|Changing wildfires in the California's Sierra Nevada may threaten Northern Goshawks (December 2019)|
Wildfire is a natural process in the forests of the western US, and many species have evolved to tolerate, if not benefit from it. But wildfire is changing. Research in the journal Biological Conservation suggests fire, as it becomes more frequent and severe, poses a substantial risk to goshawks in the Sierra Nevada region. An important IBP study was showcased by several news outlets.
|Eleven-year-old Kentucky Warbler Likely Oldest Ever Recorded (August 2019)|
Biologists at the Wehle Land Conservation Center in Midway, Alabama, have recaptured a male Kentucky Warbler that they originally captured and banded in the summer of 2010. When the bird was first captured nine years ago, biologists determined that it was at least two years old, so its survival through the summer of 2019 makes it at least 11 years old. The bird was banded as part of the IBP-administered MAPS program, a continent-wide collaborative bird monitoring program. The story was picked up by several news sources.
|Mega-fires May Be Too Extreme Even for a Bird That Loves Fire (August 2019)|
Fire is a natural part of western forests, but the changing nature of fire in many parts of North America may pose challenges for birds. One bird in particular, the Black-backed Woodpecker, specializes in using recently-burned forests in western North America, but like humans looking for a new family home, is picky about exactly where it settles. New research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, suggests that they actually prefer to nest near the edges of burned patches – and these edges are getting harder to find as wildfires have become bigger and more severe. The story was picked up by several high-profile national news sources.
|The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation Takes Over a Long-running MAPS Station (August 2019)|
The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation has been running a MAPS station since 1991, making it one of the longest-running stations in the MoSI program. Recently, the Jackson Hole News & Guide profiled the station its operators, and provided a little information about IBP and MAPS.
Jackson Hole News & Guide
|High School Students Learn About Conservation Through Bird Banding (June 2019)|
Andrew Kinslow, An honors high school biology teacher in Columbia, MO teaches his students about the importance of conservation and citizen science through participation in the MAPS program. His Field Ecology course is open to high school juniors from around the region.
Columbia Daily Tribune
|UC Berkeley Peregrine Nest Wows the Public via Its Webcam (June 2019)|
A live webcam of a Peregrine Falcon nest at the University of California Berkeley – and it’s simulcast on a 30-foot wide screen on campus - became the focus of considerable attention in the spring of 2019 as the falcons successfully raised two chicks: Cade, named after Peregrine Fund founder Tom Cade; and Carson, named after Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring (the names were chosen as part of a campus community naming contest). IBP Biologist Lynn Schofield and her husband, biologist Sean Peterson, were instrumental in monitoring the nest and keeping the public informed about it.
CBS Affiliate KPIX
NBC Bay Area News
San Jose Mercury News
|Indiana Farmer and Teacher Is Also a Citizen Scientist (June 2019)|
Several local papers in the Upper Midwest, including the Alton, Illinois Telegraph and the Vincennes, Indiana Sun-Commercial recently ran a story about local farmer and teacher Eve Cusack, who operates a MAPS monitoring station on a farm near their home. With her husband Sam and a group of volunteers, the Cusacks have been running the station since 2016, welcoming and mentoring volunteers, and teaching visitors about the importance of the scientific study of birds.
|New IBP Study Reveals Bird Populations at Two National Parks Are Thriving (April 2019)|
A new IBP study published in Northwestern Naturalist and featured in two Oregon Newspapers shows that populations of most bird species remained stable or even increased during the past decade at several relatively small national parks in the Pacific Northwest. This new result follows previous research by IBP, the National Park Service, and the US Geological Survey which showed that bird populations were stable over the past decade in three large wilderness parks – Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic. The analysis suggests that both large wilderness parks and smaller parks and protected areas provide important habitats for the birds that breed there.
