Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory
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Why are we studying Prothonotary Warblers? These yellow gems of the swamp are most vulnerable to destruction of their habitat both in North America and in Central and South America. Partners in Flight has placed the Prothonotary Warbler on its US/Canada 2012 Watch List. Local, volunteer-based nest-box programs for the species are becoming more common in regional and county parks to repopulate areas where populations have dwindled or disappeared. Read Chelsea's Story here.
The Songbird Research we do now is primarily monitoring Prothonotary Warbler boxes in several locations in the Coastal Plain — Chesapeake, James City County, Newport News, King and Queen County, Middlesex County
In the past, the Observatory operated the Kiptopeke Songbird Station at Kiptopeke State Park since 1995 with paid banders and volunteers documenting the spectacular fall migration which takes place at the tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Volunteers from the Virginia Society of Ornithology established the Station in 1963 and operated it until 1995. Under the Observatory, the Station operated daily from about mid-August through late November and made free presentations to all visitors. From 2005-2012, the Observatory conducted spring songbird banding and educational presentations at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. From 1999-2002, the Observatory conducted spring songbird banding and educational presentations at Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.
The Observatory participates in the study of Prothonotary Warblers, as part of the Virginia Prothonotary Network, monitoring nest boxes in spring and summer by canoe at various sites. This is a species of special concern. See the General Blog for updates about this work.
A study of Carolina Chickadees and their unusual Eastern Shore vocalizations has been ongoing for a number of years. An article was published in BIRDING magazine (March/April 2008).
Songbirds are also regularly monitored during fall migration from the observation platform and feeders at Kiptopeke, including the spectacular and unprecedented finch flight of 2012.
Read Chelsea's story here.