A note from Partners in Flight British Columbia
Our research is a tri-national collaboration among Environment and Climate Change Canada, University of British Columbia, Klamath Bird Observatory (OR, USA), San Pancho Bird Observatory (Nayarit, MX), University of Gaudalajara, and Tierra del Aves Bird Observatory (Veracruz, MX) to examine the full life cycle aspects of two riparian bird species in western North America, the Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) and Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis).
We are interested in annual survivorship, migration routes and stopovers of birds living in Canada at the northwestern tip of their ranges versus core populations of these species. We are geo-tracking of birds from the south Okanagan Valley in BC and in California’s Trinity River watershed.
Secondly, we examine stress and mercury levels in Yellow-breasted Chats across its range in both eastern and western North America based on feather collections conducted at key overwintering sites in eastern and western Mexico. The chat is unique in that it molts feathers annually on its breeding grounds, therefore feathers collected in Mexico at migration and overwintering locations may tell us about bird health over a wide range in Canada and the USA where sampling on this scale would be logistically impossible.
Using stable isotopes, this is a novel opportunity to examine the contamination and associated stress in a wide variety of ages, sex, and latitudinal distributions of an insectivorous bird across North America.
Dr. Christine Bishop, Environment and Climate Change Canada