Are songbirds disappearing?

Be sure to watch SongbirdSOS, on the Nature of Things.  This episode of the nature tv series will detail the threats facing songbirds and the researchers studying these species.  Our own Dr. Erin Bayne will be in this episode!

SongbirdSOS debuts Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 8 pm on CBC-TV.  Read more here:


Job openings with Beaverhill Bird Observatory

Beaverhill Bird Observatory is seeking a biologist/bander for May 1, 2015-March 31, 2016.  Applications are due by March 31!  If interested take a look at the link:  Job Posting Beaverhill Bird Obs head 2015

Additionally, BBO is seeking a seasonal field assistant for May 1-August 31, 2015.  Applications are due March 30.  Job Posting Beaverhill Bird Obs 2015 assistant

Where are the Ferruginous hawks?

It’s that time of year again when we expect wintering Ferruginous Hawks to begin moving northward as they return to their breeding grounds. Currently, the Raptor Ecology and Conservation Team (REACT) is tracking 13 hawks located in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, California, and Coahuila, Mexico on their wintering grounds. See below for a map displaying the southward migration from this fall and the wintering locations where the hawks are currently located. Check back soon for spring migration updates!

adult male Ferruginous hawk
Adult male Ferruginous Hawk 193 prior to release in 2013 (photo credit: Jim Watson).

fall migration map
Nest location, fall 2013 migration, and current wintering ground locations for 13 Ferruginous Hawks captured 2012-2014.

Written by Jesse Watson

New publication!

Climate models forecast major changes for the boreal region, where increased temperatures will result in hotter and drier conditions for forest species.  Large biodiversity datasets and advanced modeling methods have greatly improved scientists’ abilities to project changes in species distribution and abundance. But how useful are these projections, given uncertainties about the future? A new study led by Wild49 members Diana Stralberg and Erin Bayne, published in Ecological Applications ( provides climate-based projections of distribution and abundance for 80 boreal-breeding songbird species over the next 100 years, and demonstrates their utility for wildlife managers, accounting for climate-change uncertainties. A collaboration among researchers from the University of Alberta, Environment Canada, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yukon College, and Université Laval, the study found that, for the North American boreal forest region, the climate-change “signal” in projected songbird responses to climate change exceeds the “noise” stemming from uncertainty associated with future climate and bird models. Researchers used a dataset of over 300,000 breeding bird surveys assembled by the Boreal Avian Modelling Project, combined with downscaled climate projections for North America, to develop these models. They found that, as uncertainty about the details of climate change increases over the coming century, so does the magnitude of projected change.  As a result, informative and reliable models were built for a large majority of species.  Projections from these models, available through Data Basin, can help inform conservation planning priorities, as well as assessments of species’ vulnerability to climate change, and species-specific conservation plans.

StralbergEtAlEcolApplCover (2)by Diana Stralberg

Job Posting: Ferruginous hawk field assistants

Field assistants needed for ferruginous hawk research project.

We are looking to hire 2-3 field assistants for an ongoing collaborative University of Alberta & Environment Canada study on the relationship between Ferruginous Hawks and industrial development in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Tasks include nest searching and monitoring, behavioural observation, capture, banding, automatic recording unit (ARU) setup. Additional duties will include landowner communication, identifying habitat characteristics, and other related tasks.

Applicants must have excellent note-taking skills (detailed and accurate), valid class 5 driver’s license with clean record, be capable of driving long distances, and cannot be afraid of heights, bugs, or heat.  Top applicants will possess: strong communication skills, raptor (and overall avian ID experience), some bird (raptor) handling experience, strong climbing ability, and aptitude for technology based work. Additional assets include driving 4WD trucks, vegetation identification experience, knowledge of Alberta’s Species At Risk, and navigational skills.

Pay rate for field assistants ranges between $2300 – $2800 CDN/month depending on experience.  Housing and food are included while in the field.  Work period typically consists of a 10 days on / 4 days off rotation; this is flexible, but overall work period amounts to 22 days/month.  Work terms starting in both early April continuing through July 31 with the possibility of extension.  Field work is primarily in southern Alberta, with some travel to southern Saskatchewan.

Apply early before the positions are filled! Applications will be accepted until March 6th, 2015. Please send a resume, cover letter, three references, and available start date to: Janet Ng (

PhD Opportunity at Southern Illinois University

PhD Assistantship in Movement Ecology

We seek a PhD student to work on movement ecology of bats, and possibly birds, using cutting-edge automated telemetry. The projects will cover multiple scales from individual foraging ranges to regional migration. The student will work on currently funded projects in Alaska and the Midwest, and we anticipate future funding in others areas as well. The research will require long periods in the field, often in remote locations, so the chosen student must be highly self-sufficient and self-motivated. While not required, previous experience with radio-telemetry is beneficial, and mist-netting experience is desirable. Much of this work will involve development and testing of new radio-telemetry techniques, so creativity, technical problem-solving skills, and strong computer skills are as important as experience with standard radiotelemetry. The student will be supported with a teaching assistantship, although there is a possibility of a research assistantship in the future.

The student will be based in the Boyles Lab ( at Southern Illinois University, and will be co-advised by Dr. Liam McGuire ( at Texas Tech University.

The Boyles Lab is part of the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and the Department of Zoology ( where we have an active and collegial research environment. Carbondale is small town on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, so outdoor recreational activities abound.

Please send an email with a letter describing your interest and experience, a CV, and your unofficial GRE scores to Justin Boyles (

Job Posting: Natural Area Manager

Here is a great opportunity with The Nature Conservancy of Canada:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Alberta Region is looking for two Natural Area Managers for central and southeastern Alberta.

Details are available on the NCC website at:

These are full-time permanent positions, preferably located in the Red Deer and Medicine Hat/Lethbridge areas, respectively.

Resumes should be forwarded to

Application deadline is February 20, 2015