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Monitoring birds at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Grandfather, Paintbrush, and Ionia Ridge Prairies began in 2011 and will continue for at least 15 years. We adopted the Institute for Bird Populations' Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) protocol for this project. Over the long term, this methodology will help us determine the effect of prairie quality on breeding birds as the MDC continues its habitat restoration activities.
The first season of this prairie research project ended with 682 birds of 41 species banded. A document showing the results for each site during 2011 may be downloaded here. Some of the captured species, such as Grey Catbird, are not grassland-obligate species but are abundant in the shrubby draws that intersect the prairie sites. Others, such as Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, and Field Sparrow, are true grassland birds. Late in the season, we refined our net-placement such that more of these prairie species are sampled. We're also employing song recording equipment that will allow us to more accurately assess the presence and abundance of species captured in low numbers. Species that have been banded thus far include the aforementioned sparrows, Yellow-breasted Chat, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Meadowlark (above), Eastern Kingbird, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Mockingbird, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Blue Grosbeak, and Bell's Vireo.
In 2012 we relocated to a new site at Ionia Ridge that will allow us to sample remnant native prairie, a warm-season grass/forb planting done by the MDC in 2009, and a cool-season grass area, all within the same MAPS site! We've also incorporated daily point counts and spot-mapping surveys to our MAPS operation at all sites, allowing us to document the presence and abundance of species that are not as readily captured in mist-nets. For some results and comparison data for 2011-2012, please download here.
This project was made possible in 2011 with support from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, and in 2012 by the Missouri Department of Conservation's Wildlife Diversity Fund. Special thanks to Aaron Stelker, Veronica Mecko, and Dr. Ken Levenstein for running the project during its pilot year in 2011.
The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program was pioneered in 1989 by David DeSante to assess and monitor the vital rates and population dynamics of North American landbirds and inform bird conservation efforts. Each summer dedicated volunteers, interns and staff operate bird-banding stations across the United States (see below) to collect data on breeding birds using MAPS protocol. For more information about this nationwide program visit http://www.birdpop.org/maps.htm. There are very few MAPS stations currently operated in Missouri (purple dots, Right).
A MAPS station is operated very differently from a migration banding station. MAPS stations consist of 10 nets placed within a defined 20-hectare area. The nets are opened only once every ten days throughout the summer breeding season. This allows us to monitor the presence, abundance, and reproductive output of passerine birds with by trapping both adults and fledglings over the course of the summer. Operation once in ten days will ensure that the local, territorial birds do not become "net wary".
MRBO's three MAPS stations are located in the prairies around Cole Camp and Sedalia, MO. Native prairie was once abundant in Missouri (see map, left) but >99% has been converted to agriculture or cattle grazing since European settlement. The Missouri Prairie Foundation and the Missouri Department of Conservation have been active in restoring native prairies throughout the state. Our MAPS station will provide data on bird use of prairies in three stages of restoration: low quality (unrestored or in the beginning stages of restoration), medium quality, and high quality (at or very close to the native plant diversity of unaltered prairie).
Typical prairie birds we encountered include: (top) Eastern Meadowlark (lower left): Bell's Vireo, and (lower right): Henslow's Sparrow. Bell's Vireo was first discovered in Missouri, and was originally called Greenlet.
Conservation in Missouri through research, education, and outreach
Staff| Board of Directors | Partnerships | Migration Banding | Marshbird Surveys | MAPS | Backyard Banding
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Director: Dana Ripper: email@example.com
Assistant Director: Ethan Duke: firstname.lastname@example.org
MRBO Office: 660.886.8788
A 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization located in Marshall, MO