Conference

2022 Virtual OBS Conference

March 5, 2022

The OBS Annual Conference is entirely virtual again! You can watch the presentations below on this year’s theme: Beyond the Basics. As we are once again losing our biggest fund raiser, The Silent Auction, your donations, or membership or renewal will be greatly appreciated. Learn more about the presentors.

Presentations

Invertebrates and Technologies: Direct Connections to Bird Populations

Andy Jones, Ph.D.

Going for the Gold: Three Decades of Prothonary Warbler Husbandry

Dan Best and Rachel McKinney

Bringing Back the Bluebird: Best Practices

Bethany Gray

Orchard Nest Boxes Benefit Falcons and Farmers in Michigan

Megan Shave, Ph.D.

Creative and Meaningful Conservation Projects

Darlene Sillick

European Starlings and House Sparrows – How Bad Can They Be?

Paula Ziebarth 

 

About the Presentations

Invertebrates and Technologies: Direct Connections to Bird Populations

Andy Jones, Ph.D.
William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Chair and Curator of Ornithology 

North American bird populations are constantly fluctuating, but the overall trends are negative for many species. This is particularly true for birds whose livelihoods depend on invertebrates (a year-round diet for some species, and a breeding season dependence for a great many species). Recent research has focused on the impacts of habitat alterations as well as changing climates on invertebrate populations. These global issues feel difficult to respond to, but anyone can have input on parks and their own yards that will be a net positive for birds. Birds also depend on a string of habitats across the hemispheres, as many species cover thousands of miles during migration each year. Motus towers and other tracking technologies are revealing impressive migratory feats as well as providing insights into conservation actions that are needed.

Extreme Home Makeover: Wilds’ Edition—American Kestrels Get New Digs and Flourish

Genelle Uhrig, M.Sc
Director of Ecology – The Wilds

In the Fall of 2020, with a generous donation from the Ohio Bluebird Society coupled with a grant from the Ohio Ornithological Society, 9 new American kestrel nest boxes were installed on telescoping poles at The Wilds. Apprentices monitored the boxes weekly during the 2021 nesting season and found great success. Ms. Uhrig will provide a history of American kestrel monitoring at The Wilds and present the results of last years’ monitoring efforts.

Going for the Gold: Three Decades of Prothonary Warbler Husbandry

Dan Best and Rachel McKinney

2021 was the 30th field season for the Upper Cuyahoga River Prothonotary Warbler Nesting Projects in Geauga County, Ohio. PROW’lers” Dan Best and Rachel McKinney present the trials and triumphs of providing artificial nest cavities (plastic jars) to increase nesting success for a population of prothonotary warblers (PROW, aka: the golden swamp warbler). Included will be techniques for avoiding losses to flood waters, predation, and tree swallow competition. Findings will be shared on longevity, pair bonding and multi-year nest site faithfulness through the use of color bands for individual bird identification. Also addressed are the impacts of house wrens and the weather-related habitat change that has presented challenges to in recent years.

Bringing Back the Bluebird: Best Practices

Bethany Gray

Learn about the plight of Eastern Bluebirds and other native cavity nesting birds, and what you can do to offset the damage done by the loss of nesting habitat, harsh weather, pesticides and fierce competition from non-native House Sparrows. Bethany will provide information about installing nest boxes, how to troubleshoot and protect against predators, and how to share data with scientists.

Orchard Nest Boxes Benefit Falcons and Farmers in Michigan

Megan Shave, Ph.D.

Dr. Megan Shave is interested in the ecological services that birds provide in human-managed landscapes. Her Ph.D. dissertation at Michigan State University investigated the conservation and agricultural uses of nest boxes for American Kestrels in Michigan cherry orchards. In her home state of Massachusetts, she has worked on bird population studies at the Manomet Bird Observatory and Woods Hole Research Center. She is currently the Conservation Agent & Planner for the City of Brockton, where she enjoys keeping an eye on the Peregrine Falcons that nest on a downtown cell tower.

Creative and Meaningful Conservation Projects

Darlene Sillick

Darlene will show some of her projects of 30 years and discuss how to organize, how to get volunteers and how to be a project manager and orchestrate valued conservation projects both locally and around the state.

European Starlings and House Sparrows – How Bad Can They Be?

Paula Ziebarth

Paula Ziebarth (Madame Wingnut) will discuss dangers surrounding the non-native European Starling. The efficacy of both passive and active management strategies will be reviewed.

Thank you, Sponsors!