Biennial Report 2018-2019 - Page 4

Bird Conservation and Research DelNature’s conservation land management ensures the protection of native habitats and preserves biodiversity and places where wildlife can thrive. In recent years, numerous studies have reported that many North American birds are experiencing a steady or sometimes drastic decline. One of the most common reasons is due to the loss or degradation of their habitat. DelNature is actively involved in habitat restoration at several of the sites we own or manage. Through our ongoing Bird Conservation and Research program, we are ensuring our practices are based in science and protect biodiversity. Helping to make this possible is Dr. Ian Stewart, our staff ornithologist, and six volunteers. Collectively they banded 1,460 birds of approximately 50 species in 2018 and 2019. New species banded for the project were Marsh Wren, Mourning Warbler, Northern Mockingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Blackpoll and Tennessee Warblers. Bird banding helps scientists track individual birds and their movements. Regional Bird Conservation Partnerships In 2018, Dr. Stewart helped researchers from Willistown Conservation Trust place transmitters on eight Wood Thrushes at Bucktoe Creek Preserve to collect data on the migration and survival of this near-threatened species using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System Network of bird detecting stations spread across the continent. The Motus System is a collaborative research network that uses coordinated automated radio telemetry arrays to study wildlife movements. Wood Thrushes spend the winter in Central America and one of these same tagged birds was detected at Bucktoe Creek Preserve on May 10, 2020! In addition, the Bucktoe Creek Motus station detected 33 birds tagged birds in 2018 and another 52 in 2019, including 3 Rusty Blackbirds, a rapidly declining species. In 2019, Dr. Stewart began conducting bird surveys in 3 meadows in the agricultural lands and 3 meadows in the natural areas at Coverdale Farm Preserve. This aims to compare biodiversity in our fields that use regenerative agriculture methods with the preserve lands. Dr. Stewart started bird counts and banding, documenting several species of conservation concern that use these habitats during 4