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Youngflesh Photo
Animals Are Shape-Shifting in Response to a Warming World
A warming climate is producing changes to size and behavior of many wildlife species. Recently, the highly regarded magazine The Scientist summarized work carried out by several researchers, including C Casey Youngflesh who used the MAPS database to look at bird morphology over the past several decades in North America. Examining 105 species’ ranges, he and his colleagues scoured bird banding data compiled by IBP and our many MAPS cooperators and found significant body mass reductions in 80 species over three decades. The analysis included more than 250,000 birds and found that the mean decline in mass across all species was about 0.6 percent, with some species declining by much more.
Glacier Photo
The MAPS Program in Glacier National Park
The Daily Inter Lake, out of Kalispell Montana, recently featured a story about the MAPS station at Glacier National Park. Each summer since 2020, park biologist Lisa Bate and her colleagues have set up the nets and data-collection station every 10 days to learn more about Glacier’s bird population. “We do this so we can study the causes of bird population changes in North America,” she explained. “We are really looking to get at what are the causes for population decline or increases and whether problems are more serious in winter or breeding grounds. We want to see the trends in different areas and what are the relationships between population changes and changes in weather, climate and habitat loss.”
MAPSMass Photo
IBP and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Team Up to Monitor Birds in New England (August 2022)
The MAPS program and our cooperators at the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge in Hadley, Massachusetts were recently featured in a story was recently featured in a story in the Hampshire Gazette. Biologists Caleb Spiegel, Randy Detmers, and others have been operating the station for 7 years. He noted that having nationwide data archived in a single place (i.e., with IBP), allows conservation professionals to "look at wider trends as well and see if a species is doing well or if there are not as many. With a really large set of data you’re not just looking at the life history, but the status of a species."
ParkScience Photo
Bridging Boundaries to Protect Migratory Birds (July 2022)
IBP has long understood the need to study and protect birds through their full annual cycle. That's why much of our conservation effort is aimed at establishing partners south of the U.S. border, where more than half of all U.S. breeding birds spend more than half the year. Recently some of IBP's efforts, along with those of our collaborators in the National Park Service (NPS) were featured in Park Science, the flagship science magazine of the NPS.
BGP Photo
IBP's Partnership with the Bird Genoscape Project Highlighted by Audubon (April 2022)
IBP's long-running and productive partnership with the Bird Genoscape Project, which strives to illuminate the migratory connections between specific populations of birds, was recently featured in an article by the National Audubon Society. The article specifically noted the contributions made by the many MAPS and MoSI cooperators who have collected feathers for this effort.
Audubon-Banding Photo
MAPS Program featured in Audubon Magazine (April 2022)
IBP's MAPS program was prominently featured in a recent article from Audubon Magazine about bird banding, and opportinities for the public to view birds up close.
PIKA Photo
IBP Scientist Highlighted in National Geographic (September 2021)
Recently, IBP Scientist Chris Ray was highlighted in a National Geographic story about the Pika Project, a partnership between the Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild, a Denver-based nonprofit. The project’s mission is to document and collect key information about pikas and their habitat, and to use that information to better understand how climate change could be threatening the survival of certain pika populations.
MAPS Photo
Canadian Banders Promote Conservation Through Banding (August 2021)
MAPS Program Coordinator Danielle Kaschube was recently featured in an article about an Alberta area couple, Martine Dumont (pictured) and Normand Legault, who are striving to build a bird banding station at a nature reserve near Edmonton. In an article in Saint Albert Gazette, Legault said that he and Dumont were longtime birdwatchers who got into bird-banding a few years ago after contacting Danielle and learning about the MAPS program. “We humans need nature to survive,” Legault said, and birds were important indicators of nature’s health.
BBWO Photo
IBP's Work with Black-backed Woodpeckers Draws Attention (November 2020)
The black-backed woodpecker relies on burned forests for its survival, nesting in cavities of dead and dying trees, and eating beetle grubs that proliferate in fire-killed trees. But not all fires are equal. Recently the North Bay Bohemian featured an article about IBP’s work documenting how the species responds to different types of fires, and how a diversity of fire types and intensities – pyrodiversity – affects Black-backed Woodpecker ecology.
Fire Photo
Dying Birds and Forest Fires: Scientists Work to Unravel a Mystery (October 2020)
IBP Executive Director Rodney Siegel was quoted in a recent story in The Guardian newspaper that explored the causes of recent massive die-offs of birds. “These enormous smoke plumes are harder to escape than those from smaller fires that have been more typical for the last century,” Siegel said. “This is a really unusual phenomenon without a lot of precedent – and it is unknown how that might affect birds.”
CLNU Photo
Whitebark Pine Declines May Unravel the Tree's Mutualism with Clark's Nutcracker (October 2020)
The relationship between the whitebark pine, an iconic tree of western mountaintops, and the Clark's Nutcracker is often cited as an example of mutualism, a relationship between species where both benefit. The pine provides nutritious seeds which the nutcracker eats or buries for later use, some of the latter of which germinate to become the next generation of pines. But while the pine depends heavily on nutcrackers for seed dispersal and germination, the nutcracker merely prefers the whitebark pine's seeds. If whitebark pine seeds aren't available or abundant, the highly mobile nutcracker will find another food source. But a study by IBP and others suggests that the pine-nutcracker mutualism may be threatened by local declines in the tree's population.
