Loading…
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.

For tips on navigating this schedule, click HELPFUL INFO below.

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). 

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Technical Presentation: Wildlife [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

10:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) Multi-scale Habitat Associations with Marshbird Occupancy and Abundance in the Great Lakes Region
AUTHORS: Sarah Saunders, National Audubon Society; Kristin Hall, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Nina Hill, University of Minnesota; Nicole Michel, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Intensifying wetland stressors in the Great Lakes region of the United States have hastened the need to identify local and landscape-scale habitat characteristics important to marsh-dependent wildlife to inform conservation prioritizations. The optimal spatial scale for assessing species-habitat relationships is not always apparent, but may affect inference about wetland use and suitability. We developed occupancy and abundance models, while accounting for imperfect detection, for nine marshbird species breeding in Minnesota. We evaluated species-specific wetland cover associations at three spatial scales (12.6 ha, 50.3 ha, and 4000 ha), quantified sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbance (developed land and agriculture), and evaluated ecoregional variation in marshbird occupancy and abundance. Emergent vegetation was positively correlated with occupancy rates of 89% of species, emphasizing the conservation value of this land cover type for sustaining breeding marshbird populations in the state. Agriculture was negatively associated with occupancy for three species, and positively associated for three other species, especially at the landscape scale. Development was negatively related to occupancy for five species, but positively related for Marsh Wren. Occupancy of all species was highest in the Prairie Pothole ecoregion, and Pied-billed Grebe and Sora were most abundant at wetlands in this region. Restoration efforts targeted within the western portion of the state are most likely to boost marshbird populations and use conservation resources effectively. Future applications of our modeling framework at broader spatial extents will contribute to the conservation of marshbirds in a region where rates of wetland loss and degradation are high.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

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

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) Marsh Bird Use of Wetlands Managed for Waterfowl in Illinois
AUTHORS: Therin Bradshaw, Western Illinois University/Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station; Cheyenne Beach, Western Illinois University; Heath Hagy, US Fish & Wildlife Service; Christopher Jacques, Western Illinois University; Abigail Blake-Bradshaw, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Joseph Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station

ABSTRACT: Marsh birds are an understudied guild of migratory birds of conservation concern that can be valuable indicators of wetland health and may benefit from wetland management for waterfowl. I assessed marsh bird occupancy of wetlands across Illinois to better understand how natural wetland characteristics, impoundment management for waterfowl, and surrounding landscape characteristics influence marsh bird occupancy of wetlands. During late spring and early summer 2015–2017, I surveyed marsh birds three times annually at focal sites (passive or active management for waterfowl), random sites (emergent, pond, or lake polygons from the National Wetland Inventory), and Critical Trends Assessment Program (CTAP) sites (wetlands from the Illinois Natural History Survey’s CTAP). Marsh bird occupancy was greatest during my first survey period (Ψ=0.71, SE=0.11), followed by my second (Ψ=0.55, SE=0.14) and third survey periods (Ψ=0.39, SE=0.14). Focal (Ψ=0.74, SE= 0.09) sites had greater occupancy than random (Ψ=0.62, SE=0.08) or CTAP sites (Ψ=0.32, SE=0.11). Occupancy also varied by wetland complexity (greatest in the large levels of complexity [Ψ= 0.99, SE= 0.02]), waterfowl management intensity (greatest at an intermediate level of management [Ψ=0.39, SE=0.178]), percent wetland area inundated (greatest in large area of inundation [Ψ=0.74, SE=0.089]), and percent cover of persistent emergent vegetation (greatest with large percent persistent emergent vegetation cover [Ψ=0.81, SE=0.148]). Across species and marsh bird groups, detection probability decreased with ordinal date, for every week delay in marsh bird survey detection declined 7.1% (SE=2.1). Our results suggest that waterfowl habitat management positively influence marsh bird occupancy. Occupancy increased with management practices that were less intensive and focused on keeping water on the landscape with little disturbance to encourage habitat characteristics such as high habitat complexity, large area inundation and high percent cover of dense persistent emergent vegetation.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

11:00am EST

(CANCELLED) (WILDLIFE: URBAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT) The FAA Wildlife Strike Database: An Untapped Source of Avian Movement Data
AUTHORS: Bradley F. Blackwell, Morgan B. Pfeiffer, Travis L. DeVault, Thomas W. Seamans – USDA/APHIS/WS National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Bird movements, particularly during migration, provide information on timing and species composition relative to climate change and population dynamics.  Movement data have been traditionally gleaned from observers for the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and via band returns.  More recently, weather and avian radars are contributing movement data (not necessarily specie-specific), and citizen science is providing observation data via Ebird.  An untapped and publically available source of species-specific movement data is the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Wildlife Strike Database.  From 1990–2016, 183,296 wildlife-aircraft collisions (strikes) were reported (179,542 in USA and 3,754 strikes by US-registered aircraft in foreign countries) to the FAA. Birds compose approximately 96% of reported strikes, and aircraft “sample” intensively a broad spectrum of altitudes and geography seasonally.  Approximately 529 bird species have been struck over the 27-year period.  Our purpose is to introduce this novel source of avian survey data as a potential compliment to current information on avian movements.  As such, we will discuss how strike data are collected, identified, reported, and inherent biases.  We will provide trends for March through July over the last ten years in reported strikes for six species (including a warbler, blackbird, shorebird, waterfowl, wading bird, and raptor) struck in the Mississippi Flyway and species relative strike frequency per the respective year.  We will relate these trends to the known spring migration movement timing and Ebird population trends for each species for the same region and period.  

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

11:00am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) Habitat Relationships of Virginia Rails and Soras in Impounded Marshes Within the Western Lake Erie Basin of Ohio
AUTHORS: Nicole Hengst, The Ohio State University; James Hansen, The Ohio State University; Brendan Shirkey, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy; John Simpson, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy; Robert Gates, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Secretive marsh bird populations are threatened by habitat loss throughout their ranges. In Ohio, Virginia rails (Rallus limicola) and soras (Porzana carolina) are species of concern and legally harvested. Very little work has been conducted to understand movements and habitat selection by Virginia rails and soras in coastal wetlands of the western Lake Erie basin. Managed wetlands are an important source of rail habitat in Ohio, yet little is known about how manipulation of water levels to produce food and cover for waterfowl affects migrating and breeding rails. Virginia rails and soras were captured and fitted with VHF radio-transmitters and tracked daily during March-September, 2016-2018. Twenty-seven percent of radio-marked rails migrated or dispersed from the study site within 1-2 days of capture in May-August. Mean home range sizes were 6.51 and 3.67 ha (SE = 1.40, n = 57 and SE = 0.95, n = 7) for Virginia rails and soras, respectively. Of the 166 radio-marked rails that remained at the study site at least one day after capture, 138 used only one impoundment unit at the study site. This allowed us to examine movement patterns of Virginia rails and soras in response to water level changes during 2016-2018. Vegetation surveys were conducted in 2018 to compare differences in habitat characteristics between locations of radio-marked rails and random points and to identify wetland habitat characteristics that rails select for as water levels change. Vegetation surveys were conducted weekly at individual radio-locations and at the end of the growing season within home ranges of radio-marked rails. Twenty-two percent of the weekly surveys indicated rails using areas dominated by cattail (Typha spp.) with water cover <40% and medium interspersion. This work will provide additional understanding of rail ecology and aid in better informed wetland management for rail species in northern Ohio.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

