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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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Poster [clear filter]
Tuesday, January 29
 

6:00pm

(P07) Agricultural Neonicotinoid Use and Common Grackle Decline in Central Illinois
AUTHORS. Noah P. Horsley; Michael P. Ward; Thomas J. Benson – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT. The Common Grackle was once one of the most abundant bird species in the Midwest, numbering almost 200 million individuals as recently as 1960 (Sauer et al. 2017). However, steady decline over the past 40 years has reduced this figure by 60%, to roughly 73 million. This makes the Common Grackle one of the most rapidly declining common birds in America (NABCI 2014). Interestingly, the most precipitous decline began around 2000 in the intensely agricultural eastern tallgrass prairie region. This coincided with the mainstream adoption of neonicotinoid seed treatments in U.S. agriculture. Neonicotinoids, currently the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide, have been connected to avian declines in Europe and the United States (Stanton & Clark 2018).  We are investigating a possible causal relationship between neonicotinoid seed treatments and Common Grackle decline by studying the nest success and post-fledgling survival of Common Grackles nesting in agricultural landscapes. In our first of two field seasons (2018), we monitored 56 nests across three sites in Champaign County, IL. From these nests, we banded 50 nestlings and tracked the activity and survival of 22 fledglings using hand-held and automated telemetry. Reproductive success will be evaluated by estimating nest success using a logistic exposure model and post-fledgling survival using a known-fate mark-recapture model. We expect the results of this study will serve as a foundation for investigating the role agricultural neonicotinoid use may be playing in Common Grackle decline.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P08) Analyzing the Potential Change in Behavior of Cerulean Warblers (Setophaga cerulea) in Response to an Avian Nest Predator
AUTHORS. Alexander Sharp, Kamal Islam – Ball State University

ABSTRACT. The Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea), a small, neo-tropical migrant, has gained significant attention in recent years as a species that has declined faster than any other North American songbird. Since 2007, we have been monitoring Cerulean Warbler populations within the Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests of Southern Indiana. Previous studies on cavity nesting and communal cup nesting species suggest that parents will adjust their behavior in response to an avian nest predator, to either avoid detection, or to fend off the predator. These behaviors include mobbing, selective provisioning of nestlings, and increased vigilance and aggression on the nest. Studies suggest that forest fragmentation positively impacts nest predators, and in-turn leads to an increase in nest predation. The objective of this study is to determine if and how Cerulean Warblers change their behavior when a common avian nest predator, Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), is in the vicinity of the nest. In the summer of 2018, we conducted a preliminary study on seven Cerulean Warbler nests found at our study sites. During the observation period, three of the nests were randomly assigned to a control group, and subjected to Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) vocalizations, and the other four nests were assigned to a treatment group, and subjected to Blue Jay vocalizations. We videotaped parents at the nest during the observation period to analyze their behavior. The results of this preliminary study will be presented. This study is the first to analyze the behavior of an open-cup, canopy nesting species in response to an avian nest predator. Data collected from this study will determine if Cerulean Warblers alter their behavior to avoid detection of their nest, and may help shed some light on the causes of poor nesting success in this species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P09) Breeding Ecology of Waterbirds in a Restored Floodplain of the Illinois River Valley
AUTHORS. Macayla Greider, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center-Forbes Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Dr. Joseph Lancaster, Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center-Forbes Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Aaron Yetter, Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center-Forbes Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Dr. Jacob Straub, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point

ABSTRACT. Having directly restored, enhanced, and protected greater than 2,700 ha of former floodplain wetlands and associated uplands in the central Illinois River valley, the Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve is the most substantial floodplain restoration effort in the region to date. The restoration has provided critical nesting habitat for many waterbird species, including species of conservation concern such as Least Bittern, Black-Crowned Night Heron, and Common Gallinule. Since 2013, Forbes Biological Station has conducted nest searches in two distinct wetland vegetation communities, dense emergent and hemi-marsh vegetation. We evaluated nest density, nest success, and nest characteristics of marsh birds during June and July of each year. Nest searches were performed in random plots (0.2 ha) that were generated in ArcGIS and we also found nests incidentally when travelling between plots The addition of a water control structure in summer 2016 increased water management capabilities at Emiquon Preserve and restored river floodplain connectivity. In 2018 managers implemented a drawdown designed to restore moist soil vegetation and provide opportunity to perform levee repairs and this allowed us a unique opportunity to evaluate the effects of the drawdown on waterbird nesting ecology. We will compare data from summer 2018 with all previous monitoring years and compare estimates and characteristics of nest density and survival. This may provide valuable insight into how small habitat manipulations can have a large impact on marshbird breeding strategies. This multi-year research project will continue to provide information to adaptively manage and improve Emiquon Preserve and areas like it using nesting waterbirds as an environmental indicator and sentinel of wetland quality.    

