A Seasonal Denouement

MRBO Scope

MRBO’s Scope of work during the year. Projects range from Prairie Surveys, Wetland Surveys, Bottomland Forest Surveys, to Education and Outreach.

Autumn, a season of change in the temperate natural world is also a transitional time for MRBO. Each year this season marks the culmination of all the work during the spring and summer field seasons. Long days of summer with the added requirement of waking predawn have shortened to restful, cool days of report writing and occasional  surveys punctuated by educational events.

Although writing reports may seem mundane, we enjoy discovering what the birds have to tell us and translating that information for land managers, landowners, and the public. This year we found that spring rains displaced many of our breeding wetland birds.

In General, prairie bird densities declined in 2015 after a relative boom year in 2014. Bottomland forest birds are holding on the few remaining areas they have available to them, with Swainson’s Warbler in very low numbers.

2015 Grand River Grassland Bird-Friendless Scores and Densities

Comparative bird densities in one priority geography and bird-friendliness scores.

There are many property specific details to interpret as well. How did grazing effect “X” species? How are the restoration efforts to provide more habitat working? As a means of measuring each property’s contribution to bird conservation, we have developed a “Bird-friendliness” scoring system. This metric is based on density of species of varying conservation value and the overall diversity of prairie-obligate birds.

Much of this information will be in our reports this year as well as in accessible maps online. Of the over 40,000 exact bird locations we have compiled of the past few years, over 20,000 are on public prairies alone and this will soon be unveiled online in a searchable format. Summary Map views will also be available, too. For a sneak peak, visit https://mrbo.maps.arcgis.com

So… it is an end… and also a beginning…

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