Wood Thrush wearing geolocator. Photo: David Shuford
People have long been fascinated by the idea of bird migration, yet it has proven to be a difficult subject to study well. However, we know much more about the Wood Thrush than most other Neotropical migratory birds, making it an ideal species to study in depth. We are learning that a full life cycle approach, broadening our focus to include both the breeding and nonbreeding grounds, as well as the migratory pathways and stopover sites connecting the two, is critical to achieving effective conservation for migratory birds.
Our partnership is working to understand the conservation implications of Wood Thrush movements associated with migration as well as the geographical and biological linkages between the breeding and nonbreeding grounds. Recent advances in stable isotope and geolocator technology, and citizen science efforts like eBird, have rapidly improved our ability to identify hot spots for conservation. Next steps include identifying and tackling specific threats to individual Wood Thrush populations and gaining a better understanding of carryover effects between seasons.