Introducing the Rapid Assessment of Stopover Site (RASS) Working Group

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.

We are pleased to announce a new working group, which will be led by MMN Leadership Team member, Dr. Jared Wolfe.

This past winter, a small group from the MMN Steering Committee developed a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) proposal focused on (1) developing and implementing a Rapid Assessment of Stopover Site (RASS) habitat quality, (2) identification of drivers of habitat quality across the Great Lakes Basin, both at the landscape and local scales, and (3) developing a Decision Support Tool to help manage high quality stopover habitat in the Great Lakes Basin. The project was submitted through a US Forest Service (USFS) collaborator and was selected to be fully funded.

Although the project will not officially start until funds are released sometime in the spring of 2023, there has been an interest from MMN members in helping develop the project. As such, through the establishment of a RASS Working Group, we plan to discuss the project, objectives and potential areas for collaboration.

If you are interested in joining the RASS Working Group, please contact Jared Wolfe to be added to the group email list.

MMN Motus Webinars Coming in December 2022

Motus station
Photo by Amber Roth

Announcing two MMN Motus-based webinars for the Midwest in December! Please read descriptions carefully, these webinars will not cover an Introduction to Motus but rather potential future Motus-tagging efforts at a regional level and technical details of Motus station placement! We hope you can join us. We also encourage you to sign up on our Midwest Motus Contact List to assist in partner knowledge sharing on station placement, Motus tagging, and tag analysis.

December 2, 9-11 AM CST: Midwest Motus Tagging Brainstorming Session to discuss future tagging efforts at a regional scale, research questions, potential species, and possible avenues to get the work done. Sarah Kendrick will give a brief introduction to Motus-tagging opportunities and challenges for some species in addition to discussions and considerations from other regional Motus-tagging planning sessions. Then the group will walk through a few brainstorming activities and capture participants’ ideas online using Jamboard. Microsoft Teams meeting link: Click here to join the meeting.

December 5: 9-11 AM CST: Midwest Motus Technical Webinar: Station Placement. The Midwest Migration Network’s Telemetry Initiative will be joined by Motus station expert Todd Alleger (Northeast Motus Collaboration and Willistown Conservation Trust) who will present on the nitty gritty logistics of station site selection and placement – the things we often don’t have time for on our broader Motus webinars. Todd has placed and maintained over 100 Motus stations in the northeastern states and worked through site assessment and placement on buildings, existing towers, placing stand-alone stations in remote areas – he’s seen it all! Please enter your questions or Motus challenges beforehand at this Google Form link or bring questions on the day as well. Todd will present for 45 mins and we will have ample time for Q&A. Microsoft Teams meeting link: Click here to join the meeting.

If interested, please enter your contact information into this Midwest Migration Network Contact List that will be made publicly available on the MMN site to assist in strengthening our partner network. This list will help to connect partners close to you interested in Motus for regional and hemispheric Motus partnerships initiated in the Midwest. You can opt out of making your info publicly viewable in the survey if you wish.

Please email Sarah Kendrick with any questions. Thanks to you all for your continued interest and participation in the MMN Telemetry Initiative!

Inland Bird Banding Association's 100th Annual Meeting: Oct 28-30, 2022

We are pleased to share that the Inland Bird Banding Association 100th Annual Meeting will take place this October 28-30 in Oak Harbor, OH, hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

Conference address:
Energy Harbor Nuclear Corp
Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station
5501 N. State Route 2
Oak Harbor, OH 43449

This year's Conference will feature paper presentations, poster sessions, networking, bird banding, great food, and the chance to visit one of the continent's most important stopover habitats for migratory birds.

More details are available here.

2022 IBBA Conference Keynote Speaker Dr. Auriel Fournier:

Dr. Auriel Fournier is the Director of the Forbes Biological Station and an Assistant Research Scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Auriel completed her PhD with the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Arkansas in 2017. She then joined the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network as a postdoc, working on using structured decision making to better integrate bird monitoring. 

Registration Information:

  • General Registration $100
  • Student Registration $80
  • Saturday Banquet Only $40

Register Here.

