Saturday, October 9
1:30 PM - BANDING NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS IN EASTERN TENNESSEE.
JIM GIACOMO (JGIOCOMO@aol.com), University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) populations
are difficult to monitor during the non-breeding season not
only because they are nocturnal, but also because they are
secretive and generally quiet relative to other owl species.
Recent banding efforts across the eastern US have shown that
this shy owl is easily captured during fall migration. In
2002 and 2003, we established a banding station near Maryville,
Tennessee to determine the feasibility of monitoring Saw-whet
Owls during migration and winter in eastern Tennessee. During
our first year, we ran the station intermittently in the evening
from dusk to between 0100 - 0300 EST for a total of 45 hours
from 27 October through 15 December 2002 and 40 hours from
16 March through 30 March 2003. We caught two females, the
first 22 Nov 2002 and the second 16 March 2003. In our second
season, we banded 27 Northern Saw-whet Owls between 15 November
2003 and 20 January 2004 during a total of 200 hours of effort.
Northern Saw-whet Owls are generally considered uncommon to
rare in the Southeast, but our present study indicates these
small owls may be more common than previously thought. Extrapolating
both our current work and historical records from the Southeast,
we believe there is tremendous potential to increase our understanding
of the ecology of these tiny owls. Following set protocols,
like those of Project Owlnet, provides excellent opportunities
for both the collection of scientific data and education.
1:50 PM - TIMBER HARVEST TO IMPROVE HARDWOOD FOREST HABITAT
FOR SONGBIRDS ON TENNESSEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: EFFECTS
ON AVIAN POPULATION DENSITIES AND NEST SURVIVAL RATES.
BENJAMIN S. THATCHER (email@example.com ) and DAVID A. BUEHLER,
Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, University
of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge has managed its hardwood
forests with experimental selection cutting in an attempt
to increase nesting and foraging substrate for mature forest
songbirds. We present the results from an ongoing study designed
to experimentally test the effects of this management on the
avian community. We measured habitat characteristics and collected
daily nest survival, Brown-headed Cowbird brood parasitism,
and population density data within twelve 20-ha research units,
both prior to and following forest management. Kentucky Warbler
and Indigo Bunting densities increased significantly (>10x)
in harvest vs. reference units 2 years post-treatment. Wood
Thrush densities and nest survival rates decreased in the
harvest units following treatment. In the short-term, proactive
forest management appears to increase avian community diversity
but may have mixed effects on breeding mature forest songbirds.
Results from this study will be used to make recommendations
for adaptive management.
2:10 PM - DO EPHEMERAL PONDS PROVIDE HABITAT FOR BIRDS?
BRETT R. SCHEFFERS (firstname.lastname@example.org), J. BERT C. HARRIS,
and David G. HASKELL, The University of the South, Sewanee,
Seasonally flooded pools known as ephemeral or vernal ponds
provide important habitat for amphibians and plants, but their
role in avian ecology has been little studied. We tested the
hypotheses that ephemeral ponds have greater avian richness
and abundance than the surrounding upland forest on the Cumberland
Plateau in Tennessee. Using a paired sample design, population
surveys of the avian community were conducted in the winter
and spring of 2004 at vernal pools and adjacent upland forest
locations. The number of individuals within the avian community
at the ephemeral ponds was significantly greater than that
of adjacent upland control sites. In addition, the richness
of the avian community at ephemeral ponds was significantly
greater than the adjacent forest. These data suggest that
in addition to the well-documented benefits they provide for
other plant and animal communities, ephemeral ponds provide
habitat for birds. The findings of this study also have implications
for the conservation and management of these ecologically
2:30 PM - TENNESSEE WILDLIFE HERITAGE TRUST
FRED J. ALSOP III (email@example.com), Tennessee Wildlife Heritage
Trust, and CLARENCE COFFEY, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The Tennessee Wildlife Heritage Trust, formed in 2003 by
the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, is a non-profit
organization dedicated to supporting the conservation, protection
and restoration of Tennessee's non-game wildlife species and
their habitats. The organization is assisting and providing
funding to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Many new
opportunities to secure funding for Tennessee's non-game species,
representing 97% of Tennessee's fauna, exist today that were
not available in the past. Fund-raising events, auctions,
wildlife diversity field day celebrations, corporate and individual
contributors, volunteers and sales of the new "Watchable Wildlife"
collectible stamp, which will feature a different species
each year, are providing new sources of funding for Tennessee's
2:45 PM - BREAK
3:00 PM - FORAGE TREE SELECTION AND ENERGY DEMANDS OF WINTERING
H. DAWN WILKINS (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Biological
Sciences, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, TN
A number of organisms, including Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
(Sphyrapicus varius), use plant sap, gum, and nectar
as a source of nourishment. The factors used to choose individual
plants and avoid others are relatively unknown. I compared
the sugar concentration, water content, bark thickness, phloem
thickness, and orientation of sap wells on forage trees to
trees of the same species and diameter and found no differences
in these characteristics between trees used by sapsuckers
and those that were not. I manipulated the sugar concentration
of experimental trees through girdling to see if selection
was affected. Girdled trees had higher sugar concentrations
and more sap wells excavated above the girdle than below.
Sapsuckers may be choosing forage trees at random or based
on other characteristics such as bark complexity and tree
health. In addition, I examined the possibility of sapsuckers
using the phloem tissue to fulfill their energetic demands
during the winter when there is little sugar movement in the
trees. Based on my calculations, it is unlikely that sapsuckers
are meeting their daily energetic needs from consuming sap.
My evidence suggests sapsuckers consume phloem tissue and
that it is broken down as it passes through the birds' digestive
system. I hypothesize that symbionts allow sapsuckers to digest
the cellulose in the phloem tissue. Their total energy intake
is probably a mixture of sap, phloem tissue, fruits, and insects.
3:20 PM - WHAT IS TWRA DOING FOR BIRDS? and TENNESSEE'S STATE
WILDLIFE GRANTS - COMPREHENSIVE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION STRATEGY
MICHAEL ROEDEL (email@example.com), Tennessee Wildlife
Resources Agency, Nashville
In March of this year I moved into the position of State
Ornithologist with TWRA. In the months since, I've been catching
up on existing projects as well as working on new issues.
My primary focus for the past decade has been on the monitoring
and inventory of birds. I hope to continue that monitoring
focus with a goal of providing better information to land
managers towards habitat management that benefits birds. Long-term
planning for conservation of habitats, increasing public awareness
about birds, promoting and participating in cooperative efforts
that protect non-game birds are all part of my long-range
plans in this position.