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
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

11:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) The Influence of Impoundment Management on Whooping and Sandhill Crane Colt Survival at Necedah NWR
AUTHORS: Ross P. McLean, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Whooping Cranes (WHCR) are federally endangered and in 2001, a reintroduction effort was initiated at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NNWR) in Wisconsin to establish an Eastern Migratory Population (EMP). However, despite seventeen years of management, recruitment remains low. Greater Sandhill Cranes (SACR, Antigone canadensis tabida) are biologically similar to WHCRs and have similar breeding ecology. We studied colt survival for both crane species at NNWR to determine if low recruitment is unique to the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) of WHCRs, or an issue for both North American crane species in the initial introductory breeding grounds of the EMP. Additionally, we lowered water levels in some wetland impoundments to better mimic the natural annual water cycle. This management action was part of an effort to increase wetland and forage access for wading birds during summer months. Our objectives were to determine (1) if summer drawdowns and reduced wetland water levels increase survival of WHCR and SACR colts compared to cranes reared in or near impoundments with full water levels, and (2) differences in overall colt survival rates between species. We hypothesized that (1) WHCR would use the drawdown areas more than available wetlands with higher water levels, and (2) that colt survival would be higher in lower water wetlands due to increased mobility and access to prey. We placed VHF transmitters on adults and colts of both species to collect colt survival status and family group locations every day during the 2017-2018 field seasons. Analyses are ongoing, but many of the fledged colts were raised in areas with lower water. We will discuss implications for crane management in the Midwest. <a href="applewebdata://63650BC7-DDE7-47CB-BF71-58A32F69113E#_msoanchor_1"></a>

Monday January 28, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM 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

11:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) A Field Study Assessing Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides to Aquatic Invertebrates: Implications for Wetland-Dependent Taxa
AUTHORS: Kyle Kuechle, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources; Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources; Doreen Mengel, Missouri Department of Conservation, Resource Science Division; Anson Main, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources.

ABSTRACT: Neonicotinoid insecticides (NI) are commonly used as seed-treatments on major agricultural row crops (e.g., corn). Indeed, neonicotinoid treated agricultural crops are often planted directly in floodplain wetlands managed for wildlife, specifically waterfowl. Numerous studies have documented impacts of neonicotinoids to aquatic invertebrates in laboratory and mesocosm settings; however, there is limited information on impacts to aquatic invertebrate in field settings. We investigated invertebrate community response to planting of neonicotinoid-treated seed in managed wetland ecosystems in Missouri. In 2016, we sampled water, sediment, and aquatic invertebrates from 22 paired wetlands during spring (pre-wetland drawdown) and fall (post-wetland flood-up) followed by a third sampling period (spring 2017). During summer, portions of study wetlands were planted with either neonicotinoid-treated corn or untreated corn (control). Water and sediment concentrations of the three most common neonicotinoids were used to calculate overall NI toxicity equivalents (NI-EQs) based on an additive model of NI toxic equivalency factors. Mean total NI-EQs for sediment (0.60 μg/kg) were an order of magnitude greater than water (0.02 μg/L). Water quality parameters and pesticide concentrations were used to evaluate effects of neonicotinoid concentrations on aquatic macroinvertebrates using a series of generalized linear mixed effects models. Preliminary results indicate an overall decrease in aquatic invertebrate diversity and abundance with increasing NI-EQs in both wetland water and sediments. Post-treatment, treated wetlands had lower benthic invertebrate diversity and abundance compared to untreated wetlands, but a recovery in abundance and diversity followed in spring 2017. Our results have implications for aquatic invertebrates and wetland-dependant species (e.g., migrating birds) as neonicotinoid concentrations, although below regulatory limits, are impacting wetland ecosystems. Research results will be useful to wetland managers in making decisions regarding use of neonicotinoid seed-treatments, specifically, and potentially, provide broader considerations of the role agriculture may play in future wetland management and conservation plans.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

1:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Habitat Heterogeneity and Wetland-dependent Bird Use in Wisconsin's Glacial Habitat Restoration Area
AUTHORS: Zack Loken, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point; Rachel Schultz, State University of New York at Brockport

ABSTRACT: The Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (GHRA) is a 558,879-acre restoration zone in east-central Wisconsin. The GHRA was designed to enhance wildlife habitat, especially for waterbirds, through wetland restorations. We observed and counted all waterbirds on wetland basins from April – May of 2017 and 2018 using fixed location focal scans. We categorized study wetlands into 3 groups based on hydrologic modification: scrape; scrape plus wetlands with ditch plug, ditch-fill, and/or tile break; and scrape plus berm and/or berm with a water control structure. Two reference groups were included: Waterfowl Production Areas and unmodified sites without basins. Wetland plant communities were categorized following the Natural Heritage Inventory database, mapped using aerial imagery, and field checked for accuracy. After plant communities had been digitized, habitat heterogeneity was assessed within each wetland property using an interspersion-juxtaposition index (IJI). Greater values of IJI indicated that community types were more evenly dispersed throughout the wetland than areas with large blocks of similar vegetation. Wetlands with diverse habitat types distributed throughout their basins may be more attractive to waterfowl than those with a homogenous composition. Analysis of year-one data found that habitat heterogeneity, of the 38 properties, ranged from 17.7 to 85.5 and differed among hydrologic modification categories (P = 0.04). Data from year two is currently undergoing analysis. Our results will be used to assess landscape scale factors that might influence the use of restored wetlands by wetland-dependent bird species.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

1:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Stopover Duration and Habitat Use of Spring Migrating Dabbling Ducks in the Wabash River Valley
AUTHORS: Benjamin R. Williams, Thomas J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Aaron P. Yetter, Joseph D. Lancaster – Forbes Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois; Heath M. Hagy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Spring migration is an important and often under-studied period of the waterfowl annual cycle. Stopover sites along migration routes contain habitats and resources required by waterfowl to rest and refuel before continuing north to the breeding grounds.  The Wabash River Valley (WRV) in southeastern Illinois provides habitat for over 500,000 dabbling ducks each spring.  Despite the heavy use of this region, information regarding stopover duration and habitat use of waterfowl is lacking.  Stopover duration, or the length of time an individual spends in a distinct region, is an important metric for waterfowl managers to consider while planning for the needs and required resources of migrating birds.  Stopover duration for mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and green-winged teal (Anas crecca) was approximately 17 days (95% CI:  12.6–22.9 days).  This is shorter than current estimates used by conservation planners and may shift objectives.  Additionally, mallards and green-winged teal used emergent and woody wetland habitat at rates highly disproportional to the availability of those habitats on the landscape.  Both species tended to avoid sites with greater amounts of agriculture in the surrounding landscape, while sites surrounded by greater amounts of open water, upland forest, and upland grassland were more likely to be used.  There was also a considerable amount of use in areas under conservation easements, suggesting the importance of these easements in waterfowl management.  All of this information will help land managers and conservation planners direct funding to the most important habitats in the WRV and ensure sufficient resources for waterfowl utilizing the region each spring.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Wood Duck Breeding Season Survival and Habitat Use
AUTHORS: K. Kali Rush, Jacob N. Straub, Matt Palumbo – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is a focal species in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture’s (JV) waterfowl habitat conservation strategy. The JV estimates the regional breeding population is 145,000 less than their population objective. In Wisconsin, the wood duck is the second most abundant breeding duck, but their population is declining like other Great Lakes States populations. To better understand population vital rates that could be related to the observed declines in abundance, our objectives were to quantify hen survival and hen and brood habitat use during the breeding season. We captured female wood ducks using decoy and nest box traps from 7 April to 5 July 2017 and 22 April to 20 May 2018, prior to nest initiation, and fitted hens with VHF radio transmitters (ATS 3930, 7g). Hen survival was estimated and compared between breeding status and among predominant habitat type used including emergent wetlands, scrub-shrub, and forested wetlands. We also monitored individuals and nest sites to estimate breeding propensity, clutch size, and nest success. In 2017 and 2018, 43 female wood ducks were captured. We used a known-fate model in program R to model hen survival as a function of breeding status (i.e. attempted nest or did not attempt nest) and habitat types. This approach yielded heretofore unavailable hen and brood survival estimates for breeding wood ducks in the state of Wisconsin to improve our knowledge of how wood duck populations are changing. 

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Spring Food Habits of Green-winged Teal in Illinois
AUTHORS: Samuel T. Klimas, Western Illinois University; Joshua M. Osborn, Auburn University; Heath M. Hagy, US Fish & Wildlife Service; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University; Joseph D. Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey; Sean E. Jenkins, Western Illinois University; and Aaron P. Yetter, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: The Illinois River Valley (IRV) provides critical stopover habitat for migrating waterfowl during spring and autumn. Because spring migration is an important time for waterfowl as they enhance body condition in preparation for the breeding grounds, the UMRGLR Joint Venture relies on the IRV and other migratory focal areas in Illinois to protect, maintain, enhance, and restore more than 80,000 ha of wetland habitats for waterfowl. Green-winged teal (GWTE; Anas crecca) usually rank in the top 4 species in the Illinois duck harvest, and primarily consume natural foods during migration, often selecting for seeds and invertebrates over agricultural grains. In order to provide current information on wetland habitat needs for GWTE to wetland and natural resource managers, we experimentally collected foraging GWTE during the spring in the IRV from the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers extending north to Hennepin, Illinois, during springs 2016–2018. We removed upper digestive tracts and estimated food availability (benthic and nektonic samples) at foraging sites to evaluate food use and 4<sup>th</sup> order selection. We analyzed diets from the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract (proventriculus and esophagus), as well as gizzards. Further, we performed proximate analysis on the teal carcasses to analyze body condition in relation to diet. We will discuss overall food use and selection by GWTE, as well as preferences of plant and invertebrate taxa in comparison with food availability.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Stepping down a Regional Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Decision Support Tool
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Palumbo, Jacob N. Straub – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: The goals of the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan target a combination of biological and social objectives that are prioritized regionally through Joint Venture (JV) partnerships. The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes (UMRGLR) JV developed a decision support tool (DST) to assist in implementing these objectives. The DST is based on six spatially explicit model-based maps, each representing a biological or social objective weighted by input from regional decision makers. The DST depicts areas of relative value to meet the combined six objectives and therefore identifies areas for regional managers to target conservation for waterfowl and people. In 1992 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources developed their own state-based conservation plan to achieve waterfowl population and habitat objectives.  This ‘WI Plan’ was based on a spatial hierarchy of priority regions, areas, and townships that were delineated from estimated waterfowl densities and habitat, geo-political boundaries, and expert opinion. Since 1992 managers have been working to implement conservation practices based on this system. However much has changed since this time thus, our objective was to revise the 92 WI Plan and provide an updated spatially-explicit tool to drive waterfowl habitat conservation efforts in the upcoming decades. Using the framework of UMRGLR JV, we developed six updated model-based maps representing waterfowl and human objectives specific to Wisconsin.  These maps have allowed WI conservation managers to visualize how conservation practices would be prioritized under various ranks of biological and social values. The WI DST will assist state managers with redistributing priority regions based on eco-physiographic boundaries and quantitative ranking based on the underlying biological and social data of the tool. The DST of UMRGL JV and WI demonstrate the value of incorporating spatio-temporal variation of biological and social data for conservation managers to prioritize practices.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Causes of Mortality in Minnesota’s Declining Moose Population
AUTHORS: Michelle Carstensen, Erik C. Hildebrand, Dawn Plattner, Margaret Dexter – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Arno Wünschmann, Anibal Armien – University of Minnesota-Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

ABSTRACT: Minnesota’s moose (Alces alces) are dying at rates much higher than elsewhere in North America. Moose have been nearly extirpated from the northwestern part of the state and aerial surveys indicate the northeastern population has declined 55% over the past decade. In 2013, a new study began to determine cause-specific mortality of adult moose in northeastern Minnesota by using GPS-satellite collars to get rapid notification of mortality events and recover carcasses within 24 hours of death. A total of 173 moose were collared over 3 years with annual non-hunting mortality rates of 19%, 12%, 15%, 13% and 14% in 2013-2017, respectively, and an overall mean of 14.4%. In total, 57 moose have died from non-hunting sources of mortality and 3 moose were legally harvested. Response times from mortality notification to arrival at the carcass were within 24 hours for 65% of death events. Most causes of mortality were health-related (65%), which included parasites (30%; e.g., winter ticks, brainworm, and liver flukes), bacterial infections (20%), accidents (3%), calving (2%) and other undetermined health issues (10%).The remainder was wolf-related (30%), with predisposing health conditions identified in nearly half of these moose.  Legal harvest accounted for 5% of moose deaths. During the same time period, we also necropsied anecdotal moose deaths (n=91) across northern Minnesota, which included vehicle or train collisions, sick, and found dead animals. Parelaphostrongylus tenuis was confirmed in 42% of these cases, which is nearly twice the rate of detection of this parasite as in the collared moose studied during the same time period. 

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Proximity to Established Populations Explains Moose (Alces alces) Occupancy in Northern Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Lucas O. Olson, Timothy R. Van Deelen, John D. J. Clare – University of Wisconsin-Madison; Maximilian L. Allen, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Wildlife conservation and management depends on understanding patterns and changes in the populations and distributions. Moose (Alces alces) sub-populations are alternately declining and increasing in abundance across their circumpolar distribution. Within regional populations a similar variable pattern sometimes exists, such as in the upper Midwest region of the United States where sub-populations are declining in Minnesota but steady or increasing in Michigan. Although abundant before European settlement, little is known about the current state of moose in Wisconsin. We examined citizen science observations of moose collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over 25 years to determine the drivers and trends of moose distribution in Wisconsin. Because opportunistically collected citizen-science data may be unreliable for abundance estimates, we used an occupancy framework to understand how variables affect county-level detection and occupancy of moose. We found that detection was driven by area of Intermix Wildland Urban Interface and road density, and occupancy was driven primarily by proximity to Minnesota and Michigan, and appears to have been stable over the previous 25 years. This study offers insight for understanding moose populations on the southern fringe of their circumpolar distribution, and a foundation for understanding the moose population in Wisconsin.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:00pm EST

(CANCELLED) (WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Evaluation of an Ek Detection Probability Model in the Black Hills, South Dakota
AUTHORS: Christopher Jacques, Western Illinois University; Evan Phillips, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Angela Jarding, National Park Service; Susan Rupp, Enviroscapes Ecological Consulting, LLC; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey; Chadwick Lehman, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; Jonathan Jenks, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: Since 1993, elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) abundance in the Black Hills of South Dakota has been estimated using a detection probability model previously developed in Idaho, though are likely negatively biased because of a failure to account for visibility biases under local conditions. To correct for this bias, we evaluated the current detection probability across the Black Hills during January and February 2009-2011 using radiocollared elk. We used logistic regression to evaluate topographic features, habitat characteristics, and group characteristics relative to their influence on detectability of elk. Elk detection probability increased with less vegetation cover (%), increased group size, and snow cover (%); overall detection probability was 0.60 (95% CI = 0.52-0.68) with 91 of 152 elk groups detected. Predictive capability of the selected model was excellent (ROC = 0.807), and prediction accuracy ranged from 70.2% to 73.7%. Cross-validation of the selected model with other population estimation methods resulted in comparable estimates. Application of our model should be applied cautiously if characteristics of the area (e.g., vegetation cover > 50%, snow cover > 90%, group sizes > 16 elk) differ notably from the range of variability in these factors under which the model was developed.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Elk Habitat Suitability and Potential of Public and Private Lands in Michigan
AUTHORS: Chad R. Williamson, Henry Campa III, Scott R. Winterstein – Michigan State University; Alexandra B. Locher, Grand Valley State University; Dean E. Beyer, Jr., Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: To determine current habitat suitability for elk (Cervus elaphus) in Michigan, we developed a stand-level (fine-scale) habitat suitability index (HSI) model for public lands, and a landscape-level (coarse-scale) HSI model for public and private lands. For our stand-level HSI model, we used forest compartment inventory data to identify cover types important to elk, and assigned suitability values (0=low, 1=high) to each cover type for elk life requisites (spring food, winter food, winter thermal cover). Additionally, we modified suitability values based on stand conditions (e.g., stand size, age of aspen [Populus spp.], % canopy closure). For our landscape-level HSI model, we used satellite imagery to classify cover types and assigned suitability values to cover types for each life requisite. Our HSI models indicate a heterogeneous arrangement of high suitability for spring food (openings, aspen) and winter food (aspen, hardwoods, conifers) throughout our study area, and several large areas of high suitability for winter thermal cover (conifers) in the southern edge of our study area. Our landscape-level model provided suitability for private lands, but overestimated areas of high suitability in comparison to our stand-level model. Habitat potential was modeled by delineating habitat types by overlaying digital spatial data layers (soils, land-type associations, vegetation) and identifying successional trajectories using habitat classification guides and literature. We assigned suitability values to each habitat type for life requisites at early to late successional stages. Comparisons between current elk habitat suitability and habitat potential identify key areas where managers can maximize management efforts for elk in Michigan. Areas determined to have higher habitat potential may become focus areas if they are not currently being managed or have low suitability. Conversely, areas with low habitat potential may be avoided for continued or future elk habitat management.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: CERVIDS) Understanding Relationships Between Deer Demographics, Deer Health and Forest Vegetation Through Partnerships with Wisconsin Hunters
AUTHORS: Amanda McGraw, Daniel Storm – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Deer health reflects habitat quality, climate, and interspecific competition. Deer health, in turn, is reflected in body condition, including body weight and fat reserves. To relate deer health to habitat quality, climate, deer density levels, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began a collaborative project with landowners enrolled in the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to collect data on harvested deer and available forage on private properties. DMAP cooperators were recruited as to participate as citizen scientists through outreach including public presentations and email announcements during 2017 and 2018. Several training tools were developed to facilitate quality data collection by cooperators. Data collection kits containing all necessary supplies was provided to cooperators. In 2017 we received data from 57 DMAP cooperators for 280 deer. Cooperators measured several morphological characteristics indicative of body condition and overall health, such as antler dimensions and carcass weight. Cooperators extracted a tooth for aging via cementum annuli and photographed hearts for organ fat estimation. Age explained 66% of variance for female deer carcass weight (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.64, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 20.61, p < 0.001) and 81.7% of variance for male carcass weight (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.81 F<sub>1,6</sub> = 64.19, p < 0.001). Less variation in antler width (Deviance = 0.57, R<sup>2</sup> = 0.56, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 13.39, p < 0.001) and number of antler points (Deviance = 0.55, R<sup>2</sup> = 0.53, F<sub>1,6</sub> = 12.45, p < 0.001) was explained by age for male deer. We are continuing to explore the potential effects of density, habitat, and weather on deer body condition and antler development. This study highlights methods developed to ensure quality data collection by citizen scientists, and feasibility of operating a citizen-science based research project at a state-wide scale. We also provide insights about how habitat quality on private lands impacts deer health and productivity.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

10:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Managed Forests Provide Roosting Opportunities for Indiana Bats in South-central Indiana
AUTHORS: Scott Bergeson, Purdue University-Fort Wayne; Joy O'Keefe, Indiana State University

ABSTRACT: There is a growing interest in the effects of timber harvest on forest-dwelling bats due to the potential for timber harvest to reduce available habitat. We conducted a study to determine how endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) select summer roosts within a Midwestern forest managed for timber. In the summers of 2012–2014, we tracked 4 male and 11 female Indiana bats to 49 roosts (n<sub>male </sub>= 24, n<sub>female </sub>= 25) in south-central Indiana, USA. We collected multi-scale data on roosts and associated available trees, randomly located throughout the same landscape. We generated 10 matched pairs conditional logistic regression models based on a priori hypotheses on roost selection and ranked them using Akaike’s Information Criteria. Plausible models explaining female roost selection included those coding for typical Indiana bat maternity roosts and typical tree-cavity bat roosts. Females selected roosts under exfoliating bark on large (17 ± 2 m in height and 34.8 ± 3.0 cm in diameter) standing dead trees and in bat boxes with high solar exposure (28.0 ± 6.0 % canopy closure above roosts). For males, the model coding for predator avoidance was the most plausible explanation of roost selection. Males selected for roosts under exfoliating bark on tall trees (23 ± 2 m; 71% snags) surrounded by snags (4.5 ± 0.7 snags/0.1 ha plot) and live trees (30.4 ± 2.7 live trees/0.1 ha plot). Females roosted in or 10 m from harvest openings and first-stage shelterwood cuts more than expected (15 of 25 roosts) based on their availability on the landscape. Males roosted in harvest openings as expected (3 of 24 roosts). Our results demonstrate that a managed Midwestern forest provides an array of roosts for Indiana bats and that Indiana bats do not actively avoid roosting near harvest openings in this forest.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

