Biodiversity Research Institute
Biodiversity Research Institute
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Songbird Program
Songbird Program
SOME SPECIES OF SONGBIRDS BRI STUDIES
Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Western Tanager
Western Tanager
Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Northern Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Migratory songbird species have shown some of the largest declines across the animal kingdom. Reasons for these declines are difficult to pinpoint. Complexities of their annual cycle—particularly those related to migration and the use of multiple habitats across continents—make it difficult to determine where a population could be experiencing problems such as habitat loss or shortage of food supplies. Basic information about migratory processes and patterns, combined with songbird natural history is critical to our understanding of how environmental changes impact these species.

Why Study Songbirds

Environmental stressors such as pollution, habitat destruction, wind energy development, and climate change are key issues for songbirds and a primary focus for this program. Data are collected with the goal of informing conservation and management decisions about songbird and migratory bird populations.
BRI is working in various places across New England, the United States, and south into Central and South America to better understand the ecology, movements, and contaminant effects of a variety of songbird species, with an emphasis on neotropical migrants.
Jackson Fork Ranch Studies

Jackson Fork Ranch Studies

Jackson Fork Ranch, located in Bondurant, Wyoming, offers a unique opportunity for BRI researchers to study local fauna. This work provides an integrated wildlife research and conservation plan for the Jackson Fork Ranch, which includes habitat enhancement to improve the use of key wildlife species and subsequent viewing opportunities for visitors.  

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River Point Wildlife Monitoring

River Point Wildlife Monitoring

In 2011, BRI began monitoring efforts at the River Point Conservation Area in Falmouth, Maine, with an emphasis on tracking bird populations. Migration monitoring occurs in both spring and fall. In the summer, research efforts focus on the Veery and Tree Swallow.

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Contaminants Monitoring

Contaminants Monitoring

Ever since the discovery by BRI biologists of the threats that mercury can have on songbird populations, we have stressed the need to better understand the exposure of mercury in songbirds across North America south into Central America. Efforts to determine the effects of mercury on songbird reproductive success have emphasized the Carolina Wren, which resulted in an important publication on the topic. More investigations are planned in Latin America to better understand the impacts of mercury on neotropical migrants and tropical resident birds.

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Movement Studies

Movement Studies

The changing technology of transmitter devices for following wildlife has resulted in new abilities to track smaller birds, like songbirds. BRI is conducting movement studies using geolocator devices in both Maine and Massachusetts. More work is planned in the future.

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International Presentations

INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATIONS

BRI researchers will present at the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation annual conference, October 2014 in Honduras.
 
Photo Credits: Header photo © Karen Perry Images. Portraits: Bluebird © Karen Perry Images; Western Tanager, Mountain Chickadee, and Northern Watherthrush © Ken Archer; Carolina Wren © iStock; Ruddy Woodcreeper © BRI-David Buck.
Biodiversity Research Institute