Saturday, September 11, 2021

Time to watch for, and count raptors

 The next 3 months are the time to watch the skies for migrating raptors. Depending on where you live, there's probably a good raptor watch location not far away.

There are a number of well-known locations in Wisconsin where raptors have been known to concentrate during migration, with long-term data still being collected at most of them. See the map reproduced here at left, for approximate locations in eastern, western, and northern Wisconsin.

September and October are peak months for Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Broad-winged Hawks. Bald Eagles, American Kestrels, and Turkey Vultures are also fairly numerous, with Peregrine Falcons, Northern Goshawks less so. On the Lake Michigan shoreline sites, the best days are those with west and northwest winds.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Shorebird Information, Part 3

More recent news on shorebirds and their populations
Manomet (the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences) conducts research and monitoring of shorebirds at multiple locations. Read about their work at: Whimbrel Research and Conservation: The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

more on the status of shorebird populations

Learn about the current status of shorebird populations, at: "Their numbers are dropping quickly. Shorebirds are among a few groups of birds showing the most dramatic declines." Read about the Arctic Shorebird Population Model: Learn more at the SHOREBIRD Conservation Society: Also, see the Coalitions for Shorebird Conservation:

Friday, May 7, 2021

Shorebirds 2021

                                       Godwits & Wllets - Ph. by Ingrid Taylar

 World Shorebird Day is September 6th this year. It is important to participate in this global event. Learn more at

"The Global Shorebird Counts, held every year around World Shorebirds Day (6 September), is one of the key events of World Shorebirds Day. This program demonstrates the importance of fieldwork, supports observers in improving counting skills, contributes to the increase of the number of birdwatchers and scientists monitoring shorebirds worldwide and pledges new citizen scientists to the world’s largest bird database program."


Learn about the international work of Waderquest,in a recent newsletter, at:

 Recent articles on the global declines of shorebirds are linked here:

Lastly, here is shorebird news from BirdLife International:


Saturday, January 30, 2021

NEW GRASSLAND BIRD RESEARCH: Linking Migratory Songbird Declines With Increasing Precipitation and Brood Parasitism Vulnerability



Not Singing in the Rain: Linking Migratory Songbird Declines With Increasing Precipitation and Brood Parasitism Vulnerability


  • 1International Bird Conservation Partnership, Monterey, CA, United States
  • 2Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3Crane Trust, Wood River, NE, United States
  • 4Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, United States
  • 5U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, SD, United States
  • 6Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States


 Few empirical studies have quantified relationships between changing weather and migratory songbirds, but such studies are vital in a time of rapid climate change. Climate change has critical consequences for avian breeding ecology, geographic ranges, and migration phenology. Changing precipitation and temperature patterns affect habitat, food resources, and other aspects of birds’ life history strategies. Such changes may disproportionately affect species confined to rare or declining ecosystems, such as temperate grasslands, which are among the most altered and endangered ecosystems globally. We examined the influence of changing weather on the dickcissel (Spiza americana), a migratory songbird of conservation concern that is an obligate grassland specialist. Our study area in the North American Great Plains features high historic weather variability, where climate change is now driving higher precipitation and temperatures as well as higher frequencies of extreme weather events including flooding and droughts. Dickcissels share their breeding grounds with brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), brood parasites that lay their eggs in the nests of other songbirds, reducing dickcissel productivity. We used 9 years of capture-recapture data collected over an 18-year period to test the hypothesis that increasing precipitation on dickcissels’ riparian breeding grounds is associated with abundance declines and increasing vulnerability to cowbird parasitism. Dickcissels declined with increasing June precipitation, whereas cowbirds, by contrast, increased. Dickcissel productivity appeared to be extremely low, with a 3:1 ratio of breeding male to female dickcissels likely undermining reproductive success. Our findings suggest that increasing precipitation predicted by climate change models in this region may drive future declines of dickcissels and other songbirds. Drivers of these declines may include habitat and food resource loss related to flooding and higher frequency precipitation events as well as increased parasitism pressure by cowbirds. Positive correlations of June-July precipitation, temperature, and time since grazing with dickcissel productivity did not mitigate dickcissels’ declining trend in this ecosystem. These findings highlight the importance of empirical research on the effects of increasing precipitation and brood parasitism vulnerability on migratory songbird conservation to inform adaptive management under climate change.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Habitat ecology of Nearctic–Neotropical migratory landbirds on the nonbreeding grounds


Habitat ecology of Nearctic–Neotropical migratory landbirds on the nonbreeding grounds

The Condor, Volume 122, Issue 4, 2 November 2020

 The abstract reads (in part):

" Of the approximately 716 bird species that breed in North America, 386 (54%) are considered Nearctic–Neotropical migrants by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the past 50 yr, scores of these migratory species, including some once considered common, have declined dramatically. Nearctic–Neotropical migrants normally spend 6–8 months in tropical habitats, making the identification, availability, and management of Neotropical habitats critical issues for their conservation. Yet, for most species, complete and nuanced information about their use of tropical habitats and the relative effects of breeding vs. wintering conditions on survival, productivity, and population trends is not available, though many studies point to Neotropical overwintering habitats as being a strong driver of population change. Particularly important for long-distance Nearctic–Neotropical migrants is an understanding of how “carry-over effects” arise and influence population trends when conditions on wintering grounds and tropical stopover areas affect subsequent reproductive performance on breeding grounds."

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Illegal trade in wild birds - an international scourge

Although it may surprise some people, and in fact we should have seen its end long before now, the illegal international trade in wild birds continues. Learn more about it, and what you can do to help it cease:

Hyacinth Macaw, by Donna Sullivan Thomson