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
CENTER STREET ROOM D

11:00am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Evaluate the Diet of the North American River Otter Throughout Ohio
AUTHORS: Sara Adamczak, The Ohio State University; Anne Wiley, The University of Akron; Mažeika Sullivan, The Ohio State University; Stanley Gehrt, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is an apex riverine predator that is adapted to hunting in the water. This lifestyle results in a diet focused on aquatic and semi-aquatic species.  We sought to determine river otter diet composition and trophic level using stable isotope analysis. Understanding diet and trophic level provides insight into how river otters might influence community dynamics and potentially reveal important prey species for river otters in various riverine systems. We collected tissue, whisker and nail samples collected from 108 river otters across Ohio during 2017-2018. We used these samples to estimate the ratios d<sup>15</sup>N and d<sup>13</sup>C, comparing river otter values to those of potential prey items. The d<sup>15</sup>N measurements serve as indicators of a consumer's trophic level, whereas d<sup>13</sup>C values are used to determine carbon sources in a trophic network. Our preliminary analyses revealed a higher d<sup>15</sup>N for males (mean = 14.58) than females (mean = 13.97), suggesting that male otters tend to feed at a slightly higher trophic level than female river otters. The trophic level of juvenile river otters (15N = 14.02) was the same as adults (= 2 years old; d<sup>15</sup>N = 14.01); possibly a result of juveniles mostly feeding from their mothers until weaning. Yearling river otters (1-2 years old) appeared to feed at a higher trophic level than adults. This age difference may be a result of younger individuals feeding at multiple trophic levels compared to adults. The feeding habits of younger individuals, and consequently their trophic level, will often change over time. Perch, sunfish, and crayfish were found the preferred prey species across all otter age classes. These results support the idea of stable isotopes as a useful tool when examining river otter ecology, providing insight on river otter dietary sources, as well as their trophic positioning.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

11:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: MAMMALS) Evaluating Survival and Cause-specific Mortality of Bobcats in West-central Illinois
AUTHORS: Edward. D. Davis, Western Illinois University; Tim C. Swearingen, Western Illinois University; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Increased understanding of mortality of bobcats (Lynx rufus) is a prerequisite to successful management programs, particularly as it relates to population dynamics and the role of population models in adaptive species management. Survival and cause-specific mortality of bobcats have been well documented in predominantly forested landscapes, but limited information has been collected in agriculturally-dominated Midwestern landscapes. Thus, our objective was to evaluate survival and cause-specific mortality rates of bobcats across agriculturally dominated landscapes of west-central Illinois. We captured and radio-collared 38 (20 males, 18 females) bobcats from January 2016 to September 2018. We used known fate models with the logit link function in Program MARK to estimate annual survival of bobcats, which accommodated staggered entry and exit times of radiocollared bobcats during our analysis interval. Because mortality events were limited, covariate modeling was not conducted. Nevertheless, we constructed a survival model in which survival was constant (S{<sub>constant</sub>}) between years and across sexes. We documented 11 deaths during our study; vehicle collisions was the leading cause of mortality and accounted for 5 (45%) mortality events. We attributed remaining deaths to harvest (n = 3; [1 legal, 1 illegal, 1 incidental harvest]), unknown (n = 1), other (n = 1), and capture-related factors (n = 1); we censored capture-related deaths from analyses. The estimated annual survival rate using model S{<sub>constant</sub>} was 0.74 (95% CI = 0.55–0.87). Bobcat survival monitoring is ongoing through 2019 and will evaluate potential effects of intrinsic and habitat variables on seasonal and annual survival rates.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

1:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Impacts of Neonicotinoids on Native Pollinators: Evaluating Wild Bee Guilds in Field-margins Surrounding Imidacloprid-treated Soybean Fields
AUTHORS: Anson R. Main, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Keith W. Goyne, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Robert Abney, School of Natural Resources, University of MIssouri; Doreen Mengel, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Unlike honeybees, numerous wild bee species nest belowground and in close proximity to cultivated fields and adjacent flowering field-margins. Although agricultural field-margins can serve as important bee foraging habitat, these areas may also accumulate neonicotinoid insecticides via runoff events and planter dust. Few field studies have evaluated neonicotinoid impacts on wild pollinator communities, including solitary, ground-nesting bees (e.g., sweat bees, longhorn bees). To assess effects of neonicotinoid exposure on native bee floral (diet specialization) and nesting guilds (e.g., soil, cavity), we sampled 30 soybean fields on five conservation areas in north-central Missouri from pre-seeding through harvest in 2017. Following baseline data collection in 2016, soybean fields were cultivated using one of three treatments: imidacloprid-treated fields (n=10); untreated fields (n=10); and previously treated (2016) to untreated fields (n=10). At each site, we collected field and field-margin soils, flower heads from wildflowers and soybean plants, and native pollinators every 28 days over five sampling periods (pre-seeding, post-seeding, growing, soybean flowering, and harvest). Neonicotinoid residues were detected in field soils during all sampling periods (frequency: pre-seeding, 7%; post-seeding, 33%; growing, 23%; soybean flowering, 53%; and, harvest, 33%). However, neonicotinoids were infrequently detected in margin soils (<8% frequency, overall) with no residues detected in flowers from field-margin or soybean plants. Overall, wild bee abundance was significantly less in fields with greater neonicotinoid concentrations (ß = -0.27 ± 0.09, P = 0.003) though this relationship became slightly positive over time (ß = 0.08 ± 0.02, P= <0.001). Soil-nesting bee richness was significantly greater in margins surrounding untreated fields compared to previously treated fields. Additionally, fewer floral diet specialist bees were collected in field-margins surrounding fields with greater soil concentrations. Here, we present our preliminary findings and discuss how this research improves our understanding of neonicotinoid seed-treatment use on non-target native pollinator communities within agroecosystems.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

1:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) The Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands: Its Development and Scope
AUTHORS: Dan Salas, Senior Ecologist, Cardno; Iris Caldwell, Program Manager, Sustainable Landscapes, Energy Resources Center at The University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Rights-of-ways offer unique conservation opportunities by connecting landscapes and providing a generally stable habitat protected from future development.  The Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, composed of multiple industries and unique partnerships, are working to support pollinators and other wildlife, within these working lands. Inspired by population declines and potential listing of monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act, members of this group have worked together to develop a voluntary agreement to enhance and sustain monarch butterfly habitat. Underscoring the importance of this effort, the partnership of more than two dozen energy and transportation organizations is undertaking one of the largest scale CCAAs to date and under one of the fastest timelines pursued for such a large conservation agreement. During this session, we will discuss how voluntary conservation tools like CCAAs can be used to provide important conservation, and how this agreement was developed. We will also highlight what conservation improvements are included within the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands, and discuss ways that conservation partners can engage in this broad-scale conservation effort.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Pipeline Right-of-Way Habitat Management on Early Successional Songbirds in Eastern Ohio
AUTHORS: Lewis M. Lolya, Gabriel Karns, Stephen N. Matthews –The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Early successional bird species have exhibited population declines across Ohio, coinciding with a state-wide loss in young forest and shrub-scrub habitats. Additionally, forest fragmentation and land use conversion has increased with accelerating shale gas development. Pipeline right-of-ways (ROWs), which represent the largest proportion of the shale gas footprint, hold potential for early successional habitat management. This potential has been demonstrated for analogous electric ROWs, but minimal research is available for corridors with underground infrastructure. Our goals are to assess early successional avian response to forest edge-cutback techniques along pipeline ROWs and to understand avian utilization of the pipeline-forest interface. Forest-edge plots (control=11, experimental=12) were established at 10 sites across four counties in Eastern Ohio. Avian point counts, nesting surveys, and vegetation sampling were conducted within each plot. A total of 93 nests of 13 species were monitored. The proportion of failed to fledged nests was 47%, with EATO showing low nest success across sites (Fail=62%). Overall incidence of nest parasitism was higher in edge treatment ROWs (n=9) than in control (n=6). 79 total species were observed across all sites during point counts. Several species showed increased occurrence in ROW plots compared to forest plots ([alpha codes] BHCO, COYE, EATO, FISP, INBU, and NOCA) while others were more prevalent in interior forest (ACFL, OVEN, and REVI). SCTA, EAWP, and ACFL were more prevalent in experimental ROW plots than control. The opposite trend was seen for INBU, potentially due to limited forest regrowth following recent treatments. These results may demonstrate that birds exhibit species-specific selectivity for habitat structure characteristics along pipeline corridors. Although pipeline edges may provide nesting habitat, high occurrence of nest parasitism may indicate the presence of habitat traps. Furthermore, as experimental cutback zones regrow, we hypothesize increased use over time of those edges by shrub-scrub dependent birds. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Conservation Practice and Site Age on Vegetation Structure and Avian Habitat Use in Fields Enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
AUTHORS: Bryan M. Reiley, T.J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Farmland set aside programs provide important habitat for many wildlife species, yet little information exists regarding how vegetation structure and species respond to conservation practice and site age. This information could provide managers with a guide for how to implement, enhance, and maintain wildlife benefits of these programs. Here, we describe how avian species respond to conservation practice and time since restoration at 172 sites enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Illinois. To do this we surveyed sites enrolled in four different conservation practices (CPs) within CREP during the breeding seasons of 2012 – 2015 using point counts and vegetation surveys. Vegetation structure and composition varied among CPs with hardwood tree plantings having the greatest amount of understory vegetation, tree and shrub cover, and lowest distance to nearest tree. Conversely, permanent wildlife habitat had the greatest distance to nearest tree, grass cover, and least tree cover. Cover of tree and live vegetation increased and distance to nearest tree decreased with site age and there were conspicuous differences among CPs and site age for these variables and bare ground cover. Avian densities varied among CP types, however only Dickcisselswere significantly greater in sites enrolled as permanent wildlife habitat and, similarly, Bell’s Vireo and Field Sparrow  were greater in hardwood tree plantings. Dickcissel density decreased and Field Sparrow density increased as fields aged, but these relationships were not consistent among CP types. Differences among CPs largely resulted from differences in dominance in woody vegetation due to differing management goals. Interestingly, many of our focal species had wider successional tolerances than previously suggested. Our results demonstrate that conservation benefits change over time depending on the starting CP and this information can be used to predict temporal changes in habitat suitability and target conservation benefits toward conservation priority species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Reptile and Small Mammal Occupancy in Prairie Strips Integrated in an Agricultural Landscape
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Stephenson, Lisa A. Schulte – Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Grasslands in the Midwest United States have seen a precipitous decline over the last 150 years, resulting in the loss of millions of acres of habitat for wildlife. A large majority of the land in the Midwest is privately owned and efforts to restore habitat on large scales will have to include partnerships with private landowners. Contour buffer strips of diverse native prairie planted in row crop fields have been demonstrated to be very effective at reducing nutrient and soil runoff and may also serve as a significant area of habitat for wildlife such as reptiles and small mammals.From 2015-2018 we investigated reptile and small mammal occupancy in contour buffer strips of diverse native prairie and other on-farm habitat patches on 15 sites in Iowa, USA. We placed plywood artificial cover objects in perennially vegetated conservation features on farms and checked them between 4-20 times each year from April-October. We modeled patch occupancy in Program MARK to test if landscape variables such as patch size, fragmentation, connectivity, and vegetation diversity predicted occupancy for several species of reptiles and small mammals. We also modeled potential nuisance variables such as time-of-year, time-of-day, and weather that could affect detection probability. A greater understanding of how these less-frequently studied taxa utilize on-farm habitat could aid managers and policy makers to help make agricultural conservation programs effective for conserving as many taxa as possible.

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

3:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Use of Headstarting Data to Estimate Age-Specific Survival Rates of Juvenile Blanding’s Turtles
AUTHORS: Callie Klatt Golba, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University; Gary Glowacki, 2Natural Resource Division, Lake County Forest Preserve District; Richard B. King, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University & Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy, Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Blanding’s Turtles (IUCN Endangered) are long-lived reptiles with delayed sexual maturity. Population viability analyses (PVAs) are useful tools for such species because they allow the comparison of conservation strategies over time frames that would not be possible experimentally. Accurate demographic parameter estimates are essential for reliable projection of effects of management on populations. For Blanding’s Turtles, we lack accurate estimates of juvenile survival because younger age classes are infrequently encountered and recaptured. The Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) in northeastern Illinois initiated a long-term capture-mark-recapture (CMR) project in 2004. Since 2010, LCFPD has released 879 headstarted turtles, 316 of which have been recaptured in one or more successive years. These 14 years of intensive monitoring have provided us with a unique dataset from which we estimate the survival of juvenile turtles. Using encounter histories of headstarted animals, we estimate age-specific survival rates by employing Cormack-Jolly-Seber (CJS) modelling techniques. Furthermore, by comparing size and growth trajectories of headstarted animals with those of known-age wild-born juveniles (93 unique individuals, 39 of which have been recaptured), we meaningfully apply age-specific survival estimates to wild animals. Together with other demographic information from this population (adult survival, fecundity), we anticipate more accurate population projections that will aid in evaluating conservation strategies for this population and potentially for Blanding’s Turtles elsewhere.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

3:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Does Land Management Have Detectable Effects on Species Richness?
AUTHORS: Jay Vecchiet, Richard B. King – Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Agencies across the United States rely on data driven management practices. Whether or not those practices are successful can be ambiguous because variables other than management also shape population and community responses. Here, we test whether the effects of preserve size, preserve land cover, surrounding land cover, habitat quality, and management history have a detectable effect on species richness. We focus on amphibians and reptiles in grassland-dominated preserves in northern Illinois.  Species lists were compiled for 15 preserves ranging in size from 7 ha to 1460 ha. Habitat quality and land cover (open water, wetland, grassland, wooded, agriculture) of all preserves were analyzed using ArcMap 10.4.1. Preserves were also classified by age, prior land use, and intensity of management actions (seeding, prescribed fire, chemical and mechanical controls). Across preserves, a total of 31 amphibian and reptile species were documented, including 8 frogs and toads, 2 salamanders, 2 lizards, 6 turtles, and 13 snakes. Of these, 7 are considered Endangered, Threatened, or Species in Greatest Conservation Need in Illinois. As management is carried out, there are obvious positive effects on the environment (soil composition, plant communities, water quality), but demonstrating a positive effect on organisms with cryptic life histories, such as amphibians and reptiles, is challenging.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

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

3:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Effects of Field and Landscape-scale Habitat on Ring-necked Pheasant Demography
AUTHORS: Tim Lyons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; T.J. Benson, Illinois Natural History Survey; Wade Louis, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Mike Ward, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Richard Warner, National Great Rivers Research & Education Center

ABSTRACT: In agriculturally dominated landscapes, the habitat provided by public and private lands is critical for the conservation and management for non-game as well as game species, such as ring-necked pheasants. Management of these areas to increase pheasant populations has focused on increasing field size, the amount of grassland cover in the landscape, or managing vegetation composition within fields, to improve success during the nesting or brood-rearing stages, or the survival of breeding adults. How these actions will impact overall population growth or which stages or habitat features should be prioritized for management is not always clear. We studied how habitat conditions at the field-and landscape-scale influenced the demography of ring-necked pheasants on public and private grasslands in Illinois. Between 2013-2016, we used radio telemetry to track > 200 ring-necked pheasants and quantified the relationship between habitat features at multiple spatial scales, nest success, chick survival, and adult survival. We then used a simulation study to understand how changes to habitat features important to a particular stage ultimately affected population growth. We also examined how predator identity influenced the relationship between adult survival and habitat conditions. We found that several habitat features had contrasting effects among multiple stages and ultimately restricted population growth when management focused on maximizing performance during one stage. Our results also indicate that raptors may be a more important predator of pheasants than is generally recognized, but the risk of predation can be reduced by the management of vegetation within fields. Collectively our work highlights the importance of full life-cycle studies of demography for the effective management of wildlife and suggests that smaller fields, often overlooked in traditional conservation schemes, can play a role in pheasant management when coupled with appropriate management of vegetation within fields.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

4:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Demographic Response of a Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) Population to Multi-year Meso-predator Removal Efforts in a Northeast Ohio Fen
AUTHORS: Nicholas A. Smeenk, Gregory J. Lipps, Jr. – Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University; Caleb Wellman, USDA, Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Meso-predatorsare primary predators of turtles and may obtain unnaturally high densities due to human subsidies. Predation by such predators may be more prevalent for turtle nests, which can be especially detrimental when nesting sites are concentrated. Persistent nest predation often results in a skewed population structure dominated by large adults due to reduced recruitment. Meso-predator control efforts during the nesting season have occurred yearly since 2011 at several important turtle sites in northern Ohio. At a northeast Ohio fen, we compared size distribution and sex ratios of Spotted Turtles among survey efforts from 2007 to trapping efforts in 2017 – 2018 to assess the demographic response of Spotted Turtles to removal of meso-predators. We used a Lincoln-Peterson population estimate with a Chapman modifier to estimate the turtle population size and density in 2017 – 2018. From 2011-2016, 115 raccoons (Procyon lotor) and 7 Virginia opposums (Didelphis virginiana) were removed along a railroad bed where turtles frequently nest. While the turtle sex ratio did not differ, we found a significant shift in the size distribution between the two time periods resulting from the capture of juveniles in 2017-2018, but not in 2007. A similar size distribution was observed in Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta). We estimated the population size to be 28 individuals (95% CI: 19 - 37), resulting in a density estimate of 22 individuals/hectare. The shift in size distribution and similarity to a conspecific turtle species, suggests that meso-predator control efforts have mitigated predation of nests and/or young, resulting in increased recruitment in the population examined in this study. Further, the estimated population density is high relative to other populations.  These results suggest a healthy population with yearly recruitment and evolutionarily stable sex distribution as a result of continued predator control efforts during the nesting season.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

4:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Eastern Wild Turkey Distribution and Patch Occupancy Across Northern Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Chris Pollentier, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Mike Hardy, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Scott Lutz, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Scott Hull, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were successfully reintroduced in Wisconsin during the mid-1970s and populations have since expanded beyond their ancestral range throughout the state. Abundance has generally been considered greatest in areas with highly diverse landscapes that include upland woodlands interspersed with agriculture and other open-herbaceous land cover. However, many areas across far northern Wisconsin are comprised of landscapes where the forested area represents > 70% of the land cover. While much research has been focused on areas where populations are generally highest, study of wild turkeys across the far northern reaches of their range in the Upper Midwest and northern Wisconsin has been limited. To better understand wild turkey distribution and habitat relationships across northern Wisconsin, we conducted gobbling call-count surveys along 157 routes from 2013–2017 and instituted a multiseason correlated replicate occupancy modeling approach to link landscape characteristics to patch occupancy. Probability of occupancy was best related to a quadratic function of percentage of open cover (ß = -4.10, SE = 1.07), with probability of occupancy peaking in routes with 30–40% open cover. Probability of colonization was positively associated with the percentage of available agriculture planted in corn (ß = 1.14, SE = 0.42), and also showed a weak negative association with the amount of snow cover (ß = -1.13, SE = 0.62). Our results suggest that even in landscapes where forest cover is pervasive, wild turkeys benefit from the availability of open-herbaceous cover. In addition, corn-crop agriculture serves as an important food resource for wild turkey populations across heavily-forested northern Wisconsin landscapes and influences the probability of colonization into previously unoccupied areas. A better understanding of the distribution of wild turkeys across their northern range will provide much needed information to help guide contemporary management strategies in a post-restoration era.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

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
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

4:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: TURTLES) Spatiotemporal Investigation of Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) Hematology and Pathogen Detection Through a Longitudinal Study in Central Illinois
AUTHORS: Jeremy M. Rayl, Marta Kelly, Michelle Beermann, Matthew C. Allender – Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), a declining species across most of its range, are threatened by disease events including ranaviral disease, mycoplasmosis, and herpesviral infections, but individual host hematologic responses are largely unknown. At a site with known amphibian and box turtle ranavirus outbreaks, a cohort of eastern box turtles (N=36) was investigated using radio telemetry. Location and temperature data were collected over two active seasons and brumation periods (2016-2018). Bi-weekly, turtles were sampled for blood and oral-cloacal swabs for hematology and pathogen detection. All turtles were negative for ranavirus over the study period. Total white blood cells, heterophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, and monocytes were greater in females compared to males. Total solids, total white blood cells, heterophils, and lymphocytes showed decreasing patterns in both sexes during the active season. Home ranges and average daily movement were not significantly predicted by hematology or pathogen detection. These data add to the long-term health monitoring of eastern box turtle populations in central Illinois. With repeated measures, we have an increased ability to find complex spatiotemporal relationships between box turtle movement, hematology, and pathogens. In conjunction with long-term cross sectional surveys, a more complete picture of box turtle health related to these variables can be developed with this site as an example within central Illinois. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B
 
