Migratory Bird Program

Songbirds face myriad challenges to continued existence in the world today, 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 yearly cycle—particularly those related to migration and the using of many habitats across continents—make to difficult to know where a population could be experiencing problems like not enough habitat or low food supplies. Basic information about migratory patterns, how migration works, and the natural history needs to be gathered so that we can understand how environmental change impact these species. Man-made changes to the environment like contaminant release, habitat destruction, wind energy development and climate change are key issues for songbirds and a primary focus for the program. Data are collected with the goal of informing conservation and management decisions about songbird and migratory bird populations.

“Migration is a fascinating phenomenon—songbirds travel thousands of miles with no food or rest, and I want to understand how they do it.”
— Evan Adams, Program Director

Program Director

Evan Adams, Ph.D. candidate
207.839.7600 ext. 204

Mercury in Forest Songbirds Project Leader: Allyson Jackson
Contributing Staff: Robert Lambert

Program Goals

Focus 1:  Further habitat conservation and basic knowledge of songbirds

  1. River Point Banding Station: A unique haven for migratory birds in southern Maine
  2. Flyway Mercury Risk Assessment: Assessing mercury risk to migrants on a continental scale

Focus 2: Examine contaminant exposure of Neotropical migrant songbirds throughout the annual cycle

  1. Florida Migration Study: Tracking mercury loads in migrating songbirds
  2. Northern Waterthrush Wintering Study: Determining origins of mercury exposure in tropical habitats
  3. TERRA network: Connect mercury exposure in songbirds to a wide variety of habitats

Focus 3:  Characterize anthropogenic threats encountered by migrating songbirds

  1. Great Lakes Migration Monitoring: Documenting bird and bat migration around the Great Lakes to as risk to migrants from wind power development
  2. Tracking Wildlife Offshore: Modeling abundance of marine wildlife to promote informed offshore wind power decision-making

Resplendent Quetzal Research and Monitoring Project
Project Manager: Jennifer Goyette

Mercury in Forest Songbirds Project

  1. Hidden Risk: Mercury in Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Northeast
  2. Riverine Mercury Footprint Study
  3. Carolina Wren Nest Success Mercury Study
  4. Trask Watershed Mercury Study

Education & Outreach

  1. River Point site visits