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June 2022

The Audubon Bird Research Email Newsletter provides you with monthly updates outlining the work we are doing as part of the scientific research initiative at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. You will also receive emails when we are in need of volunteers for projects. Suggestions and questions regarding the newsletter can be sent to Dr. Charles Clarkson, Audubon Director of Avian Research,

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A Reminder of Why We Do What We Do

I am proud to be an Ornithologist. It has been my calling from a young age. I want to help birds to the extent that I am able. I do this by engaging in scientific research and communicating that research to the general public. Science communication is critically important and a very effective way to impassion others to do what they can to aid in the conservation of our natural resources. I find that the biggest hurdle to making meaningful connection with the general public is convincing people that they are a part of nature and not apart from nature. The distinction is massive.

In my next newsletter, I plan to communicate to all of you the information that I received during the Ornithological Conference. New, cutting edge science regarding the best tools at our disposal for bird conservation, should not be confined to conference rooms filled with scientists. It should be disseminated to a larger audience. And that is what I plan to do. Stay tuned!

Research Update

It is breeding season! The migrants have officially passed through our state and the remaining birds are here with plans to increase their genetic stock. Across our refuges, volunteers are surveying breeding birds using a standardized protocol provided to them during online training sessions. In addition, our Acoustic Recording Units (ARUs) have been deployed across 6 refuges since the first week of April and have now recorded the entire migrating and breeding bird communities within range of their microphones.

Next Chapters

A considerable amount of time will be put into the analysis of our pilot year of data. From this information, key decisions regarding conservation and management plans will be made at Audubon. One of those decisions is the creation of our list of “Responsibility Birds”, the species we will ultimately target with research and for which we will create tailored management plans. Many species experiencing steep population declines across their geographical range can be found nesting at our refuges. One such species is the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), which is declining at a rate of 2.6% per year over the past 50-years in the region (BBS). It just so happens that the George B. Parker Woodland hosts one of the densest breeding populations of this species in the state. This type of information will be critical in understanding how we can have the most positive impact on bird conservation in Rhode Island.

I look forward to digging into all of the data in the coming fall/winter. But for now, it’s field season!

Citizen Science Projects

Blog: Bird Research at Audubon

Audubon has been monitoring the situation regarding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Recently, a number of dead shore- and seabirds have been found along the Rhode Island coast - testing has not yet confirmed the presence of HPAI in these birds. Join us on Wednesday, July 13th at 6 pm for a Town Hall with Dr. Charles Clarkson where he will provide an overview of HPAI, the impacts to date on bird populations, and the outlook for the fall migratory season. A Q&A period will follow the presentation. Click to read more.

In this Issue: A Reminder of Why We Do What We Do; Research Updates; Next Chapters; Citizen Science projects. Click here to subscribe to the Audubon bird research email newsletter!

With growing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides impact so much more than their intended targets, it is incumbent on us to spend time and energy scrutinizing their use in our state.

Learn More About Bird Research at Audubon