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P10) Determining Acoustic Components to Drumming Log Selection in Male Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
AUTHORS. Jeffrey Williams, Benjamin Tjepkes, Joseph Quehl, Brandon Rochefort, Rachel Martin, Dr. Jason Riddle – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT. Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) are an important game bird in the Great Lakes region. Males perform a unique drumming display atop fallen logs to attract females and maintain their territory. We aim to evaluate drumming log selection in northern Wisconsin as part of a UW-Stevens Point Wildlife Society research project. Auditory drumming surveys were conducted between the months of March and May of 2016 and 2017 to locate used logs. We plan to use the Sound Mapping Tools ArcGIS toolbox to assess where the sound of the drumming is being heard, while accounting for several biotic and abiotic factors. Then we will compare the area of sound propagation of these points to random points throughout the property. Using these methods, we hope to see whether ruffed grouse are selecting drumming logs for their acoustic value. This information will be used to better understand how drumming logs are selected by male ruffed grouse.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P11) Determining the Sizes of Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) Home Range and Territory with Radio Telemetry
AUTHORS. Brandon Connare, Kamal Islam – Ball State University

ABSTRACT. The Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea), a once common neo-tropical migrant throughout its breeding range, is one of the fastest declining North American wood-warblers.  Listed as state-endangered in Indiana and a species of conservation concern across its range, this small songbird has recently been the subject of much research throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.  Over the past 10 years, we have been monitoring Cerulean Warbler breeding populations at Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe state forests in Southern Indiana as part of a larger 100-year project, the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment.  This long term study intends to determine the effect of a variety of forestry practices on local plant and animal communities.  Understanding the impacts of forest management practices on Cerulean Warbler populations is reliant upon accurate estimations of the size of home range and territory.  Previous research conducted at our study sites and elsewhere mapped Cerulean Warbler territories by following males and recording song-perch locations, which is difficult due to this species’ tendency to stay high up in the forest canopy.  For similar reasons, studies examining the size of this species’ home range outside of its defended territory have not been previously conducted.  Our objective is to determine the size and seasonal plasticity of Cerulean Warbler territories and home ranges throughout the nesting cycle.  In the summer of 2018, we conducted a pilot study on five male Cerulean Warblers using radio-transmitters.  We tracked and recorded each bird’s location throughout its home range and territory.  We present preliminary results from our study.  A better understanding of Cerulean Warbler movements in its territory and home range is vital for the management and conservation of this declining species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P12) Energetic Carrying Capacity of Submersed Aquatic Vegetation in Semi-Permanent Marshes in the Upper Midwest
AUTHORS. Margaret Gross, Western Illinois University/Illinois Natural History Survey-Forbes Biological Station; Heath Hagy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Christopher Jacques, Western Illinois University; John Simpson, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy; Sean Jenkins, Western Illinois University; J. Brian Davis, Mississippi State University; Joseph Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey-Forbes Biological Station; Aaron Yetter, Illinois Natural History Survey-Forbes Biological Station

ABSTRACT. Wetland management efforts often target seasonal wetlands because these habitats are considered the most valuable for waterfowl.  Understanding the distribution and availability of waterfowl food resources has become especially important amid the loss and degradation of wetland habitats.  Waterfowl managers typically estimate the energetic carrying capacity of a wetland by using bioenergetics models to compare energy demand to energy supply.  An efficient method for estimating food density utilizes visual indices and predictive equations, though previous attempts to develop predictive equations to estimate aquatic plant biomass are lacking.  Furthermore, aquatic vegetation density estimates are lacking for many of the semi-permanent marshes found throughout the Joint Venture, which could cause slight inaccuracies in bioenergetic model parameters.  We estimated the energetic carrying capacity of submersed aquatic vegetation for 20 wetland sites within the JV, which was expressed as energetic use days (EUD).  Six of the 20 wetland sites were sampled multiple years and the remaining 14 sites were sampled only once during summer 2015–2017.  Additionally, we evaluated a rapid assessment technique to estimate submersed aquatic vegetation biomass using percent horizontal coverage of each vegetation species, secchi depth, water depth, and vegetation species specific TMEN estimates.  The average energetic carrying capacity among wetland sites and years was 403,521 ± 139, 356 EUD and ranged from 4,114 EUD to 3,761,747 EUD.  The submersed aquatic vegetation rapid assessment technique facilitated the development of a predictive index, which was correlated with estimates of submersed aquatic vegetation biomass (kg/ha; R<sup>2</sup><sub>adj</sub> = 0.58, P < 0.0001) and EUD (R<sup>2</sup><sub>adj</sub> = 0.64, P < 0.0001).  Our results will be useful to conservation planners for estimating energetic carrying capacities of semi-permanently-flooded marsh habitats, which will aid in projecting impacts of wetland management alternatives (i.e., semi-permanently-flooded marsh versus moist-soil management).

