Darkness hides species on the landscape, but vocalizations illuminate their presence. In this nocturnal soundscape, owls hoot, nighthawks boom, bats echolocate, and insects buzz. Millions of birds migrate at night- many emitting nocturnal flights calls (NFCs) that can be recorded and identify to species. At our November chapter meeting, Kate Stone and Debbie Leick from the MPG Ranch will tell us about their research into these vocalizations in their talk entitled Illuminating the Nocturnal Soundscape in Western Montana.
In 2012, Kate and Debbie began to record NFCs of migratory birds at three monitoring sites on the MPG Ranch in Florence. By the summer of 2018, they expanded to over 50 sites throughout the Bitterroot Valley, ranging from valley-bottom high schools to ridge-top fire lookouts. They have now collected terrabytes of data that will help them document the “who, where, and why” of songbird migration in western Montana. In their presentation, they will share some of their more unusual detections, the migration patterns they have documented, and how these data can contribute to their knowledge and conservation of bird populations. They will also discuss efforts to share acoustic monitoring techniques and software with citizen scientists and other volunteers. A longer-term goal of this project is to develop a network of acoustic monitoring stations across Montana, building a collaboration between private individuals, non-profits, and managing agencies. They will also share how several Audubon chapters, including Five Valleys Audubon, are working with them to learn more about avian migration and apply this information towards conservation outcomes.
Kate Stone and Debbie Leick are Ecologists at the MPG Ranch, a private conservation property in the northern Bitterroot Valley. They also recently formed the non-profit Project Night Flight to facilitate a regional study of birds and other flying migrants at night.
Come hear about their exciting research on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 7:00 PM in Room 123 of the Gallagher Business Building on the UM campus.