Rebecca L. Holberton, professor of avian biology. Holberton and wildlife biologist Lindsay Tudor will speak about shorebird tracking at the MDI Biological Laboratory on May 1. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MDI BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY

New tech tracks shorebirds

BAR HARBOR — Professor of avian biology Rebecca L. Holberton and wildlife biologist Lindsay Tudor will discuss new shorebird-tracking technology at the MDI Science Café at the MDI Biological Laboratory on Monday, May 1, at 5 p.m.

The title of their presentation, the last in the winter series, is “Using New Technology to Understand Potential Conflicts Between Human Activity and Shorebird Conservation.”

“Maine’s coastal habitats provide resources for humans and wildlife alike,” Holberton said. “But for shorebirds that rely on these habitats to rest and refuel along their extensive journeys to and from Arctic breeding grounds, human activities such as beach recreation and shellfish and rockweed harvesting may pose challenges.”

Holberton and Tudor have been using a new technology to track shorebird movements within and between stopover sites during their fall migrations in Maine and beyond.

They will discuss how their work reveals what shorebirds do and where they go in Maine, issues related to shorebird population declines and the importance of collective efforts among state and federal resource agencies, private landowners, resource harvesters, birders and the public in conserving Maine’s natural resources.

Holberton, a professor at the University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology, is director of the Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network, a cooperative of resource agencies, academic institutions, nongovernment organizations and private foundations from Atlantic Canada to the mid-Atlantic region that are studying the movement biology and ecology of birds and bats. Much of her career has been spent studying the blackpoll warbler, whose migration from North America to Venezuela is one of the longest nonstop overwater flights for a migratory songbird.

Tudor, a wildlife biologist for the bird group at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, is a nongame bird specialist focusing on conservation, planning, inventory, research and outreach, primarily for shorebirds, terns and harlequin ducks. She is responsible for developing the criteria for shorebird “significant wildlife habitats” under the Maine Natural Resources Protection Act, as well as the designation of these habitats. She also designates essential habitats for the piping plover and the least tern under the Maine Endangered Species Act.

MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from scientists about the latest trends in scientific research. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion.

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