Our 2022 Partners and Projects
(Click the logos to go to partner websites)
Willistown Conservation Trust Project: Restoring the Ecological Value of Successional Shrub Habitat for Birds
Since wholesale clearing before replanting can lead to significant habitat degradation for wildlife, this project is part of a long-term initiative to replace invasive species with native plant habitat. Therefore this is Phase 1, which is a priority phase of the recently completed Rushton Woods Management Master Plan. The focus for this phase 1 is to plant early successional native species. Not only will this project provide higher quality food during migration, it is also expected to continue to provide cover for post-fledging periods for the adjacent woodland-nesting birds such as Wood Thrush, Veery, Gray Catbird, and many other Species of Greatest Conservation Need according to the PA State Wildlife Action Plan.
Nestled in the center of the Rushton Woods Preserve, this habitat continues to show us how valuable a stopover it can be for songbirds to fuel up. Songbirds can spend up to 30% of their year on migration, but 70% of that time is not spent flying, it’s spent stopping over at sites to fuel up for longer flights (Alerstam & Lindstrom 1990). Birds need to gain fat to make a long flight, and through our recaptures, we can see some of that. In the fall of 2021, we noticed we were catching numerous American Redstarts with a lot of visible fat. While we don’t recapture many birds, we did have one American Redstart that was caught three times in September. This hatch year female bird gained 27% of its body weight in just 10 days!
The Ned Smith Center for Art and Nature’s project: The "Bird Conservation Blitz” in Dauphin County, will help to fund the creation of sustainable habitat along the Wiconisco Creek, Lykens Valley Rail Trail, and the Ned Smith Center Grounds for a variety of bird species through invasive plant control and plantings of native, bird-friendly shrubs and trees. Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers, as well as other birds, will benefit from this habitat restoration project that is also being funded by the US Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Funding from these two federal agencies have also provided the means for the Ned Smith Center to develop a multifaceted conservation plan.
Funds raised through the Blitz will help support Erie Bird Observatory’s Field Ornithology Summer Internship program, based at Presque Isle State Park. Interns learn field research techniques such as bird banding and survey methods while providing an extra pair of hands and eyes to ongoing bird and habitat monitoring work. Interns assist at the Presque Isle banding station, monitor Bank Swallow colonies, monitor shorebirds and assist with MAPS banding at Bousson Forest in Crawford County. Interns also contribute towards EBO’s engagement with park visitors through bird walks and welcoming visitors to observe bird banding.
This immersive internship allows young avian scientists to develop field research skills that they are unlikely to have the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting, augmenting their academic training. Interns also practice communicating science and promoting better understanding of birds and the natural world to park visitors. EBO believes in providing paid internships to young people.