The Birds of Monroe County

April 11, 2024 clifftop CliffNotes

Hosted by CLIFFTOP, Michael Avara, Avian Laboratory Manager and Field Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension, will serve as featured speaker for the program titled “Insights to the Birds of Monroe County” at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the History Museum of Monroe County, 724 Elaine Drive, Waterloo.

Uniquely positioned along the Mississippi Flyway and home to many different habitat types, Monroe County is a hotspot for birds, with almost 300 species historically detected.

Summer tanager. Photo courtesy Mike Avara

The diversity of birds changes seasonally – some birds use the area to breed (summer tanager) or overwinter (golden-crowned kinglet) while others only stop as they are passing through on migration (golden-winged warbler).

While some birds are very commonly found (red-winged blackbird), others are decreasing or all but disappearing from Monroe County (eastern whip-poor-will).

Avara will talk about the efforts in the county to monitor birds in this changing world. Through citizen science efforts like the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, the Great Backyard Bird Count, MOON routes, and Illinois Spring Bird Count, the public has helped researchers learn more about how Monroe County birds are faring.

Wood thrush. Photo courtesy Mike Avara

The talk on April 27 will also discuss current research efforts to study species of concern (wood thrush) – tracking their movements with radio transmitters both locally and internationally.

Such efforts help researchers quantify and understand how these species are impacted by human activities and what conservation efforts can be done to improve the outlook for these species.

For more information on this free program, call 618-407-0092.

CLIFFTOP, a local nonprofit organization, is focused on preserving and protecting area bluff lands.

A version of this article appeared in the April 3, 2024 edition of the Republic-Times.

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