Midwest Migration Network 2022 Meeting Series: Now available on YouTube!

Thank you so much to MMN initiative leaders Mark Shieldcastle, Jeff Buler, and Sarah Kendrick, and former initiative leader Joel Merriman, for steering our MMN meeting series this month! In addition, we greatly appreciate our many speakers and over 130 participants who attended the series live.

In case you missed it, full recordings of the series are now available on the MMN YouTube channel

Individual sessions are also linked below:

Thank you to all who made the MMN 2022 meeting series a successful event! The MMN steering committee is already looking forward to providing more opportunities to engage with the network in the future. If you'd like to support the continuation of opportunities like the MMN Virtual Meeting Series, please consider donating to support the network. In addition, if you'd like to stay updated on the latest MMN events, please remember to sign up to be an MMN member

Emily Filiberti: Making international bird connections

Emily Filiberti with a banded male Golden-winged Warbler

University of Maine graduate student Emily Filiberti of Fairfax, Vermont has spent her summer in the woods of Wisconsin tracking forest songbirds.

With the guidance of her adviser Amber Roth, assistant professor of forest wildlife management at UMaine, Filiberti is studying the survival rate of the birds using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, an international network of stations that pick up signals from tagged wildlife.

The morning of June 6, Filiberti noticed an American redstart was lingering near a monitoring location — a sign the bird could be nesting. She pulled up the bird’s records and encountered a familiar name. The tag’s contact was Bryant Dossman, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, who mentored Filiberti during an internship with professor Peter Marra, also of Georgetown.

Filiberti reached out to Dossman, who confirmed he had tagged the redstart on April 5 at the Font Hill Nature Preserve in southwest Jamaica. Filiberti knew the site well; she had spent her internship tagging birds in the preserve.

The quarter-ounce bird had migrated more than 2,000 miles from one forest Filiberti had studied to another.

“She selected a location that was right next to a station I run — someone who once traveled the same paths that she flew over, touched the same trees that she perched on, and overwintered at the Font Hill Nature Preserve,” Filiberti says. “This bird is a subtle reminder of how connected we are as a community, both with one another and with the organisms that surround us.”

A full account of Filiberti’s encounter is on the University of Maine's College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s website.

Contact: Erin Miller,

Coming in August 2022: The MMN’s Virtual Meeting Series!

The Midwest Migration Network is excited to announce our 2022 virtual meeting series for wildlife managers, biologists, scientists, students, and enthusiasts! This year, we will host four meetings focused on each of our initiatives: Banding and Ground Surveys, Great Lakes Wind-Wildlife Coalition, Radar and Acoustics, and Telemetry. During each session, we’ll explore the latest progress from each of our initiatives! All are welcome to join these FREE virtual meetings.

Use this registration link to register for one or all of our MMN virtual meetings!

**UPDATE: You can now view the meeting program here.**

All virtual meetings will take place on Tuesdays in August from 1-3 PM CT/2-4 PM ET. See session descriptions below.

8/2: Banding & Ground Surveys

Join the Banding and Ground Survey Initiative to learn about the launch of a new data submission platform that will be available to bird banders operating during the migratory seasons. We will review our mission to advance a shared protocol for migration surveys and explore new directions for related field work in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

8/9: Radar & Acoustics

Come learn about recent radar and acoustic research studies in the region and discuss how this working group can integrate with other MMN working groups to meet applied research needs for resource managers and conservation practitioners.

8/16: Telemetry

Tune into the Telemetry/Motus Initiative to hear updates on Motus station placement and tagging across the Midwest and parts of the Neotropics, and join our discussion on strategic Motus planning for the region and beyond.

8/23: Great Lakes Wind-Wildlife Coalition

Join the Great Lakes Wind-Wildlife Coalition to learn about our efforts to enable offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes that minimizes impacts on wildlife. We will provide an update on efforts to inventory existing bird and bat data to inform planning, and to develop best practices for field studies and project development. We will be joined by experts who will present exciting new studies and initiatives that will move this emerging industry toward wildlife-friendly practices.

We hope to see you there!