The Daily Astorian
The Columbia Press
|The Importance of Pyrodiversity (January 2019)|
After IBP’s research on Black-backed Woodpeckers was published in The Journal of Applied Ecology, the story was picked up by several news sources. The work explores age-related variation in habitat selection by Black-backed Woodpeckers. The authors found that, even as adult Black-backed Woodpeckers do most of their foraging in forest stands burned at mixed- or high-severity, their fledglings largely take cover in nearby forest burned at low-severity or not burned at all, where they are likely to avoid predators while still being weak flyers. This apparent need for a juxtaposition of burned and live forest to provide habitat throughout the full life-cycle of the species has important implications for post-fire forest management.
Science X Research and Technology News Service
|How Did a Megafire Affect Great Gray Owls in California? (January 2019)|
The 2013 Rim Fire burned 250,000 acres in Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest, making it the largest recorded fire in California’s Sierra Nevada. How did the fire impact Great Gray Owl, a state-endangered species? To find out, IBP scientists and others surveyed known nesting sites inside and outside the fire perimeter. Somewhat surprisingly, Great Gray Owls were detected at 21 of 22 meadows surveyed within the fire perimeter that were occupied during the decade prior to the fire. These results indicate that Great Gray Owls appear to have been largely resilient to effects of the Rim Fire during the years right after the burn.
EurekAlert, Website of The American Assn. for the Advancement of Science
The Wildlife Society Blog
|Tracking Songbird Trends at Mammoth Cave National Park (June 2018)|
IBP is grateful to its many MAPS and MoSI station collaborators. Recently, the station at Mammoth Cave National Park, which has been operating since 2004, was highlighted by the Glasgow (Kentucky) Times. In addition to their work conducting regular mist netting, the workers at the Mammoth Cave site are taking blood samples from Kentucky Warbler to assist with migratory connectivity work as part of the Bird Genoscape Project, the collaboration between The UCLA Center for Tropical Research, IBP, and many others.
|Discovering New Areas Where Birds Molt (May 2018)|
Molt is an energetically-taxing phase of life for birds. Months of wear cause their feathers to deteriorate, so most birds refresh their plumage at least once a year, often between breeding and fall migration. For a long time, it was assumed that most North American landbirds molt close to where they nest, but as shown in a new paper by IBP, which was featured in Audubon Magazine online, more birds rely on special molting locations than was previously realized. The study used 17 years of records from IBP’s MAPS Program, including data from more than 760,000 capture records of 140 species of landbirds collected at 936 MAPS stations.
|IBP and UCLA Team Up to Map Migration (June 2017)|
For several years, IBP and UCLA have been collaborating on an innovative project to map the migratory pathways of many of North America's landbirds, and to map the migration routes between breeding and wintering sites. The initiative, called The Bird Genoscape Project, is led by UCLA scientists Drs. Tom Smith and Kristen Ruegg. IBP assists the effort by using our MAPS and MoSI networks to collect feathers for genetic analyis. Several news outlets have recently had stories about this project.
Jasper (Canada) Fitzhugh
|Pyrodiversity Promotes Biodiversity (October 2016)|
How does biodiversity respond to forest fire? The Los Angeles Times and several other news outlets ran stories on a recent paper by IBP Research Associate Morgan Tingley and several IBP scientists and colleagues on this topic. Theory predicts that the high diversity of habitats and successional states created by some fires – termed pyrodiversity – should increase the number of species living in an area. In a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the scientists describe how, by visiting nearly 100 fire sites in California’s mountains over the 10 years after they burned, they found that pyrodiversity does increase bird diversity, but only gradually over time. A synopsis of this and other fire-diversity related research was also recently published in Science Magazine.
Los Angeles Times
|Understanding the Mysterious Great Gray Owl (September 2016)|
For its cover story, Audubon Magazine featured recent research on the relatively unknown Great Gray Owl, including work conducted by IBP and colleagues in the Sierra Nevada that catalogued the known nesting records in California since 1973. The study found a surprising 21 percent of the nests in hotter, lower habitats than previously documented - land that is being rapidly developed in the state.
|Delays in Species Listing Could Harm Biodiversity (August 2016)|
The Huffington Post and several other sources recently profiled a study by authors including IBP Research Associate Dylan Kesler which documented very long waits for some species before receiving Endangered Species Act determinations. The study also noted that vertebrates like mammals and birds are processed about twice as fast as invertebrates and plants. (IBP was not directly involved in this work).
The Huffington Post
Phys.org News Service
|Memories of the Farallons (August 2016)|
The National Public Radio Program The Kitchen Sisters aired a story which featured IBP Biologist Peter Pyle about the Gold Rush era "egg wars" on the Farallon Islands, a group of rocky outcrops 30 miles west of San Francisco that, in the 19th century, harbored the largest seabird rookery in the contiguous U.S. To feed protein-hungry miners during the Gold Rush, collectors would gather the eggs of Common Murres and other species, nearly extirpating the birds from the islands. Peter, who worked on the Farallons for 20 years, also shared some of his memories with the news website Pacific Standard.
NPR The Kitchen Sisters
|The MAPS Program in North Carolina (July 2016)|
The Smokey Mountain News profiled Mark Hopey, Director of Southern Appalachian Raptor Research, who operates a MAPS station in western North Carolina. Hopey got interested in MAPS as a way to help build a detailed picture of migratory bird populations in the state, understand the way birds interact with their habitats, and examine the challenges to their successful conservation.
Smoky Mountain News
|Micronesian Kingfisher Restoration (May 2016)|
IBP Research Associate Dylan Kesler’s work helping restore the Micronesian Kingfisher to the wild was showcased by the website ScienceLine. The last wild Guam Micronesian Kingfishers were removed from their remote Pacific island home more than 30 years ago, when they were airlifted to American zoos after invasive brown tree snakes drove them to the brink of extinction. But there are now plans to release this colorful bird onto islands without snakes. (IBP was not directly involved in this work).
|Bryan’s Shearwater, the First New US Bird Species in Decades (April 2016)|
The science website Seeker recently profiled IBP Scientist Peter Pyle’s work in determining that Bryan’s shearwater, a Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Ocean seabird and the smallest shearwater in the world, is indeed a distinct species. This important study was previously noted in Wired and Smithsonian.
|West Nile Virus and Birds (February 2016)|
IBP’s ground-breaking work in helping understand the effects of West Nile virus on birds was widely publicized. Data from MAPS banding stations and other sources shows more species were hit than initially suspected, and half of those have yet to recover.
|Bird Alpha Codes (February 2016)|
In February, Lifepress had a story about the development of 4-letter bird species codes, used as shorthand by bird banders and researchers, including IBP’s participation in the effort to standardize the format.
|Linking Breeding and Wintering Areas through Genetics (September 2015)|
Think Progress, KPCC Radio, and several other outlets have showcased the collaboration between IBP and UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research on innovative, cutting edge ways to delineate bird populations and link breeding, wintering, and migratory stopover areas.
|Warbler Conservation and the MAPS Program (June 2015)|
The MAPS Program was featured in a story about warbler conservation on Martha's Vineyard published in the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette. Nine of the ten warbler species that nest on the island are declining, and the MAPS program is helping study why.
Martha's Vineyard Gazette
|Burrowing Owl Conservation (June 2015)|
A story on the Sacramento Bee website details California some state efforts at Burrowing Owl conservation, including IBP’s extensive surveys of this species. Burrowing Owl populations have declined steeply, and twelve California counties that historically hosted Burrowing Owls now have none.
|Yosemite Wildlife Threatened by Shrinking Snowpacks, Drought, and Wildfires (August 2014)|
IBP’s research and partnership with Yosemite National Park was profiled by Al Jazeera America. Since 1990, the National Park Service and IBP have collaborated on studies examining the potential impacts of climate change, the distribution of several rare or endangered species, and many other projects.
Al Jazeera America