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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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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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Urban Wildlife [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: URBAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT) Aspects of Municipalities Associated with Occupancy and Abundance of Chimney Swifts in Illinois
AUTHORS: Maureen L. Hurd, Thomas J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael P. Ward, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: The Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) is a bird species of conservation concern in Illinois and one of many aerial insectivores experiencing population declines across North America. While causes of declines are unknown, habitat availability and changes in insect populations are likely contributing factors. Chimney Swifts historically nested in tree cavities, but switched to nesting primarily in masonry chimneys as North American settlements expanded. With the growing trends of chimney caps and gas/electric heating, available chimneys are disappearing, and the loss of available nest sites may be driving Chimney Swift declines. Like other aerial insectivores, Chimney Swifts may also provide valuable pest control services and action may be needed to maintain this benefit. To investigate potential causes of declines in Illinois, we examined the influence of habitat and landscape factors on Chimney Swift abundance. We conducted surveys for swifts in 126 municipalities throughout Illinois and recorded the number of uncapped masonry chimneys at each survey point. We used these data along with landscape-level data such as composition of land cover surrounding points, areal extent of municipality, and age distribution of buildings. We found that 97% of municipalities were occupied by Chimney Swifts, but abundance varied considerably. Swifts were detected at 72.5% of survey points. Chimney Swift abundance was most heavily influenced by the number of uncapped masonry chimneys at survey points. Our results suggest that although Chimney Swifts are still widespread, contemporary building practices will continue to drive population declines and management should focus on approaches for providing and preserving suitable nesting sites.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

11:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: URBAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT) Effects of Harassment on Behavior and Movement of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in an Urban Park
AUTHORS: Ryan Askren, Mike Ward – Illinois Natural History Survey; Scott Beckerman, Craig Pullins – USDA Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Increasing abundances of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) wintering in urban areas have led to a host of human-wildlife conflicts including feces deposition, human health risks, and aircraft collisions. Harassment is the primary tool wildlife managers use to deal with nuisance goose abundances yet has been deemed ineffective at changing goose abundances in an area or reducing issues in longer time periods. However, the effects of harassment at the individual level are poorly studied, especially in winter when harassment may have more dire consequences. The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of targeted harassment on 1) average daily movement distances, 2) habitat use, and 3) overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA) as an index of energetic expenditure. To examine effects of harassment on individual Canada geese we used data from 41 geese marked with GPS transmitters in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Harassment efforts were conducted December 2017- February 2018 by US Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services personnel at an urban park near Midway International Airport as part of ongoing efforts to reduce risk to air traffic. We compared average daily movement distance and ODBA of geese that in and out of harassment areas. In addition, we quantified differences in proportional habitat use of geese between treatments. Canada geese subjected to harassment moved more than unharassed geese in December (x¯<sub>harassed </sub>= 338.2 ± 19.3 SE, x¯<sub>unharassed </sub>= 211.3 ± 8.4 SE), January (x¯<sub>harassed </sub>= 409.0 ± 2.5 SE, x¯<sub>unharassed </sub>= 269.0 ± 11.0 SE), and February (x¯<sub>harassed </sub>= 447.0 ± 36.4 SE, x¯<sub>unharassed </sub>= 232.8 ± 13.5 SE). Results of this study suggest that winter harassment of Canada geese in winter has effects on the behavior and energetic expenditure that could result in lower survival and reduced conflicts in urban parks where targeted harassment is conducted.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) It Takes a Village: A Collaborative Approach to Bird Conservation
AUTHORS: Matthew B. Shumar, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative

