Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Chimney Swifts: get ready for their return!

In Wisconsin, we have an excellent group focused on conservation of the Chimney Swift: the WI Chimney Swift Working Group: https://www.wiswifts.org/

Please check out their website to learn more about swifts, their ecology, how to become more involved, and how to participate in "Swift Nights Out" this year. All of those activities are important for protection of this species.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bank Swallow news

Bank Swallow, Ph. by Manoj Karingamadathil  - Wikim. Commons

Of all of the aerial insectivores in our broad geographic area, Bank Swallow is the one that is being lost the most rapidly.

Learn more:
Partners in Flight species assessment

Canada species assessment

Manitoba Species At Risk

Reproductive success and health of breeding Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia) in aggregate (sand and gravel) pit and natural lakeshore habitats


North American Bank Swallow numbers declined by 94% from 1966 to 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

parallel declines in abundance of insects and insectivorous birds

Parallel declines in abundance of insects and insectivorous birds in Denmark over 22 years

Anders Pape Møller

See the paper at this link:


 Dr. Anders Pape Moller completed a 21-year study that demonstrates how declining insect abundance may be linked to declines in numbers of insectivorous birds. Published last spring in the journal Ecology and Evolution...

 "This 21‐year study of insect abundance showed a tenfold decline. The decline in insect abundance reported here could partly be attributed to changes in climate. Such declines in insect abundance may have consequences for reproductive success in insectivorous birds such as hirundines (swallows), but also have consequences for population size as documented in the present study. Long‐term population declines in abundance of insects must have important consequences for insectivores, interspecific interactions, and ecosystem functioning."

Monday, January 6, 2020

using eBird; ways to improve your checklists

If you've been using eBird, good for you. If you haven't tried it, you really might want to start.

Here are a few reasons:

It's easy. It's fun.

It makes your data useful to science in a broad array of ways  - consider the recently-completed 5 years of field-work on the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, which gathered data from

125,641 checklists, submitted by 2,147 participants

Here's a great set of ways to improve your checklists:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

learn about and join the Midwest Migration Network

About the Midwest Migration Network

The Midwest Migration Network (MMN) facilitates regionally-coordinated migration monitoring and research to address information gaps in the Midwest. Although focused primarily on landbirds, the Network welcomes anyone interested in advancing the study of the migratory ecology of birds and other animals in the Midwest. For the purposes of our Network, the Midwest region includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Region 3).
Interested in joining the MMN? Learn more about membership.

Our Projects


The Midwest Migration Network focuses on three research initiatives: Banding & Ground Surveys, Radar Ornithology, and Telemetry. The goal of each initiative is to coordinate a regional understanding of migration through a shared research methodology designed to promote conservation of the Network's partner-generated Focal Species by answering its priority Research Questions.

Learn more at our website:  https://midwestmigrationnetwork.org/

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Red-headed Woodpecker population status update

Red-headed Woodpecker has continued to decline in some areas of its geographic range.

This is the trend graph for WI from the Breeding Bird Survey:

Other info pertaining to WI, from eBird Status & Trends:

Records from WBBA II (the 2nd WI Atlas), may indicate some improvement, as also is the case in several other areas of this species' geographic range. Some areas of the United States show declines, but there does seem to be a slight resurgence; there may be a link (as there seemed to be in the 1970s) to the effects of much-increased "standing dead biomass" resulting from Emerald Ash Borer. Red-headed Woodpeckers only excavate in dead or dying trees, unlike some other woodpecker species.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

new and/or recent research on aerial insectivore ecology

There is much concern about the status of many aerial insectivore bird species.  

Here are several recent papers/reports on aerial insectivore (and related) research:

Stable Isotopes from Museum Specimens May Provide Evidence of Long-Term Change in the Trophic Ecology of a Migratory Aerial Insectivore


 A Warmer Midwest Could Lead to a Common Bird Being Less Common Over the Next Century


 The grand challenges of migration ecology that radar aeroecology can help answer


 Climate Change and Insectivore Ecology