DEEP: Migratory Bird Stopover Habitat Project

Migratory Bird Stopover Habitat Project
Adapted from an article that appeared in the July/August 2002 issue of  Connecticut Wildlife.

{Blackpoll warbler}
Blackpoll warblers were one of the species observed during this year's spring surveys.

The spring of 2002 marked the beginning of the Wildlife Division’s three-year Migratory Bird Stopover Habitat Project. Little information exists on critical stopover habitats used by migrating birds. Loss of these critical habitats can result in greater distances between “refueling” stops for migrating birds, which can significantly increase their mortality. Identification of such areas throughout the country is an important priority of Partners In Flight. This project parallels the previous Silvio O. Conte Stopover Habitat Surveys that were performed along the upper Connecticut River, but will highlight additional areas along the Housatonic, Naugatuck, Thames, and mid- to lower Connecticut Rivers. The Wildlife Division will use these surveys to help identify Connecticut’s priority sites and help guide conservation efforts at state and local levels.

A few highlights from this year’s spring surveys included such species as spotted sandpipers and warbling vireos, as well as worm-eating, blackburnian, hooded, bay-breasted, cerulean, blackpoll and yellow-throated warblers. The exciting sightings weren’t just of the migratory bird variety though. A couple of reports from volunteers included displaying turkeys, a newborn fawn stumbling away into the forest cover and a coyote finishing up a night of scavenging.

Although the surveys have been a success thus far, many more volunteers are needed to conduct future surveys. Future plans for the project include a fall warbler identification workshop for volunteers as well as an annual banquet with a presentation of the year’s findings. This is an excellent opportunity for birders to take an active role in conservation research.

The fall survey component will begin at the end of August and run through September. On each of the five scheduled days, volunteers are asked to make one visit to each of 10 points and conduct a 10-minute survey at each point. The surveys require participants who are familiar with bird identification by sight and sound. Once you are assigned to an area, surveys can be conducted by an individual or a small team. You may also choose to split up the surveys of one area between individual surveyors. Those that only have time to do a couple of surveys are also encouraged to take part and fill in for volunteers with other commitments.

More information on this and other volunteer opportunities.

{logo} This project made possible by a grant from the
Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program.