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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 
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Tuesday, January 29 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
(SYMPOSIA-08) Recent Advancements in Our Understanding of Secretive Marshbirds in the Lower Great Lakes

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AUTHORS: Brendan Shirkey, WInous Point Marsh Conservancy, Doug Tozier, Bird Studies Canada, Mike Monfils, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

ABSTRACT: Historically, wetland research and management in the lower Great Lakes region has focused on waterfowl given the vested human interest and continental significance of the area as migratory stopover habitat. Recently, additional research focused on secretive marshbirds (e.g., king rails, yellow rails, Virginia rails, sora, least bitterns and American bitters) has gained momentum. Unlike waterfowl populations that are at historically high levels, many secretive marshbird species have experienced significant population decline in the past several decades. However, due to the extremely limited amount of research and secretive nature of many of these bird species, population trend data is lacking and any understanding of habitat associations that might be causing population declines is nonexistent. Many state and federal agencies as well as NGO’s have begun to work collaboratively throughout the Great Lakes region to monitor secretive marshbird populations to fill some of these knowledge gaps. The objectives of this presentation are to: 1) summarize historical marshbird research in the region, 2) highlight recent research that has improved our understanding of secretive marshbirds in the region, and 3) identify future research and information needed to improve our conservation of secretive marshbirds in the lower Great Lakes region. We hope that a continued to effort to understand the life history and habitat associations of secretive marshbirds will ultimately lead to improved habitat management with the potential to benefit waterfowl and simultaneously other wetland-dependent birds and wildlife, including secretive marshbirds.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST