Habitat Use and Movement Ecology of Three At-risk Forest Birds

Grants and Contracts Details


TITLE: Habitat Use and Movement Ecology of Three At-risk Forest Birds ABSTRACT: Forest management is an important tool in the conservation of eastern forest bird populations. While grounded in strong science, the ‘dynamic forest”’ approach to bird conservation remains a hypothesis and there are many key unknowns as to how forest landscapes managed with a multitude of silvicultural methods benefit avian communities and populations. Clearly, conservation of migratory forest birds that breed in eastern North America presents a number of challenges – both from the breeding and nonbreeding perspectives. Until recently, these time periods have had to be studied separately – with breeding-centric studies, nonbreeding centric studies, and migration studies. However, the recent development of miniature tracking technologies (e.g., geolocators, nanotags, etc.) allows for a more comprehensive examination of eastern forest bird lifecycles. In addition to identifying migratory routes and non-breeding sites for a particular species, miniature tracking devices that can be used with small migratory songbirds allow us to examine the extent to which carry-over effects may be present within populations of interest. Below, we propose a study to quantify both breeding season- and non- breeding season habitat use and movement ecology for three forest bird species of conservation interest in Pennsylvania. Over the past several years, there have been enormous advancements in avian tracking technologies through the development of new, miniature tags (e.g., archival GPS tags, nanotags, etc.) to growth in the MOTUS tracking network. Simultaneously, there has been increased management efforts on several of Pennsylvania State Game Lands and other public lands wherein several avian SGCN occur. Recent work with Golden-winged Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, and Eastern Whip-poor-wills provide proof-of-concept for the proposed work using a variety of tracking device types. We propose to study the space use and movement ecology of three at-risk forest birds in Pennsylvania: Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Whip-poor-will, and Cerulean Warbler within forest landscapes that include stands characterized by a continuum of structural heterogeneity. Specifically, we propose to complete a comprehensive study that will assess movement ecology and space use of the three target species during their entire annual cycles (breeding season, spring/fall migration, and wintering season).
Effective start/end date4/1/236/30/26


  • Pennsylvania Game Commission: $270,000.00


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