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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Monday, November 2 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Determining Breeding Origins and Stopover Patterns of Four Migrant Songbird Species in Northern Alabama Using Stable Isotope and Molecular Methods

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Mercedes Bartkovich, Dr. Yong Wang –Alabama A&M University

Determining the breeding, or natal, origin of a population of migratory birds is essential for understanding factors that could be responsible for population changes. Migratory bird species have different migratory and energy reserve strategies that vary based on sex, age class, and breeding origin. This research examines the breeding origins and stopover patterns of four Neotropical migratory songbird species: Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina; n=85), Eastern Wood-pewee (Contopus viren; n=79), Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis; n=123), and Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla; n=120). During the fall of 2007 and 2008 in the Walls of Jericho, Jackson Co., AL, 407 individuals were captured, banded, measured, and had two tail rectrices removed. Molt origin of these individuals was estimated using stable hydrogen isotope (deuterium) analysis of the collected feathers. In conjunction with isotope analysis, DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction will be performed to determine the gender of each individual since these species are sexually monomorphic. Preliminary analyses indicate that the Ovenbird had the broadest and most northerly breeding grounds, while the Wood Thrush, Eastern Wood-pewee and Gray Catbird had more southerly breeding origins. There was a negative relationship between the deuterium values and timing of migration, meaning that individuals that bred the furthest north migrated through our stopover site later in the season. Examining breeding sites and stopover patterns, such as timing of migration and energetic conditions, will improve our understanding of the connectivity of migratory songbirds and enable the development of more effective conservation strategies for these bird populations.

Monday November 2, 2015 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
Ballroom Salon B

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