ABSTRACT: Many species of birds migrate at night, guided in part by starfields and lunar paths. However, artificial lighting is becoming increasingly abundant on the landscape. This source of pollution has the ability to disrupt migratory cues and cause substantial mortality; birds attracted to bright lighting often fatally collide with buildings, and it is estimated that between 365 and 988 million birds are killed by collisions each year in the United States. Collaborative conservation programs designed to address bird-building collisions have been successful in a number of cities across North America—including Toronto, Chicago, and New York—by combining elements of public outreach, conservation, and research in a campaign to reduce the dangers of nighttime lighting for migrating birds. With support from a wide range of partners, including state wildlife agencies, local government, universities, and non-profit conservation organizations, Ohio’s first “Lights Out” campaign was launched in Columbus in 2012. In 2013, we initiated a study to assess the relative influence of light intensity and building height on collision rates. Results strongly suggested that minimizing lighting on tall buildings would effectively reduce collision rates. In recent years, this partnership has expanded “Lights Out” into a statewide network, with focused efforts in Ohio’s major urban centers. To date, regional branches of Ohio Lights Out have been established in seven cities. The magnitude of this conservation issue is likely greater than currently understood (e.g., more than 2,100 dead and injured birds were salvaged by volunteers in Cleveland during 2017 alone), and each city presents unique social and political challenges. There is great potential for programs such as “Lights Out,” but success will ultimately depend on cooperation among wildlife agencies, academic institutions, wildlife rehabilitators, natural history museums, building owners, city officials, and the general public.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) The Effect of Weather on Bird-building Collisions in Downtown Minneapolis
AUTHORS: Sirena Lao, Oklahoma State University; Abigail W. Anderson, University of Minnesota; Robert B. Blair, University of Minnesota; Joanna W. Eckles, Audubon Minnesota; Reed J. Turner, Audubon Minnesota; Scott R. Loss, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: Collisions with buildings are a major source of human-caused bird mortality, especially for migratory species. Most bird-building collision studies have assessed building or landscape-related factors that correlate with mortality, such as glass area, the proximity of glass to vegetation, and the amount of surrounding greenspace. However, very little research has investigated factors causing temporal variation in bird-building collisions, and there is no published research that rigorously quantifies the influence of weather conditions on collision rates of migrating birds. During spring and fall migration, we hypothesize that more collisions occur under two scenarios: when conditions for migration are favorable (e.g., clear conditions, favorable tailwinds, and/or after the passage of a fall cold front), and hence more birds are moving; and when visibility is poor (e.g., fog, storms, or low cloud ceiling), causing migrating birds to potentially “fall out” in urban areas where they may be attracted to artificial light at night. To assess the effect of weather on collisions, we used counts from daily carcass surveys conducted during spring and fall migration of 2017 and 2018 at 21 buildings in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we compiled hourly weather data from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul weather station for each night from sunset to sunrise. We found that variables associated with favorable migration conditions, including wind direction and temperature, had the largest effect on collision mortality. We also found that weather conditions during certain times of night are especially important, and that collisions can be associated with weather conditions from one or two days prior to the night they occur. Understanding the effect of specific weather conditions on bird-building collisions will allow for the use of weather forecasts to better predict when major collision events will occur, and will therefore allow preemptive actions to be taken to reduce collision mortality.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) Using Citizen Scientist Data to Elucidate Drivers of Urban Bird-window Collisions
AUTHORS: Jonathan Rice, Luke DeGroote, Matt Webb, Jake Slyder – Carnegie Museum of Natural History

