Date of Award
Level of Access Assigned by Author
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Second Committee Member
Brian J. Olsen
Third Committee Member
Joseph D. Zydlewski
Additional Committee Members
Erik J. Blomberg
In and around the Gulf of Maine, over 300 species of birds have been documented during migration, and tens of millions of songbirds may pass through the region on a single autumn night. Shorelines are widely documented as major migration corridors. There is ample evidence that coastal areas concentrate migrants and many species make overwater movements to and from breeding and wintering grounds. Data collected from radar, banding, and ceilometry studies in the northeast have provided us with evidence that birds migrate along the coast and make overwater movements across the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy during both spring and fall. However, all of these studies were conducted at the far northern and southern regions of the Gulf and there is still little detailed information about bird migration within the Gulf itself.
With more than 85% of the annual mortality for many songbirds occurring on migration (Sillett and Holmes 2002), improving our understanding of migration throughout this region is imperative for making conservation based management decisions. This is especially pertinent in the Gulf of Maine where climate and anthropogenic changes to the landscape continue to increase challenges facing migrants. Given the concentration of individuals in this region, local scale impacts on individuals could have population level consequences.
My project contributes to improving our understanding of migration by identifying key stopover areas throughout the region, presenting a baseline description of species abundance and diversity distributions, and identifying origins and factors explaining patterns of occurrence for select species in the Gulf. Additionally, I characterize physiological condition of migrants across multiple sites to identify stopover site conservation priorities in the region. I also use physiological condition at a local scale to identify possible constraints on migrants’ ability to adapt to a changing Gulf of Maine.
Leppold, Adrienne J., "Behavioral Ecology of Landbird Migrants in a Complex and Changing Flyway System: The Gulf of Maine" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2486.