The Welder Wildlife Refuge is located in one of the largest avian migratory flyways in North America. Thousands of migratory species pass through and stopover on the Refuge during the fall and spring migration seasons. It is an important site for breeding birds as well. As a result, many of our graduate student research projects focus on avian species and their habitat. Since 2009, we have conducted long-term research on avian species occurring in mixed-brush communities on the Refuge. This data is also provided to the Institute of Bird Populations for their Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) research program. Refuge staff, graduate students, and dedicated volunteers assist with mist netting, capturing, banding, and collecting age and sex data on all species captured and encountered at our station. Since 1989, more than 1,200 MAPS stations spread across nearly every state and Canadian province have collected more than 2.5 million bird capture records. The data we collect can be used in estimating key demographic parameters or vital rates that include productivity, recruitment, and survival of individual bird species. This information helps scientists understand which life stages may be most important in limiting population growth or causing declines. Our MAPS station runs 10 periods in the summer from May through July, and all birds are released safely once data is collected.
Visit our Fellows Research page to learn more about bird research being funded by the Welder Wildlife Foundation.