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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Wildlife Techniques [clear filter]
Monday, January 28

11:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (WILDLIFE: URBAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT) Efficacy of Avian Radar Systems for Tracking Birds on the Airfield of a Large International Airport
AUTHORS: Brian Washburn, USDA Wildlife Services; Adam Phillips, USDA Wildlife Services; Siddhartha Majumdar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; David Mayer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ryan M. Swearingin, USDA Wildlife Services; Edwin Herricks, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Travis L. Guerrant, USDA Wildlife Services; Scott Beckerman, USDA Wildlife Services; Craig Pullins, USDA Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Avian radar technologies have the potential to serve an important role in the quantification of bird movements and determining patterns of bird use in areas where human–wildlife conflicts might occur (e.g., airports, wind energy facilities). However, capabilities and limitations of these technologies are relatively unknown and ground-truthing studies are needed to help wildlife managers understand the biological meaning of radar information. We evaluated the efficacy of 3 X-band marine radar sensors for tracking birds and flocks of birds observed on the airfield at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, USA, during March 2011−November 2012. Specific information regarding field observations of birds or flocks was used to determine how frequently the 3 radar sensors provided corresponding tracks of these avian targets. In addition, various factors were examined to determine if they had any influence on the frequency of correspondence between visual observations and radar tracks. Of the 972 sightings of individual birds (49%) or flocks of birds (51%) by observers on the airfield that had the potential to be observed by the radar, 141 (15%) were tracked by at least one radar sensor. All confirmed tracks of bird/flocks were ≤4.8 km from these radars. Among the 3 radar sensors, larger-bodied bird species, bird/flocks flying at higher altitudes, and bird/flocks closer to the radars increased the ability of those units to track avian targets. This study provides new information regarding the performance of radar systems for tracking birds on the airfield of one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Tuesday, January 29

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Camera Trap Efficacy for Determining Mammal Occupancy in Northern Hardwood Forests, Michigan
AUTHORS: Melissa D. Starking, Michigan State University; Gary Roloff, Michigan State University; Michael Donovan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Northern hardwood forests cover > 2 million ha in Michigan and are managed for ecological and timber values. The mammal community of these forest systems provides important ecological and recreational functions. As part of a long-term study on forest regeneration techniques and wildlife interactions, we deployed an unbaited 25-camera grid (1 camera every 0.49 ha) across a 12 ha hardwood site in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. We collected data from May 2017 through June 2018. We tagged photos to species and used standard photo verification processes. We documented a wide functional range of mammals, including small mammals (deer mice, flying squirrels), mesocarnivores (marten, fisher, bobcat, coyote), and larger herbivores (deer) and a carnivore (wolves). We quantified number of cameras needed to reliably detect white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, black bear, and marten. We report on amount of sampling needed to represent detectable mammal species using relatively localized areas in managed northern hardwood forests in Michigan.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Waterfowl Ecology and Management in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Matthew Palumbo, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, David Luukkonen, Michigan State University; John Coluccy, Ducks Unlimited

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Applied scientific research has been an underpinning of sound waterfowl and wetland conservation for decades. The Lower Great Lakes (LGL), especially wetland and adjacent upland habitats near Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario, were historically and remain a critical region for waterfowl of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. In fact, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use this landscape as their primary breeding location and millions use the resources of the region during migration between breeding and wintering areas. Waterfowl managers and researchers in the LGL have strong partnerships and have largely focused efforts in this region on studies that improve understanding of the overall ecology of the species and how management actions can influence these birds. Specifically, the LGL have been the home to seminal studies on waterfowl bioenergetic modeling during spring migration, habitat use and movement for key focal species (e.g., mallards), monitoring and evaluation of diving sea duck distributions on the Great Lakes, studying the potential limiting factors for Great Lakes mallard populations, and influence of weather, wetland availability, and mallard abundance on productivity of Great Lakes mallards. Importantly, these studies have critical linkages to management which have serviced wetlands conservation. Our objective is to synthesize recent research that has improved our understanding of waterfowl ecology and habitat management in the region. Additionally, we will identify future research needs and information gaps to expand waterfowl conservation in the LGL.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST

4:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Can We Use Environmental DNA to Detect Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) at the Edge of Their Range?
AUTHORS: Ethan J. Kessler, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois; Kurt T. Ash, Samantha N. Barratt, Eric R. Larson – University of Illinois; Mark A. Davis, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Secretive aquatic animals are often particularly difficult to sample via traditional methodologies, especially when coupled with low population densities.  Alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) are a fully aquatic chelonian endemic to the southeastern United States.  At the northern extent of their range (i.e. Illinois and Indiana) this species is rarely encountered, and many records are chance encounters reported by citizen scientists.  M. temminckii receive state-level protection throughout the bulk of their range and are currently under consideration for federal protection. As a consequence, documenting their occurrence across their range is a conservation imperative. Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques detect DNA shed by animals into the environment to determine whether a species inhabits an area of interest.  Due to their low detection probability at the edge of their range, eDNA may present a cost-effective method for M. temminckii surveys. We used an ongoing M. temminckii reintroduction in Illinois to test the efficacy of eDNA methods to determine detection limits using radio-telemetered individuals. Water samples were taken from known turtle locations, as well as random locations upstream and downstream from turtles.  M. temminckii eDNA detections were positively correlated with turtle presence but showed limited downstream transport. Results from the Illinois methods-testing were applied to an eDNA survey of M. temminckii in two watersheds in Indiana, identifying locations with potential M. temminckii presence. Our results demonstrate that eDNA may be a viable means of detecting M. temminckii and could be utilized to better target areas to focus traditional sampling efforts.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST

6:00pm EST

(P87) Influence of Spatial Alignment on Photographic Detection Rates at Remotely Triggered Camera Stations
AUTHORS. Edward Davis, Western Illinois University; Tim Swearingen, Western Illinois University; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey; Charles Anderson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Christopher DePerno, North Carolina State University; Jonathan Jenks, South Dakota State University; Robert Bluett, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Christopher Jacques, Western Illinois University

ABSTRACT. Remotely triggered cameras can provide a cost-effective, non-invasive approach for investigating a variety of natural history and conservation concerns for various species. Trail camera performance is influenced by a wide range of factors, though no studies have rigorously evaluated potential sources of sampling bias (e.g., camera type, relative position) on overexposure (i.e., capturing the flash of one camera by another) events within paired camera station (i.e., 2 camera traps placed perpendicular to animal travel corridors) designs. We evaluated potential effects of camera type (Browning™ Recon Force, Moultrie™ M-880 Series, Reconyx™ HC 600 Hyperfire) and relative camera position (directly aligned vs. offset from one another [i.e., staggered]) on wildlife photographs recorded and overexposure events across 48 camera stations deployed during summer 2017. Total number of wildlife photographs varied by camera model and alignment (model × alignment interaction, F<sub>2,42</sub> = 5.56, P = 0.007); Reconyx and Browning cameras detected more wildlife photographs at aligned camera stations whereas Moultrie cameras detected more wildlife photographs at staggered camera stations. Further, the number of overexposure events varied (F<sub>1,46</sub> = 35.24, P = 0.001) between aligned (mean = 3.56, SE = 0.42, n = 25) and staggered (mean = 0.00, SE = 0.46, n = 23) camera stations. Mean percent overexposure for aligned stations was 5.63 (SE = 1.02, range = 23.91). We documented no overexposure events at staggered camera stations and no difference (F<sub>2,45</sub> = 0.05, P = 0.95) in numbers of exposure events across camera types.  We replicated our study during summer 2018 with 40 camera stations (Browning<sup>TM</sup>, Moultrie<sup>TM</sup>) and will report composite statistics and any yearly effect in our poster presentation.  We recommend that future use of paired camera stations for research, inventory, or monitoring of wildlife consider staggering the placement of cameras to minimize overexposure events of target species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
  Poster, Wildlife Techniques

6:00pm EST

(P88) Supplementing Traditional Songbird Nest Box Monitoring with Trail and FLIR Camera Technology
AUTHORS. Sayre D. Stejbach, Donald P. Althoff – University of Rio Grande

