1-3 DEC 2020

11AM–1PM & 2–4PM EDT

Bringing back the abundance and safeguarding the diversity of the North American avifauna will require a coordinated and targeted effort in both science and conservation action. In order to most effectively and efficiently focus conservation and management action for species on the brink, new science must be strategically directed toward identifying the specific causes of decline. Future research must start with filling key knowledge gaps that are critical for informing species recovery. The Road to Recovery Part 1 virtual workshop in July 2020 convened 120 attendees to garner the wisdom of experts on the best approaches available for identifying limiting factors. In August, a follow-up virtual Roundtable at the Puerto Rico NAOC featured new perspectives and gathered input from the ornithological community to identify key research needs.

The second Road to Recovery Workshop will utilize a hybrid webinar/interactive approach to advance strategies for identifying species specific causes of decline – where and when limiting factors are operating – by focusing on Linked Populations: Migratory Connectivity and Demographics across the full annual cycle. “Morning” sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday will highlight groundbreaking technologies and methods; afternoon sessions will feature case studies to demonstrate how these tools can be most effectively applied to solve ongoing research problems for a diverse suite of species at different stages along the Road to Recovery.

Attendance at the workshop is open to all individuals and groups with expertise and/or interest in tracking techniques, quantifying migratory connectivity, linking vital rates across the annual cycle, integrating methodological approaches and diverse data sets, and advancing avian species recovery and conservation. Please RSVP HERE to receive further information or REGISTER HERE.

Preliminary Agenda

Tues, Dec 1

Identifying Linked Populations

11 am – 1 pm EDT: Novel and expanding technologies

Critical for modeling species populations to unravel the causes of decline, this session will focus on methodological approaches for linking distinct populations across the annual cycle. Experts will explain the fundamental principles and the pros and cons of the diverse tools that can be employed for tracking individuals in order to identify linked populations (e.g., isotopes, geolocators, automated radio telemetry, satellite tracking, genetic analysis, and eBird).


Dr. Peter Marra & Dr. Ken Rosenberg – The Road to Recovery: All hands on deck to bring back 3 billion birds

Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison – Why knowledge of migratory connectivity is critical to recovery planning for migratory birds

Dr. Martin Wikelski – ICARUS – a satellite-based IoT tracking system for wildlife

Dr. Kristen Ruegg – The Bird Genoscape Project: Mapping migratory bird populations using genomics

Kristen Ruegg is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University and the co-director and co-founder of the Bird Genoscape Project, a multi-institutional effort to map population specific migratory pathways in North American Birds using genomics.   Her lab focuses on the development of innovative genetic-based tools to conserve migratory animals in the face of climate change and other stressors.  When not overseeing research as part of the Genoscape Project, Ruegg can be found working to bridge partnerships between academia, NGO’s and governmental agencies across the US, Canada and Latin America in order to translate the science of the Bird Genoscape Project into conservation.

Dr. Stuart McKenzie – Mobilizing Motus: Maximizing efficacy for conservation science

2 – 4 pm EDT: Putting it into practice

An afternoon session featuring case studies selected to represent different species life histories will explore the practicalities of how new technologies can be applied for identifying linked populations. Individual species experts will describe their progress toward understanding migratory connectivity. They will then interact with panelists to discuss considerations important in determining which tracking tools and strategies are most appropriate and cost-effective for the example study species. There will also be an opportunity for questions from webinar participants.


Elly Knight – Continuous estimation of migratory connectivity across the annual cycle: A range-wide Common Nighthawk case study

Dr. Calandra Stanley – Building a connectivity map for Wood Thrush using archival devices

Calandra Stanley is a post-doctoral researcher at Georgetown University interested in the conservation and behavioural ecology of migratory birds across all phases of the annual cycle. Stanley uses novel tracking technologies to reveal the movements of migratory birds across multiple spatial scales and to understand the drivers and consequences of these behaviours.

Laura McDuffie – Migratory connectivity of Lesser Yellowlegs revealed through the application of a modern tracking technology

Laura McDuffie was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is currently a term wildlife biologist for USFWS and a MS student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Laura has been studying the breeding and migration ecology of Lesser Yellowlegs as well as other boreal breeding shorebirds since 2015. Laura is currently finishing-up her thesis, which focuses on the spatial distribution of migrating Lesser Yellowlegs and their probability of exposure to shorebird harvest.

Dr. Juliet Lamb Using spatially-explicit network analysis to identify priority habitat and define population units for migratory sea ducks

Wed, Dec 2

Linking vital rates across the full annual cycle

11 am – 1 pm EDT: Tools for estimating vital rates

Once we have established the migratory connectivity of distinct populations of species of concern, how do we assess the demographic parameters that could potentially reveal when and where in the full annual cycle a species is most limited? In this session, speakers will present on the available and evolving tools useful in inferring vital rates during breeding, migration, and wintering. In discussing vital rates of linked populations, we will begin the process of combining connectivity and demographic tools to develop informed hypotheses on limiting factors and causes of decline.


Dr. Jim Saracco, Steve Albert & Dr. Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez – The unique contribution of the MAPS and MoSI Program for understanding causes of declines in North American birds

Dr. Camila Gomez & Ana Gonzalez – Using Motus to estimate vital rates – overwinter and beyond

Dr. Tom CooperWingbees: What can you tell from a wing?

Mark ShieldcastleStandardizing Migration Monitoring to Inform Life Cycle Models and Local Research

2 – 4 pm EDT: Putting it into practice

In the second afternoon of practical cases studies, experts on a diverse range of species will walk through examples of how to collect and estimate vital rates on both the breeding and non-breeding grounds. Presenters will interact with panelists to discuss the challenges of robustly estimating vital rates and the degree of spatial and temporal resolution necessary during the breeding and non-breeding seasons to construct demographic models that can pinpoint limiting factors for declining species. Again, there will be an opportunity for questions from webinar participants.


Dr. Rose SwiftSeasonal survival and reversible state effects in a long-distance migratory shorebird

Rose J. Swift is a research ecologist with the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center where she works to understand the effects of management actions on population dynamics of migratory birds. Dr. Swift received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University, working closely with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where she linked observations of individuals during the breeding and non-breeding seasons to explore individual variation in behaviors throughout the year and their consequences for fitness and survival.

Dr. Mo Correll – Developing an Integrated Population Model for the Baird’s Sparrow

Dr. Clark Rushing – What do we know about the declines of Wood Thrush? A look at the evidence so far

Dr. Amber Roth & Dr. Ruth Bennett – In search of a modeling approach that explains Golden-winged Warbler population change

Dr. Mike HallworthIntegrating tracking technology with remote sensing across the annual cycle to identify causes of population declines

Thurs, Dec 3

Diverse approaches for integrating data to understand population limitation

11 am – 1 pm EDT: Diverse approaches for integrating data to understand population limitation

In the absence of perfect information, how do we pinpoint where and when in the annual cycle species are most limited? This final morning session will explore a diverse array of approaches for integrating information on migratory connectivity and vital rates to understand the geographies and potential drivers of decline. From Integrated Population Modeling to network analysis and radar demography, speakers will discuss how we can move forward in pinpointing precisely where and why species are declining.


Dr. Adriaan Dokter – Developing macro-demographic metrics from radar and eBird to understand population changes of migratory birds

Dr. Wayne ThogmartinNetwork analysis for migratory connectivity: identifying priority places and pathways

Dr. Mitch WeegmanPrioritizing conservation investments based on joint use of movement and behavior data from migratory birds

Dr. Adam Smith & Brandon Edwards – A strategy for integrating observational monitoring data and predictive modeling of population change

2 – 4 pm EDT: Next Steps