Wednesday, January 30
 

10:20am EST

(CANCELLED) (WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Partners in Flight: Landbird Conservation Planning Tools for the Midwest
AUTHORS: Tom Will, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Since its inception in 1990, Partners in Flight (PIF) has taken progressive steps to provide useful range-wide landbird conservation vulnerability assessment at both continental and Bird Conservation Region (BCR) scales. The 2016 Landbird Conservation Plan for Canada and the U.S. introduced new metrics designed to more effectively communicate the urgency of addressing precipitous declines of both range-limited and wide-ranging common species—notably the concept of a "half-life": the forecasted number of years when an abundance that is half the current abundance is reasonably expected to be observed. PIF has also redesigned its website to make it easier to access all of its tools, including its Technical Series, Species Assessment database, Population Estimates database, regional and national conservation plans, and access to its email information and announcement list-serves. Highlighting communication with partners, the revised website provides a platform for exploring and distributing other recent Partners in Flight developments. The Species Assessment, renamed the PIF Avian Conservation Assessment Database (ACAD), now covers all taxa—landbirds, shorebirds, waterbirds, and waterfowl—for over 1600 species from Canada through Panama. The Population Estimates database now provides upper and lower uncertainty bounds around its median U.S./Canada breeding adult population size estimates at state-x-BCR scales. As part of the 2016 Plan, PIF offers recommendations for U.S./Canadian planning unit responsibility for recovering Watch List species and, by incorporating global eBird data, identifies areas of greatest importance for migrants during the non-breeding season to facilitate full life cycle conservation. Finally, a thorough partner review of all regional-scale (BCR) breeding season assessment scores in the U.S. and Canada has just been completed and is now live via the website. The revised regional breeding season assessment provides recommendations reflecting Midwest contributions toward continental bird conservation and identifies regionally important species and regional stewardship responsibilities using a standardized and quantitative methodology.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

10:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Post-Fledgling Habitat Selection of an Endangered Species in Texas
AUTHORS: Evalynn M. Trumbo, Michael P. Ward, Jeffrey Brawn – University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Understanding associations between habitat and the demography of endangered wildlife is essential for effective management, and the age or life-stage of an individual adds complexity to these associations. The Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia; hereafter "warbler"), is an endangered neotropical migrant that breeds only in the contiguous juniper-oak forests in central Texas, of which many studies have evaluated how extensive habitat loss and fragmentation affect adult demography, yet no research has been conducted on post-fledging life stages and their habitat preferences, specifically microhabitat. For birds, the post-fledging stage is critical for sustaining species’ populations and many threats to survival during this life-stage are influenced by habitat type. To understand survival and habitat use, we studied the warbler population at Fort Hood military installation in central Texas. We monitored warbler nests until fledging and deployed one VHF transmitter per nest (n=8 and n=15, for 2017 and 2018, respectively). We tracked fledglings ~4 weeks after fledging. 15 of 23 (65%) of the fledglings survived the observation period. We obtained 1126 vegetation samples measuring various habitat characteristics for the entirety of the study (2017-2018). We compared habitat measurements between fledgling locations and random locations away from the fledgling location. Fledglings appear to select habitat that contains higher canopy cover (86% ± 0.6%, vs. 77% ± 1%). Ground cover, although correlated with canopy cover, differs from non-used habitat (29% ± 0.9%, 37% ±1.05%). Vertical vegetation density in the understory does not differ among used and non-used habitat. Most likely fledglings are selecting for canopy cover since it affords more protection from predators. Using this information for habitat selection will allow managers to implement techniques that promote higher canopy cover in GCWA habitat, hopefully providing a mosaic of necessary traits to support all life stages during the breeding season.

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

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
CENTER STREET ROOM C

11:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Bald Eagle Nest-site Selection Along the Upper Mississippi River, 1990-2012
AUTHORS: Benjamin W. Tjepkes, Stuart C. Fetherston, Scott E. Hygnstrom – Wisconsin Center for Wildlife, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Brian J. Stemper, Stephen L. Winter – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The overall population of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) has increased in range and size across much of North America, since they were listed as a federally Threatened Species in the 1970’s.  This increase likely is due in part to the efforts of several federal and state wildlife management agencies in protecting nest sites, an important factor in raptor reproduction.  We studied nest-site selection in bald eagles along the 420-km long Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge using survey data from 1990 – 2012.  Spatial analyses were conducted on known active nest locations using a GIS to develop several metrics relating to bald eagle nesting ecology (e.g., distance to water, surrounding cover type, patch size) and several disturbance metrics (e.g., distance to navigable channel, distance to road).  These metrics will then be used to build a mixed-effects resource selection function under a use-availability design for this population.  This information will increase the understanding of how bald eagles occupy habitats along the Upper Mississippi River in relation to habitat features and human activities, further contributing to the effective management of this species.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

11:40am EST

(WILDLIFE: AVIAN) Estimating Shorebird Abundance and Distribution Through Aerial Surveys in the Illinois River Valley
AUTHORS: Luke J. Malanchuk, Michael P. Ward – Illinois Natural History Survey; Heath M. Hagy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Aaron P. Yetter, Forbes Biological Station, Frank C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center

ABSTRACT: The Illinois River Valley (IRV) serves as a crucial stopover area for migratory shorebirds in the midwestern United States despite the high prevalence of row crop agriculture and extensive  wetland loss and degradation in the region. Aerial surveys are commonly used to quantify waterfowl abundance and estimate population size, but few attempts have been made to evaluate aerial surveys for other guilds of wetland birds. We investigated whether aerial surveys may provide a good estimate of shorebird use of stopover sites in the IRV. During July-September 2017-2018, and April-May 2018, we conducted concurrent ground and aerial surveys at 5-7 sites per week. Additionally, a single observer counted and assigned all shorebird detections to either "large" (Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous) and larger) or "small" (Pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) and smaller) size classes, and recorded wetland habitat characteristics at a total of 96 surveyed sites in the IRV. The use of ground counts each survey allows for the calculation of aerial detection probability count bias, while using habitat data of the specific count location from the ground as a correction factor. Aerial surveys detected 89% (N = 93, Range = 0%-250%) of individuals counted during ground surveys. The total number of shorebirds counted in the IRV each week ranged from 1,705 to 30,290, with an average of 10,025 birds. Aerial surveys appear to be an accurate and efficient method to quantifying shorebird abundance along large-river systems. Future plans include questions associated with stopover duration and which species are present in the IRV. 

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C