ABSTRACT. Monitoring songbird nest boxes with visits every 4-7 days is common place.  However, this frequency often does not reveal the onset of incubation, feeding of nestlings, nor apparent fledgling within 1-2 days of occurrence.  As part of long-term monitoring of bluebird/tree swallow productivity in southeast Ohio, we evaluated the use of both trail cameras positioned close to boxes (3-5 meters; 20 of 125 boxes in our network) and a FLIR camera during box inspections to determine egg temperatures without handling the eggs to supplement our standard visit protocol.  Pre-incubation temperatures vs. incubation temperatures were sufficiently different for eastern bluebirds (27C) and tree swallows (24C) eggs to indicate when 3-, 4-, or 5-egg clutches were maxed out.  This information guided our deployment of trail cameras to further document incubation and nestling activity.  We were able to capture via digital images a variety of activity of secondary cavity species. However, we had to review up to 4,000 images for a single camera per day as a result of windy and sometimes fast-moving clouds setting off the motion sensor when no bird was present.  To combat this, we designed a simple, low cost, easily attached tube to the trail camera housing to restrict the field of view of the motion without reducing the visual field of the camera itself nor permanently modifying the unit.  This resulted in 50-95% fewer photos per day per camera without apparent loss of capturing breeding activity of songbirds using the boxes with 3 exceptions. We recommend use of this blinder-type tube to prevent a large number of digital images being recorded to the memory card that have no animal activity to conserve battery life of the trail camera and reduce lab time spent reviewing the digital image data set. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
  Poster, Wildlife Techniques
Wednesday, January 30

10:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence in the Midwest United States
AUTHORS: Gary J. Roloff, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: The Midwest region of the United States supports abundant wildlife and diverse agriculture, with both substantially contributing to regional and national economies and livelihoods. Recreation associated with wildlife has a positive economic impact, estimated to generate over $34 billion annually for 8 Midwestern States. The annual market value of crops and livestock exceed $76 billion. Wildlife often represents a cost to farmers through crop and livestock depredation and food safety risks, but some producers benefit through recreational leasing of their properties. State level wildlife damage data are limited and outdated, but suggests that agricultural losses in the Midwest are significant. Resources available to producers in the Midwest for integrated wildlife damage management (IWDM) vary greatly, but are generally underutilized or ineffectual, and in some cases simply nonexistent. Challenges include political and social barriers to managing valued wildlife species as pests, complex regulatory jurisdiction over wildlife damage control, lack of dedicated personnel assigned to wildlife damage response, and limited IWDM tools. Many IWDM tools do not scale to crop production contexts, provide only limited or temporary efficacy, or are not economically viable. The Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence symposium will focus on updating our understanding of wildlife damage assessments, mitigation, and philosophies with a focus on wildlife-agriculture co-existence in the Midwest region.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST

11:00am EST

(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Species Discrimination and Habitat Selection in Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers
AUTHORS: Stephen A. Tyndel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Jinelle Sperry – CERL-ERDC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Michael P. Ward, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Blue-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) and Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora cyanoptera) are closely related species that hybridize frequently and produce fertile offspring yet tend to mate assortively and often hold overlapping territories. Information on how conspecific and heterospecific interactions impact settlement and habitat selection for both species is lacking.The purpose of this study was to examine the role of social information, specifically song, in habitat selection in both Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers. Our first objective was to determine if conspecific and heterospecific song can be used to induce settlement in Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers across their range and whether the response of each species to heterospecific song differs in allopatric and sympatric populations. Our second objective was to determine whether Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers males discriminate against heterospecific song and whether discrimination against heterospecific song differs in in allopatric and sympatric populations. To address the first objective, we broadcast songs of Blue-winged warblers and Golden-winged warblers in an area where only Blue-winged warblers breed, where only Golden-winged warblers breed, and where both species breed. To address the second objective, we conducted a simulated territorial intrusion experiment to compare how breeding territorial males of each species respond to heterospecific song in an area where only Blue-winged warblers breed, where only Golden-winged warblers breed, and where both species breed. Data analysis is ongoing but preliminary results for the first objective suggest the strongest response to conspecific cues occurred in the allopatric population of Golden-winged warblers with equivocal results found elsewhere. Responses to heterospecific cues were similarly ambiguous. Preliminary results for the second objective suggest strong species discrimination in sympatry and weak discrimination in allopatry. Ultimately our results will provide important insight into the relationship between these species and the role of social information in habitat selection.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST

11:10am EST

(WILDLIFE: LIGHTNING TALK) Integrating Health, Disease, and Husbandry into Applied Wood Duck Research
AUTHORS: Jacob A. Shurba, Kali Rush, Jacob Straub – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Since September 2017, a study was conducted to examine hen and brood survival rates of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) in central Wisconsin. The capturing of wood ducks during the breeding season required use of decoy traps using captive wood duck hens. These captive ducks were purchased from two game farms in the Midwest. Captive decoy hens were placed in traps to attract breeding wood ducks. In March 2018, a small number of the decoy ducks began dying with no clinical signs to diagnose what was causing the mortality. In this study, we reviewed common diseases of waterfowl, the husbandry requirements for captive waterfowl species, and produced potential explanations as to what caused captive duck mortality, as well as recommendations for future studies. We collected data based on the differences in how our ducks were housed compared to recommendations in the literature. We also reviewed the inconclusive pathology reports from the deceased ducks and compared results to common diseases found in waterfowl. We found that the conditions our decoys ducks were kept in could be improved. A combination of living conditions and the adverse effects of being a decoy bird played a significant role in the mortality of these decoy ducks. Recommendations for future studies include a change of living condition to decrease the amount of stress placed on the decoys, and to lessen the amount of time a decoy duck is spending in the trap. 

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:10am - 11:20am EST

11:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: LIGHTNING TALK) Estimating Abundance and Demographic Parameters of Canada Geese from Banding and Recovery Data
AUTHORS: Tim Lyons, Larkin Powell – University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Mark Vrtiska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: Bird banding is a basic but important form of population monitoring that is vital to waterfowl management in the U.S. Most often, the data derived from state and federal banding programs are used to estimate survival and harvest rates and distributions across broad geographic regions, but they can also be used to estimate abundance at more local scales. However, absent or limited population surveys, banding efforts, or recoveries, from neighboring states or provinces complicates efforts, leading to ad hoc approaches to deal with these problems during analysis. Here, we use banding and recovery data of Canada geese in Nebraska 2006-2017 to assess the effects of changing harvest regulations on Canada goose demography and estimate abundance. We demonstrate a modified harvest derivation analysis and Lincoln-Peterson estimator to address pitfalls common to these approaches when estimating abundance. Finally, we discuss Jolly-Seber models as an alternative approach to estimating demographic parameters and abundance that circumvents the need for banding or population monitoring programs out-of-state and provides greater detail about the mechanisms responsible for population changes.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:20am - 11:30am EST

11:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Identifying and Managing Wildlife Damage to Forests
AUTHORS: Jimmy Taylor, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Forests are integral components of the global climate, yet the material products that trees provide are essential to sustain human quality of life (e.g., paper, fuel, lumber, poles, fruit, etc.). Growing healthy forests requires years of planning, investment, and adaptive management. Wildlife impacts on regenerating forests following wildfire or harvesting can be extensive. Wildlife damage by ungulates, rodents, and rabbits during the first five years of tree growth greatly hinder reforestation efforts following wildfire or harvest, while foraging by other mammals such as bears, beavers, and porcupines damage mature trees after stands have gained significant economic value. The costs associated with silvicultural applications are highly variable as are the costs of preventing wildlife damage to trees. Furthermore the cumulative effects of combined management techniques are unknown in forestry management. Allowing wildlife damage can result in 1) decreased volume and revenue at harvest, or 2) extending harvest rotation lengths of stands, simultaneously extending long-term interest payments and decreasing net returns. We will describe methods to identify species-specific damage to trees and methods to reduce damage, including repellents, exclusion, and behavioral modification. We also will describe pros and cons of these methods. Applying appropriate techniques and improving cost-benefit analyses will provide forest managers with knowledge to refine forest management strategies.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-16) Nonlethal Tools for Managing Wolf Predation on Livestock
AUTHORS: Eric M. Gese, Julie K. Young, Stewart W. Breck – USDA-WS-National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Predation on livestock by wolves (Canis lupus) is a growing issue as wolf populations continue to recover in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes region. Nonlethal methods to mitigate depredation events are more publicly acceptable than lethal removal and promotes local community support. In addition, nonlethal techniques recognize the value of individual animals and maintains stability of the social system within a wolf pack. We describe various nonlethal tools and methods being evaluated and utilized to reduce wolf predation on livestock. Advantages and disadvantages of each technique are examined, and current research findings are presented. Management of depredations on livestock will be necessary for continued coexistence of wolves, humans, and livestock.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST