2014 Spring NC PIF Meeting

The 2014 Spring NCPIF Meeting will be held in conjunction with the North Carolina Chapter of the Wildlife Society at Haw River State Park, February 25-26, 2014. This years’ NCTWS theme is “Adaptive Management: Food Plots to Ecological Restoration”. Participants will have an opportunity to tour Sandhills Game Land on February 24th and listen to presentations related to wildlife management and conservation. While we encourage everyone to participate in both meeting days, NCPIF participants will have the option to attend Wednesday the 26th only, when talks will focus on bird conservation issues.

More information is available at the NC TWS website, including the full agenda and registration details.

 

 

NCPIF Presentations will take place Feb. 26th, 2014


1130     Predicting Bird Distributions in Southern Appalachian Forests Using Remotely-Sensed Vegetation and Fire Severity Indices
Eli Rose, North Carolina State University

1200     LUNCH

100       Brown-Headed Nuthatches in Suburban Environment: The Role of Nest Site Competition
Mark Stanback, Davidson College

130       Fire Bird: Status of the Bachman’s Sparrow in North Carolina
Jeff Marcus, Scott Anderson, John Carpenter, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

200       Golden-winged Warblers:  Current research and findings and things to come
Curtis Smalling, North Carolina Audubon Society

230       BREAK

300       Avian Knowledge Network and the Eastern Avian Data Center
Troy Wilson, United States Fish & Wildlife Service

330       Long-standing Cooperation Between NCWRC and Corps of Engineers Provides Positive Results for Shore- and Colonial Waterbirds
Sara Schweitzer, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

400       North Carolina Partners in Flight
Scott Anderson, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

430       ADJOURN

 

 

Predicting Bird Distributions in Southern Appalachian Forests Using Remotely-Sensed Vegetation and Fire Severity Indices

Eli Rose, North Carolina State University

Current and past fire management practices shape the habitats that birds depend on, resulting in unique avian communities.  By understanding how natural and human induced processes shape the landscape and biotic communities thereon, we see otherwise elusive, long-term patterns of species prevalence.

Bio

Although my research interests are broad, they tend to present themselves at the interface of conservation and management.  I find questions about the mechanisms behind changes in species distributions most stimulating.  Currently I am pursuing a MS degree in the department of Applied Ecology at NCSU.  I am using remote sensing to evaluate how avian communities respond to different fire histories within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Brown-headed Nuthatches in Suburban Environments: The Role of Nest Site Competition

Mark Stanback, Davidson College

Declines in Brown-headed Nuthatch numbers in recent decades are generally attributed to loss and alteration of ideal habitat.  My students and I have shown that Brown-headed Nuthatches are less dependent on pristine habitat than is generally realized.  In fact, these birds can thrive in suburban habitats when nest site competition with Eastern Bluebirds is reduced: nuthatch numbers increase when bluebird-proof nest boxes are provided, nuthatches are usurped by bluebirds when both species compete for standard bluebird boxes.  Pairing standard boxes does not allow for coexistence: bluebirds exclude nuthatches (and chickadees) from vacant boxes near their own.  We are currently examining nest site competition between Brown-headed Nuthatches and Carolina Chickadees.

Bio

Mark Stanback grew up in Salisbury, NC and attended Davidson College as an undergraduate.  For his PhD at UC Berkeley, he studied cooperative breeding in Acorn Woodpeckers.  As a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington, he examined the hormonal correlates of cooperative breeding in Acorn Woodpeckers.  Following this, he studied hatching asynchrony, brood reduction, sperm storage, and sperm competition in Namibian hornbills.  He has been teaching at Davidson College since 1995.  He and his students study the behavioral ecology of Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, House Wrens, Tree Swallows, and Eastern Screech-owls.

 

Fire Bird: Status of the Bachman’s Sparorow in North Carolina

Jeff Marcus, John Carpenter, Scott Anderson

The Bachman’s sparrow is a bird closely tied to the longleaf pine ecosystem which has been experiencing a significant range contraction and population decline over the past few decades.  NC Wildlife Resources Commission biologists are attempting to determine the current distribution and status in NC with a range-wide survey covering both private and public lands.  Formerly found in NC through the northern fall line, eastern piedmont, and across much of Sandhills and southern coastal plain, the species is now found only in the Sandhills and lower SE coastal plain, with a small remnant population in between.  Formerly documented in a variety of habitats with grassy groundcover, it is presently found only in fire managed longleaf pine woodlands.  This talk will discuss current distribution patterns, habitat use, and strategies for recovery of this icon of longleaf pine forests.

Bio

Jeff Marcus has worked with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for 12 years and currently supervises a staff of Wildlife Diversity biologists in the Piedmont region.  In addition to bird studies, Jeff and his staff work on herp surveys, habitat management, and land conservation efforts.  He graduated with an M.S. from NC State and previously worked with endangered birds in Texas and Nebraska.

John Carpenter has worked for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for 4 years as the Coastal Plain landbird wildlife biologist. He received a M.S. from Alabama A&M studying cerulean warblers, which he now monitors along the Roanoke River in NC.  His highlight of 2013 would be flying in a Maule MX-7 while looking for and eventually finding a swallow-tailed kite nest.

Scott Anderson has worked for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission since 2004, most recently as a Bird Conservation Biologist. He is the coordinator for North Carolina Partners in Flight and the North Carolina Birding Trail. He received an M.S. from Oregon State University studying the foraging ecology of Caspian terns in the Columbia River estuary.

Golden-winged Warblers:  Current research and findings and things to come

Curtis Smalling, NC Audubon Society

There has been much research and activity on this species over the last 10 years and this presentation will summarize recent advances in the science of the biology and management of the bird both here and in the tropics.  Recent attempts to increase management for the species will also be discussed.

Bio

Director of Land Bird Conservation – Curtis, based in Boone, NC works with land bird conservation and the Important Bird Areas Program across North Carolina and the region.  He has worked with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Wood Thrush and currently is an active researcher and member of the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group, both for breeding birds as well as on their wintering grounds. 

Avian Knowledge Network and the Eastern Avian Data Center

Troy Wilson, US Fish & Wildlife Service

The Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) is an international organization of government and non-gonvernment institutions focused on understanding patterns and dynamic of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere. The AKN provides a common location for storage and retrieval of bird survey data, operating through a network of thematic and regional nodes. Troy will present the current effort to establish an Eastern Avian Data Center, providing a clearinghouse for bird survey data on the East Coast.

Bio

Troy Wilson is a regional nongame bird biologist with the USFWS Migratory Bird Program in the Southeast.  He has served as co-chair for Southeast Partners in Flight since 2011 and focuses on coordinating waterbird and shorebird conservation activities throughout the region.

Long-standing Cooperation Between NCWRC and Corps of Engineers Provides Positive Results for Shore- and Colonial Waterbirds

Sara Schweitzer, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

A cooperative agreement established in the late 1970s between the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Wilmington District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use dredged sandy material for the benefit of shorebirds and colonial-nesting waterbirds resulted in enhanced distribution and numbers of these birds. During fall 2012 and winter 2012-2013, NCWRC and the Corps worked on plans to put sandy material on islands in the Pamlico Sound that experienced increased cover of grassy and shrub vegetation, precluding use of the islands by beach-nesting birds. Once plans were agreed upon, contracts were developed between the Corps and dredging companies. Work began in October 2012 and continued through early April 2013. NCWRC monitored islands that received dredged sandy material and those that did not through the 2013 nesting season to determine response of nesting birds to restoration of early-successional, sandy habitat. As hypothesized, shore- and colonial-nesting waterbirds used restored habitats during 2013. Species composition and numbers of nests among islands will be presented and discussed.

Bio

Sara Schweitzer studied Least Terns, American Avocets, and Snowy Plovers in the central flyway during her Ph.D. research in Oklahoma. From Oklahoma, she moved to Athens, Georgia, where she and her graduate students continued research on shore- and waterbirds. She moved back to her home state of NC in summer 2010, and is the Coastal Waterbird Biologist for the Wildlife Diversity program, and is involved in research, monitoring, surveys, outreach and education, and providing technical guidance. Her research includes Great Egrets, American Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, Black Rails, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, terns, and skimmers. She'll lead the 2014 coastwide survey of colonial-nesting waterbirds beginning May 2014, and will accept any and all volunteers for this interesting and fun experience. Sara is on the PIF Council and is the Chair of the PIF/Shorebird/Waterbird Working Group for the Bird Conservation Committee of AFWA.

North Carolina Partners in Flight

Scott Anderson, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Scott will present recent activity within the Partners in Flight community, including results and ongoing efforts stemming from the 5th International Partners in Flight Meeting in 2013. In addition, Scott will present future opportunities for engagement.

Bio

Scott Anderson has worked for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission since 2004, most recently as a Bird Conservation Biologist. He is the coordinator for North Carolina Partners in Flight and the North Carolina Birding Trail. He received an M.S. from Oregon State University studying the foraging ecology of Caspian terns in the Columbia River estuary.