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P13) Estimating Abundance of Marshbirds in Wetlands Managed for Waterfowl
AUTHORS. Therin Bradshaw, Western Illinois University/Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University; Heath M. Hagy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Joseph D. Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station; Abigail G. Blake-Bradshaw, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT. It is widely assumed that waterfowl management activities benefit a variety of wetland dependent birds, but few studies have empirically evaluated those benefits or tradeoffs among multi-species management strategies. In particular, 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. We assessed marsh bird abundance of wetlands across Illinois to better understand how natural wetland characteristics, impoundment management for waterfowl, and surrounding landscape characteristics influence marsh bird abundance of wetlands. During late spring and early summer 2015–2017, we conducted call-back surveys to assess marsh bird abundance of wetlands with respect to wetland characteristics and management throughout Illinois. We surveyed marsh birds three times annually at focal sites (i.e., passive or active management for waterfowl), random sites (i.e., emergent, pond, or lake polygons from the National Wetland Inventory), and Critical Trends Assessment Program (CTAP) sites (i.e., wetlands from the Illinois Natural History Survey’s CTAP). Marsh bird abundance was positively correlated with percent area cover inundation, greatest at 100% area inundated (abundance = 15.0, SE = 0.52), and lowest at 0% inundated (abundance = 0.99, SE= 0.11) following a logistic curve. Detection probability decreased with ordinal date, for every week delay in marsh bird survey detection declined 10.7% (SE=0.2) at 50 meters. Our results suggest that inundation is related to marsh bird abundance and managers increasing marsh bird abundance on the landscape should hold water at levels suitable for marsh bird nesting creating habitat that provides both nest security and food for foraging.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P14) Evaluating Sub-lethal Infections of Sphaeridiotrema Spp. and Cyathocotyle Bushiensis Trematodes in Captive Lesser Scaup
AUTHORS. Cheyenne R. Beach, Western Illinois University; Rebecca A. Cole, US Geological Survey; Joseph D. Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station; Aaron P. Yetter, Illinois Natural History Survey - Forbes Biological Station; Heath M. Hagy, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University

ABSTRACT. During spring and fall migrations throughout the upper Midwest, US, thousands of lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) die from Cyathocotyle bushiensis (Cb) and Sphaeridiotrema spp. (Ss) (Class: Trematoda) intestinal infections after consuming exotic faucet snails (Bithynia tentaculata). Lesser scaup serve as a final host for Cb and Ss while faucet snails serve as the first and second intermediate hosts for the trematodes. As recommended by previous studies, this experimental study will evaluate the potential effects of sub-lethal infections of trematode parasites on the immunological response, body condition, and survival of migrating lesser scaup across the Upper Mississippi River System. Female lesser scaup will be captured at key mid-latitude stopover sites (Pool 19 of the Mississippi River and Emiquon Preserve) and held at Forbes Biological Station, Havana, IL. Faucet snails will be collected by hand from Pool 7 of the Mississippi River and dissected to recover mature Cb and Ss metacercariae. The captive lesser scaup will undergo repeated or single dose trematode infections and will be euthanized 16 days post-infection to gather information that will provide data to evaluate temporal changes in health along a continuum from initial infection to shedding eggs to point of euthanasia. Addressing basic questions related to physiological responses of lesser scaup to infection with trematodes may aid in formulating potential management strategies to minimize co-occurrence of lesser scaup and infected faucet snails.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D

6:00pm

(P15) Foraging Behavior of Breeding Songbirds in Urban Columbus, Ohio
AUTHORS. Lana Milbern, Stephen Matthews, Ph.D. – The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Urbanization can have profound influences shaping patterns of songbird diversity. For many species urbanization poses considerable challenges yet for in many instances urban areas provide important habitat for songbirds, most notably riparian urban areas. With renewed interest to maintain functioning urban forests, understanding the interactions between songbirds and their urban environments is critical to making informed land management decisions.For our study, we chose to focus on the tree-species preferences for foraging and foraging behaviors of songbirds in restored and unrestored sections of urban riparian forests in Columbus, Ohio USA. The goals of our study are to understand how urban songbirds utilize their floristic environment for foraging, identify foraging-related factors, such as food availability, and identify how forest restoration efforts will affect foraging ecology. To answer these questions, we are conducting spot maps, foraging surveys, vegetation surveys, and arthropod counts at urban and rural sites near Columbus, Ohio from May to August in 2018 and 2019. Preliminary data show that urban songbirds most often forage on Acer negundo and Juglans nigra. During Autumn 2018, invasive plants will be removed and two-year-old saplings will be planted in sections of the urban sites. In the spring of 2019, spot maps and foraging surveys will be conducted at these reforestation plots to observe how urban songbirds utilize these saplings for foraging. We hope that this project will help inform urban restoration work in respect to avian conservation.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
SUPERIOR BALLROOM C/D