Please welcome guest-blogger Anna Tisdale. As a member of the Golden-winged Warbler field team, Anna’s research this season will help Audubon North Carolina’s conservation efforts to protect the birds in Western North Carolina.
I must say it was hard to focus on wrapping up my first academic year at Appalachian State University. This was not due to any lack of enthusiasm, but rather a shift in it, as the Golden-wings were on the move in mid April! I started to naturally wake up at 5:00am! Our first male was spotted at Hampton Creek Cove Natural Area on April 24th and officially kicked off the season.
This year, we have four techs returning; they learned the ropes last year and are back for more. John Jones and I will be continuing our master’s research with more in-depth behavioral data collection. We will measure aggression between Golden-Wings, as well as amongst other species, plumage characteristics and provisioning rates of parents by using video footage at a sample of active nests.
We are proud that two of our returning techs, Clifton Avery and Alex Dawson, have graduated with their bachelor’s degrees from ASU. Instead of celebrating with a road trip, they are excited to join us in the field to see how the Golden-Wings are doing!
To date, we have confirmed four returning males, but birds are still coming into their territories. Our experience field crew has banded seven new males with more being banded everyday. The first nest is just around the corner, as we spotted females at three sites already.
In addition to our returning techs, we have had great interest from ASU undergraduates to volunteer and participate in data collection that will strengthen our efforts. We are happy to have new and eager folks out there as well as collaborating with our returning partners and landowners.
We couldn’t do any of this without their continuous support. Stay tuned for more updates as the season progresses!