The Status of Prothonotary Warbler
Over the last 60 years Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) (PROW) has experienced range-wide population declines and has been designated a priority species by Partners in Flight with the goal of reversing population declines (Carter et al 1996). In the State of Ohio, PROW is listed as a species of concern (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife 2020) where the breeding population “has changed substantially during the 20th century” (Rodewald et al 2016). Additionally, PROW is listed as a species of concern in Michigan and is federally listed as endangered in Canada, which encompasses the entirety of PROW’s range due north of Ohio (Michigan Natural Features Inventory 2020, COSEWIC 2016).
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BSBO has conducted long-term monitoring of neotropical migrants since 1991 in the Navarre Marsh Unit (Navarre) of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ottawa County, Ohio. We have documented PROW nesting in the buttonbush swamp and beach ridge habitats and observed family groups during MAPS banding work throughout BSBO’s bird banding research station. Navarre is an important breeding site for this species, but it is also likely an important migrant stopover site, evidenced by annual influxes of PROW during the peak of spring and fall migration according to BSBO’s banding data. In recent years, PROW encounters in Navarre have increased during both spring and fall migration indicating a possible expansion of the local population or populations to the north.
BSBO's Prothonotary Warbler research will help illuminate our understanding of the species' springtime migratory movements and population dynamics near the northern end of their range. Using banding techniques and automated Motus tracking technology, we will collect data on stopover duration in the Navarre Marsh and where tagged individuals travel when they leave. Of particular interest is identifying what routes to more northerly breeding grounds are employed (trans-Lake Erie, circum-Lake Erie, island-hopping, etc.) along with identifying other PROW movements and breeding locations within the local region. Results of this project will be published in a peer-reviewed ornithological journal, shared with land management agencies, and communicated with members of the general public, the birding community, and the bird banding community.
Mark and Cheryl Klimek
Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Bob Scott Placier
Lillian and Don Stokes
Janet Baker Hughes