Navigation Links
UC research: Saving habitat key to songbird's survival
Date:3/26/2012

The chirpy buzz of the golden-winged warbler's song might not sound like a dirge, but it very nearly is one.

The population of this little, gray songbird with bright yellow patches on its wings and head has been in precipitous decline since 1966. And, as of yet, it remains unprotected by the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.

It's a dire situation for the warbler, and Ronald Canterbury wants people to know about it.

Canterbury, associate academic director of biological sciences at the University of Cincinnati, has studied the golden-winged warbler for 25 years and last saw one living in Ohio a place where the bird had been known to breed for at least a century in 1998. The bird's range once stretched from the southern Appalachians through the Northeast and Midwest and into southern Canada. Now the largest populations can only be found in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada; and smaller numbers still exist in the Appalachians.

"If you go to the watch lists, like Audubon or American Bird Conservancy, the golden-winged warbler is going to be in the top 5 and sometimes even the No. 1 bird of critical concern in its breeding range," Canterbury says.

Canterbury has been studying golden-winged warbler habitats in southern West Virginia for more than 20 years and will have his research paper, "Assessment of Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Structure on Farmlands of southern West Virginia," published in the upcoming issue of the prestigious quarterly birding journal, The Redstart.

Canterbury has found there are two main threats to the bird's survival, one you'd expect and one that's less obvious, but both involve encroachment on its special habitat requirements. The golden-winged warbler is an early successional species, meaning it thrives in areas near the forest edge with a mix of open ground, shrubs and sparse shade trees. It also prefers to live at high elevations. Many areas like this can be found along old coal mining roadways in the mountains of West Virginia.

The obvious threat to the golden-wing is man. Modern mining practices favor the mountaintop removal process, where a mountain summit is leveled with explosives to provide easier access to the underlying coal seam. This method destroys a lot of the old mining and logging roads where the warblers lived, leaving a barren plateau.

The other threat is a sister species to the golden-winged warbler the blue-winged warbler. This bird is similar to the golden-wing in appearance but with different facial markings, a more yellow body and bluish-gray patches on its wings. Blue-wings typically prefer lower elevations but have been spreading up mountainsides and competing with golden-wings, as both birds are naturally territorial.

Key to saving the bird is quantifying how many are left, and finding the remaining critical habitats places where it is likely to flourish and preserving them. That's where Canterbury is concentrating his efforts. He's been trapping birds in West Virginia, tagging them and tracking their behavior. From what he's seen, he believes the golden-winged warbler can be saved but time is running out.

"The human population is increasing by the second," Canterbury says. "The more people there are on Earth, the less there's going to be available for other wildlife and other organisms. Suburban sprawl is consuming a lot of wildlife habitats, and the golden-winged warbler apparently does not do well in fragmented landscapes."


'/>"/>
Contact: M.B. Reilly
reillymb@ucmail.uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MIT research: Study finds room to store CO2 underground
2. UC research: Tracking Lake Erie water snake in fight against invasive fish
3. MIT research: The power of being heard
4. AAAS-SFU research: Chilling climate-change related news
5. AAAS-SFU research: Linking human evolution and climate change
6. AAAS-SFU research: Controlling forest fires
7. AAAS-SFU research: Fracking risks, fact or fiction?
8. MIT research: A new sunflower-inspired pattern increases concentrated solar efficiency
9. Magnifying research: Scientists team together to upgrade supercomputer
10. Battery research: Bionics reduces filling time
11. New research: Are global honey bee declines caused by diesel pollution?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2017)... USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... (LANL), and Brian Lula, president of Physik Instrumente USA, have been selected as this ... and photonics . , The two have been invited along with other honorees to ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... flying hobbyists, and the University Aviation Association (UAA), the unifying voice for collegiate ... Collegiate Challenge will encourage teamwork, competition, and success through a STEM-based education platform. ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... Colorado (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2017 , ... ... RTP regional office in North Carolina, and engages Timothy Reinhardt to manage the ... of quality leadership at Pfizer Inc, with his most recent role as the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... AESKU.GROUP, an innovation ... Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product portfolio to include allergy and ... urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food allergy. Allergies are escalating to epidemic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: