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Evaluating GWWA Use of Breeding Habitat in Southern and Central Appalachian

Field technicians in North Carolina that collected data for the regional CEAP project; photo by Curtis Smalling.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Research Institute (IUP-RI) and its partners successfully completed the second year of monitoring Golden-winged Warbler demographics across sites in the Southern and Central Appalachian states. Researchers from IUP-RI, West Virginia University, University of Tennessee, Appalachian State University, and North Carolina Audubon are monitoring and evaluating Golden-winged Warbler response to habitat management implemented using the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Working Lands For Wildlife (WLFW): Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Initiative.

To date, monitoring took place at 68 sites across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  Researchers examined territory density, nest success, and habitat selected by Golden-winged Warblers at study areas and placed into four NRCS conservation practice groupings: brush management, prescribed fire, prescribed grazing with brush management, and timber harvest. During the first two years of this effort, we conducted 528 point count surveys, banded 419 individual Golden-winged Warblers, delineated 444 territories, and monitored nesting success of 207 Golden-winged, Blue-winged (Vermivora cyanoptera), and hybrid Warbler nests.  Work will continue in future years and WLFW-wide monitoring efforts will begin in 2015.  Ultimately, use of data will evaluate and modify guidelines to ensure that NRCS-WLFW program results in high quality Golden-winged Warbler breeding habitat on private lands.