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Migratory Birds Gain Protection of Winter Habitat in Guatemala

Wintering Louisiana Waterthrush at Tapon Creek. Photo: Jason Berry.

The Caribbean rainforests of Guatemala, once a continuous swath of forest providing critical habitat to more than a hundred species that migrate through the region or overwinter, has been increasingly fragmented by agriculture. Those losses have contributed to population declines among at least 19 species of migratory birds, including Wood Thrush.

The Guatemalan conservation group FUNDAECO, working with the American Bird Conservancy and the World Land Trust, has secured a key piece of this threatened habitat, acquiring 1,672 acres from a local landowner to create the Tapon Creek Nature Reserve. The purchase helps create a vital lowland…
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New Research Identifies Wood Thrush Population in Honduras Dry Forests

Tropical dry forest in Honduras. Photo: Fabiola Rodriguez

Studies conducted by Fabiola Rodriguez and Jeff Larkin of Indiana University of Pennsylvania identified Wood Thrush as one of the most abundant migratory birds in remnant dry forest patches of Honduras. This is of particular interest as Wood Thrush are usually associated with moister conditions. The study was part of a project to evaluate the local flora and fauna of Honduras' Agalta Valley to identify the habitat needs of the endangered Honduran Emerald as well as to develop protocols for monitoring this imperiled bird. The large presence of Wood Thrush means ensuring the protection of the remaining dry forest in…
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Golden-winged Warbler Wintering Ground Conservation Plan

A wintering Golden-winged Warbler bathing. Photo: Barth Schorre.

Over the course of the last two years, Andrew Rothman of the American Bird Conservancy and Ruth Bennett of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have led the development of the Golden-winged Warbler Wintering Grounds Conservation Plan. This plan, which is the result of multiple international workshops that brought together conservationists and ornithologists from eight different Latin American countries plus the US and Canada, has identified key focal areas for strategic conservation investment for wintering Golden-winged Warblers. The focal areas have been prioritized and conservation actions within these specific areas proposed. The first version of the plan is in its final…
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NJ: Working with Energy Company to Provide and Maintain Habitat for GWWA

Habitat management work at Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Photo: Sharon Petzinger.

A draft revision to a 10-year forest stewardship plan for Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area will create patches of young forest habitat within a forested matrix to provide essential habitat for Golden- winged Warblers and many other species without detrimental edge effects or proliferation of invasive plant species. New Jersey Audubon collaborated with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to create a draft revision to the forest stewardship plan. The plan outlines a number of forest management techniques - such as modified seed tree harvest, shelterwood, and single tree selection with variable retention - that will benefit a…
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NC: Land Acquisitions and Monitoring in the Tar Heel State

Golden-winged Warbler surveys were conducted at timber units in Graham County, NC. Photo: Melissa McGaw.

Golden-winged Warblers – The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been monitoring for Golden-winged warblers in timber harvest units on the Nantahala National Forest. Warblers were present at eight of eighteen timber harvest unit points. The objective of this monitoring effort is to determine the number of years post-harvest that these timber units are used. The data inform design of future golden- winged warbler management projects, in particular project designs that incorporate a shifting mosaic of ephemeral open habitats. While such information exists for other parts of the country, it is lacking for the silviculture prescription used and site conditions…
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OH: Partnering for Research and Conservation in Appalachian Foothills

Red-eye Vireo nest spotted during surveys in Ohio. Photo: Kaley Donovan

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife is a partner in several projects that are working to improve conservation of forest bird species in the Appalachian foothills. In collaboration with Dr. Steve Matthews at the Ohio State University, two graduate students are working on a long-term survey and modelling project of forest birds in Southeast Ohio. Kaley Donovan, a MS student, is working to create Habitat Suitability Index models for species of concern that include Prairie Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Wood Thrush, and Kentucky Warbler. Bryce Adams, a PhD student, is working to model the effects of landscape-level…
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OH: Video Series Documents Benefits to Bird Community Following Management

Photo from video shoot for series on habitat management. Photo: Laura Kearns.

The Ohio Division of Natural Resources has partnered with the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative (OBCI) and AMJV in developing a video series focused on private landowners who have managed their forests to improve avian habitat. The goal is to document the positive changes to bird communities following management activities. Production of the video series developed as a follow-up to the 2014 land manager workshops held in southeast Ohio on improving forest management for birds. The series will include topics on creating young forest habitat, thinning and crop tree release, managing invasives, working with foresters and partner biologists, and more. The…
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PA: Forestry for the Birds Workshop

Workshop attendees participate in a field visit at Forest County, PA. Photo: Sarah Sargent.

Audubon Pennsylvania held a one-day “Forestry for the Birds” workshop for 29 foresters on April 3rd, 2015. The workshop covered information on forest songbirds and their specific needs regarding forest structure and composition. The morning included presentations from researchers including Dr. Scott Stoleson and Dr. Ron Mumme. The afternoon included visiting a field site managed by Hancock Forest Management Group in Forest County, PA.
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PA: Studying Boreal Mountain Forest Birds

Measuring a large Red Spruce. Photo: Doug Gross.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has studied the rare forest mountain birds of the state for several years, especially since the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Blackpoll Warbler were recognized as state endangered species. Both of these boreal forest songbirds persist in spruce and hemlock forests of the northeast counties, especially in headwater conifer swamps. In 2015, the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher population hit a modern low with only two active territories located. One of these was in Coalbed Swamp and the other in Tamarack Swamp in State Game Lands 57, western Wyoming County. The 2015 survey found at least 21 active territories of…
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Golden-winged Warbler Monitoring in Pennsylvania

Standard surveys this year in the state continue to show a decline in population size of the Golden-winged Warbler (GWWA) and a retraction in range into smaller and more isolated pockets. But all is not bleak, some positive news remains. Searches for breeding GWWA found more populations where there are opportunities for management in and near public lands. The response by GWWA to silviculture treatments are in the early stages, but also look positive.

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Game Commission conducted 170 point counts in 34 quadrants of the matrix of the Conservation Initiative Monitoring Program led…
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