ABSTRACT: Throughout the spring (April-May) and fall (Sept-Aug) migrations of 2014 – 2016, citizen scientists searched for birds that had collided with buildings in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, USA.  These volunteers spent 965 hours searching an area encompassing 217.7 ha comprised of skyscrapers, low commercial buildings, apartment buildings, and city parks.  Volunteers found 705 dead or injured birds, 218 in the spring and 487 in the fall. We delineated building sides for all buildings with collisions (n=278), and for randomly selected buildings without collisions (n=65).  We quantified physical characteristics of the building and adjacent land cover using GIS and field visits (presences and extent of overhangs, percentage of windows, reflectivity of windows, rugosity, and presence of landscaping).  Bird-window collisions were more frequent at larger, structurally complex buildings with nearby vegetative cover.  Our results demonstrate that not all buildings are equally dangerous for birds.  Furthermore, future bird-window collisions could be mitigated if architects and urban planners design buildings with less glass, fewer alcoves, and less nearby vegetation.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) Lights out Cleveland: Methodology and Collision Patterns
AUTHORS: Andrew W. Jones, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Tim Jasinski, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center; Courtney L. Brennan, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Sylvie F. Crowell, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Gary Fowler, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center; Laura Gooch, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Moira Meehan, Ohio Wesleyan University; Stephanie Secic, Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: In 2017, we initiated a collaboration among six organizations to monitor bird-building collisions in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Field monitoring is carried out entirely by volunteers, starting at dawn on every day in spring and fall migration. Social media has been a key tool to recruit new volunteers as well as to coordinate daily monitoring schedules. During daily surveys, injured birds are placed in paper bags and then transported to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for rehabilitation. Most injuries are related to cranial swelling. We report several approaches that have been successful in rehabilitating species that do not typically recover well in captivity, including American Woodcock. Birds are then banded before release. Birds that are found dead, or die during rehabilitation, are frozen and later prepared as museum research specimens at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. In Fall 2017, over 1,800 collisions were detected in downtown Cleveland. Over 1,200 of these collisions were fatal. We reviewed collision data, comparing collision sites to the adjacent landscape, finding that building facades that face large green spaces are responsible for significantly larger numbers of collisions. We compared collision rates, per species, to local abundances from citizen science efforts, finding that collision rates are not proportional to abundance.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) Opening the Black Box of Post Bird-window Collision Survival and Behavior with New Technology, Citizen Scientists, and Diverse Collaborations
AUTHORS: Lucas W. DeGroote, Jonathan Rice – Carnegie Museum of Natural History

ABSTRACT: It is often asserted that “half” or “many” birds that hit windows and live to fly away will later die of internal injuries.  Yet our knowledge of these injuries is limited to a small number of birds that were sacrificed to compare their injuries to birds that did not survive a window collision.  Only recently are we able to track small post-collision migrants over large distances thanks to a collaborative array of automated receiving stations (Motus Wildlife Tracking System) that are able to detect VHF transmitters operating on the same frequency (i.e. nanotags).  We utilized the Motus WTS and nanotags to study the long-term effects of bird-window collision on 29 migrant landbirds found by citizen science volunteers in Pittsburgh and Cleveland the spring of 2017.  We will compare their survival and migratory behavior to 21 birds captured via mist nets at Presque Isle Bird Observatory (NW PA) and Powdermill Avian Research Center (SW PA). In addition, we will utilize data collected by rehabilitators to quantify short term survival of birds found by citizen scientists.  With this data we will gain insight not only on the long-term effects of bird-window collisions on individuals but also population level consequences that as of yet have been unquantified through traditional citizen science based collision monitoring programs.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

11:20am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: POLICY & ENGAGEMENT) Investigating Perceptions of Wildlife and Vegetation in Urban Vacant Lots
AUTHORS: Andrew Mallinak, Charles Nilon, Robert Pierce – University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Vacant lots are a prevalent issue in many urban, residential areas nationwide, causing property value declines and further neighborhood blight. These lots are often targeted by city officials to become planned greenspaces, though nearby, marginalized residents may not adequately be involved in the process. This exclusion disempowers residents and provides greenspace that while ecologically useful, may not benefit residents. St. Louis, Missouri is one of /many Midwest cities dealing with a large number of vacant lots, with most of the vacancy concentrated in the predominantly low-income, African-American north side. The city has selected several lots in two north side neighborhoods to implement various management strategies for storm water control and biodiversity conservation. To understand residents’ management preferences for the lots, I administered semi-structured interviews combined with vacant lot photo-evaluation surveys to residents in both neighborhoods. I created themes from the interview transcripts and photograph scores that explain how residents perceive the wildlife and vegetation in their neighborhood vacant lots and how that perception affects their preferred lot management and use. Top ranked photograph scenes exhibited a clear line of sight and signs of care such as mowing, fencing and litter absence. Bottom ranked photographs exhibited blocked line of sight and signs of neglect such as litter, patchy vegetation, and unmown or untrimmed vegetation. Themes surrounding management perception and preference included sense of safety, maintenance effort, and community needs. While wildlife was sometimes seen as tolerable or appreciated, most wildlife was viewed negatively as a form of nuisance or danger. Vegetation was pivotal in how residents felt an area was cared for and whether a vacant lot was seen as being safe and usable, with low, uniform vegetation preferred.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) The Power of Partnering with State Agencies to Achieve Conservation
AUTHORS: Matthew Perlik, Ohio Department of Transportation