KNC Photo
Bird Banding at Kalamazoo Nature Center Helps Track Migration Patterns (October 2020)
A long-time MAPS partner, The Kalamazoo Nature Center, was recently featured in a news story about migratory birds. The article also notes IBP's work in coordinating the MAPS program.
RCWO2 Photo
IBP's Work with Woodpeckers Highlighted by National Geographic (September 2020)
IBP is fast becoming a leading expert on the impacts of fire to birds in forest ecosystems in the West, especially through our work with the Black-backed Woodpecker. Recently, in a story about woodpeckers and fire, National Geographic described some of our work, along with that of other researchers.
CASO Photo
IBP Study Reveals Megafire Does Not Deter Yosemite's Spotted Owls (September 2020)
In 2013 the Rim Fire–the largest fire on record in the Sierra Nevada–burned one third of the potential California Spotted Owl habitat in Yosemite National Park. The park provides prime habitat for this subspecies, which is listed as a Species of Special Concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and concern grew regarding the fire's effect on Yosemite's owl populations. But recent research provides some good news regarding the park's owls, and it may be due to Yosemite's unique history and fire management strategy. Several news outlets picked up the story, including the Montanta Standard, which produced a kid-friendly synopsis of the story and a cartoon to accompany it.
FHLI Photo
U.S. Army Helps Conserve Biodiversity Through the MAPS Program (August 2020)
The U.S. Army has been a partner in the MAPS Program for decades. A recent story in some of the Department of Defense's new media highlighted the efforts of biologists at Fort Hunter Liggett near Monterey, California.
YWAR Photo
Audubon Great Lakes Starts MAPS Station in the Heart of Chicago (August 2020)
A new bird banding station at Big Marsh Park near the center of Chicago will give researchers a better sense of the local avifauna's population status and health, while also contributing to broader studies aimed at understanding the causes behind the dramatic decline in North America’s birds and determining which conservation measures have the most promise. The opening of the station was recently reported by WTTW, Chicago's Public Television station, on their website.
BEES2 Photo
Researchers Look for Answers as to Why Western Bumble Bees Are Declining (June 2020)
The decline of the Western bumblebee is likely not limited to one culprit but, instead, due to several factors that interact such as pesticides, pathogens, climate change and habitat loss. IBP was recently involved in a study that tried to tease apart the various factors affecting this species.
BEES Photo
New Study Helps Bumble Bees by Identifying Their Favorite Flowers (January 2020)
Many species of North American bumble bees have seen significant declines in recent decades. Bumble bees are essential pollinators for both native and agricultural plants, but not all flowers are used equally by bumble bees and, just as importantly, not all flowers are equally available to them. New research by IBP scientists and our colleagues and published in the journal Environmental Entomology examines which flowers bumble bees select in the Sierra Nevada region of California, information that can be useful to land managers who are restoring or managing meadows and other riparian habitat for native bees.
NOGO Photo
Changing Wildfires in 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.
KEWA Photo
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.
Rim Fire Photo
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.
JAHO Photo
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.
ROBR Photo
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.
NOCA Photo
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.
NOCA Photo
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.
COYE Photo
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.
BBWO Photo
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.
GGOW Photo
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.
KEWA Photo
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.
COYE Photo
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.
COYE Photo
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.
Fire Photo
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.
Great Gray Owl Photo
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.
Orchid Photo
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).
Farallon Egg Collectors Photo
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.
Indigo Bunting Photo
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.
Micronesian Kingfisher Photo
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 Photo
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 Photo
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.
American Kestrel Photo
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.
Wilson Warbler Migratory Connectivity Photo
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.
Black-and-white Warbler Photo
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.
Burrowing Owl Photo
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.
Mirror Lake Photo
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.
Photo Credits, from top: Bird in the Hand courtesy of the Daily Hampshire Gazette; Environmental Education courtesy of Park Science; Wilson's Warbler courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons; Pika by Kristi Odom; Banding by Martine Dumont; Birds and Fire by Mark Blinch; Clark's Nutcracker by Gail Hampshire; Bird band by Will Haenni; Red-cockaded Woodpecker chick by Taylor Kennedy, Cartoon by Potter, Bird Bander by Cynthia McIntyre, Yellow Warbler by Silver Leapers via Flickr CC, Western Bumble Bee by IBP, Northern Goshawk by Martha de Jong-Lantink; Kentucky Warbler by Eric Soehren; Fire by USDA Forest Service; Tree Swallow by Bradley Boner; Student by Dan Shrubshell; Peregrine Falcon by The Institute for Wildlife Studies; Northern Cardinal by Steven Albert; Eastern Prairie Orchid by Joshua Mayer; American Goldfinch courtesy of The Prairie Naturalist; Indigo Bunting by Matt Stratmoen; Sierra meadow wildflowers by Dawn Endico; Micronesian Kingfisher by DW Ross; Bryan's Shearwater by Reginald David; West Nile Virus courtesy Washington University of St. Louis; American Kestrel by Rob Crowe; Migratory Connectivity Map courtesy UCLA; Black-and-white Warbler by Peter Wilton; Burrowing Owl by Hans Splinter; Mirrow Lake by Rickz; MAPS Bandng by IBP