coordinated research project across eastern North America involving banding, genetic assays, and habitat characterization using standardized methods.

Shrikes…
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