ABSTRACT: Over the last 10 years, Ohio DOT has spent over $40 million on landscape conservation and restortation projects. This money provides an enormous contribution to protected and restored lands throughout the 34th smallest state (by area) in the US with less than 5% public lands. ODOT has developed a program that works with non-profits, for profits, universities, federal agencies, and fellow state agencies to deliver aquatic and terrestrial conseration that is lower cost, exceeds ecological improvement requirements, and is delivered faster than traditional methods. This process has expanded preserved lands, lands for recreation, and the holdings of entities dedicated to conservation. Using recent case studies, this paper will focus on the challenges and successes of working with a state DOT to deliver successful conservation within a highly developed state landscape.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Survivability of Head-Started Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) In Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park
AUTHORS: Katherine Wright, Crystal Robertson, Paul Yannuzzi, Shannon Ritchie, Andrew Lentini, Bob Johnson, Rick Vos – Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme, Toronto Zoo

ABSTRACT: A head-start program for Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) was launched in 2012 by Toronto Zoo’s Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme and partners in an effort to recover a local population in the Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP). As per a Population Viability Analysis (PVA) in 2013, reaching a self-sustaining population required raising 50 turtles per year for two years each at a 60 female: 40 male ratio over 20 years. The head-start turtles are incubated and raised in a protected zoo environment, which includes a month in outdoor enclosures to acclimate to natural conditions. Then, a soft-release enclosure is used with half of the cohort for in-situ to acclimate to their new wetland prior to release into the wild, while a hard-release method is used for the other half (no in-situ acclimation). The release site is known habitat for Blanding’s turtles and is in close proximity to travel corridors, though many head-start turtles remain in the wetland area in which they were released. No significant difference has been observed between home ranges of soft- and hard-release turtles. The number of turtles released per cohort has increased each year (2014: 10, 2015: 21, 2016: 36, 2017: 49, and 2018: 49), as have cumulative survival rates (2018 data is still being incorporated). Survival, movement, and habitat use patterns are monitored by radio tracking a subset of turtles from each release cohort, which occurs three times per week from May-August and once per month from December-April. The number of tracked turtles from each cohort changes yearly as more turtles are released. In 2018, a total of 48 turtles were tracked out of the 165 that have been released to date. This long-term project will use adaptive management to improve husbandry, field research, habitat restoration and community outreach as the project progresses.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B
 
Wednesday, January 30
 

10:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Phase 2 Wildlife Management: Addressing the Impacts of Invasive and Overabundant Wildlife: The White-tailed Deer Continuum and Invasive Wild Pig Example
AUTHORS: Kurt VerCauteren, Amy Davis, Kim Pepin – National Wildlife Research Center, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Wildlife managers in many countries around the world are facing similar challenges, which include: a lack of means to address invasive species and locally overabundant native species issues particularly in the face of declining fiscal resources, reduced capacity to achieve management goals, and a need to garner public support in the wake of changing societal values and increasing human populations. Meeting these challenges requires building off the profession’s successes and developing new paradigms and strategies to curtail the negative impacts invasive and overabundant species are having on our natural and agricultural resources. Like our predecessors in conservation succeeded in developing our profession and initiating a movement that led to the recovery of many valued native species, now it is us who face a comparable albeit somewhat opposite mandate. Our charge is to curtail and reverse the further establishment and impacts of invasive and overabundant species. We must not fail, but with just existing methods and decision processes we cannot succeed. Using wild pigs as an example invasive species and white-tailed deer as a corollary locally overabundant native species, we begin to lay out why we believe we have entered a second herculean phase of our profession that is as crucial to the quality of our future as the initiation of conservation was a century ago.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D