1-3 DEC 2020

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Session recordings available in the Agenda section below under each session title

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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.


Tues, Dec 1

Identifying Linked Populations

11 am – 1 pm EDT: Novel and expanding technologies

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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

Autumn-Lynn Harrison is a Research Ecologist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project where she coordinates research efforts with over 50 partners to reveal the migrations of North American birds using tracking technologies. As a marine biologist, Autumn-Lynn leads field projects on seabirds and shorebirds and works on multiple projects to translate migration science into policy and management.

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

Martin Wikelski is the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Professor in Biology at the University of Konstanz and member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Previously, he held positions at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Princeton University. His specialization is the study of global animal movement.

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

Stuart Mackenzie began exploring the natural world in the womb, and has been birding since the age of 2 – learning to pshhh on his father’s knee. His research, adventure and philanthropic interests has allowed him to explore and investigate challenges birds face around the world. He has a special affinity for bird observatories, and the important role they play in fostering research, conservation, and future generations of champions. As the Director of Migration Ecology with Birds Canada, he tracks populations and movements of birds, bats, and insects throughout their life cycles to identify and understand factors that may be limiting, and ultimately guide their conservation and the preservation of life of earth. To this end, Stu manages the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, Long Point and Thunder Cape Bird Observatory and secretariat for the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network.

2 – 4 pm EDT: Putting it into practice

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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

Elly Knight is a PhD Candidate at the University of Alberta studying the conservation of Common Nighthawks across the annual cycle.

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

Juliet Lamb is a Marie Curie post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, France. Her research focuses on using individual movement decisions to understand population-level patterns of distribution, demography, and risk exposure in migratory marine birds.

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

Jim Saracco is a Research Ecologist with The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). He has served as Program Director for IBP’s winter and tropical bird monitoring efforts, including the Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal (MoSI) program, and has worked extensively with data from the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. He collaborates with scientists across non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and academia to address applied research questions that lend insights into the dynamics and trends of landbird populations.

Steven Albert is the Assistant Director for Demographic Monitoring Programs at The Institute for Bird Populations. He is currently leading IBP’s efforts to expand the MAPS and MoSI monitoring networks across North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. One of his primary interests is exploring how research, management, and policy can work together to protect migratory birds through their full annual cycle.

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

Camila Gomez is currently a postdoc at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and researcher at the Colombian ngo SELVA. Her interests and research experience include the ecology and evolution of migratory strategies and using science to develop applications for the conservation of migratory birds throughout the Neotropics.

Ana Gonzalez is a post-doctoral researcher at Environment and Climate Change Canada and migratory species researcher with the Colombian organization Selva. She integrates behavioral and demographic field data with tracking techniques to provide foundational scientific information needed to support international and local conservation strategies for several Neotropical migrants of conservation concern. Her research experience spans from her natal Colombia to North America during the full annual cycle of migratory birds. 

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

Tom Cooper is currently the Migratory Bird Chief for Region 3 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  Previously, he served as the Eastern Webless Migratory Game Bird Specialist for FWS.  In this capacity, one of his duties was to coordinate the annual American Woodcock Wingbee, which provides an index to productivity for the species.  He did his Ph.D. work at South Dakota State University where he developed spatial models for grassland and forest birds in the prairie-forest transition zone of Minnesota. 

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

Mark Shieldcastle is a founder and Research Director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in northern Ohio. He heads up migratory bird research and review and analysis of field reports of wind power consultants concerning sound scientific methodology. Also, among his duties is leading the Landbird Migration Monitoring Initiative of the Midwest Migration Network where he works on study design, interaction with the Bird Banding Laboratory, and enrolling and training of collaborators to the initiative. Previously Mark retired from the Ohio Division of Wildlife where he held the position of Project Leader of Wetland Wildlife Research for the state agency. His duties there included waterfowl programs and recovery programs for the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Trumpeter Swan, and Common Tern.

2 – 4 pm EDT: Putting it into practice

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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 & Adam Green– Developing an Integrated Population Model for the Baird’s Sparrow

Mo Correll is Research Director at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, where she and her team work to understand population limitation in grassland birds across their full annual cycle in Canada, the US, and Mexico. Dr. Correll received her PhD from the University of Maine where worked to shed light on the rates and drivers of population decline in tidal marsh birds.

Adam Green is a quantitative ecologist whose research has focused on modeling and managing wildlife populations. He is currently a biostatistician at the Bureau of Land Management’s National Operations Center.

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

Clark Rushing is a population ecologist with an emphasis on quantifying demographic processes and their influences on individuals, populations, and species. His research focuses primarily on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds, with projects falling within three major themes: 1) Development of full-annual-cycle models to quantify seasonal vital rates and their influence on population dynamics; 2) Demographic consequences of climate change and incorporating climate change into on conservation planning for migratory birds; and 3) Quantifying the influence of long-distance dispersal on individuals and populations. To address these issues, his research combines observational and experimental fieldwork with quantitative modeling and stable isotope analysis.

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

Amber Roth is an Assistant Professor of Forest Wildlife Management in the School of Forest Resources and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at the University of Maine. She is co-chair of the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group and coordinator of the Midwest Migration Network. Her research interests include bird habitat-management relationships in temperate and tropical forests, migratory bird ecology, and applications for conservation of declining species.

Ruth Bennett is a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center where focused on the nonbreeding ecology of migratory birds and Bird Friendly agricultural standards.

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

Mike Hallworth is a wildlife ecologist whose research sits at the nexus between movement, population, and quantitative ecology. His research integrates applied field techniques with spatial and quantitative analyses to better understand the interplay between the environment and population demography. Mike is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.

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

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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

Adriaan Dokter is a quantitative ecologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with research interests in animal movement, foraging and population ecology. His work focuses on studying the migration corridors of small songbird populations at the scale of full continents, a perspective that has come into reach through the use of meteorological weather radar networks (BirdCast), as well as large-scale citizen science projects (eBird). He addresses questions on the effects of short-term weather and long-term global change on the distribution and population sizes of migratory birds.

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

Wayne Thogmartin is a quantitative ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey conducting scholarly research at the intersection of animal ecology, spatial and temporal analyses, and statistics. His interests include research in population ecology for animals declining in abundance, asking new questions of multiple, combined data sets to gain novel insight into the dynamics of animal populations, and translating science into guidance for practical, applicable management decisions. Current research in avian ecology includes mechanistic modeling of migration to understand population-level consequences of inland oil spills and population viability analyses of golden-winged warblers.  

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

Mitch Weegman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri. Researchers in Mitch’s group are focused on understanding how individual and population processes explain variation in avian ecology. Current projects include 1) better understanding the causes and consequences of variation in life histories of migrant birds in North America and Europe, 2) study of environmental drivers of population change in migratory and resident birds in North America, and 3) demography and movement ecology of Arctic-nesting geese.

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

Adam C. Smith is Senior Biostatistician with the Canadian Wildlife Service, a branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and an adjunct professor at Carleton University. He specializes in using broad-scale bird monitoring data (BBS, shorebird migration surveys, etc.) to model changing bird populations and to investigate the causes behind those changes.

Brandon Edwards is a graduate student at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON. His background as a statistician and his love of birding has allowed his research to lie at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and ecology. His current research is exploring data integration across multiple North American bird surveys, and how that integration can be used to develop a predictive modeling framework for North American birds.

2 – 4 pm EDT: 3 billion birds & next steps for R2R

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During the final afternoon session, we will hear perspectives from four bird conservation leaders on how they envision implementing R2R science at scale through various initiatives to bring back 3 billion birds. This session will include a panel discussion among these four leaders, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Moderator: Sarah Kendrick


Todd Fearer – North American Bird Conservation Initiative and Migratory Bird Joint Ventures

Noah Matson – USFWS Division of Migratory Birds – R2R Response

Tammy VerCauteren – Bird Conservancy of the Rockies – Linking R2R with the Central Grasslands Roadmap Summit

Miyoko Chu – Senior Director of Communications at Cornell Lab of Ornithology and coordinator for the “3BB” outreach coalition