Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

UMESC - Terrestrial Sciences - Migratory Birds

Terrestrial Sciences

Migratory Birds

Millions of birds of more than 300 species annually use the Mississippi Flyway for fall and spring migrations, nesting, or year-round habitat. Collectively, these birds need an array of habitats, including marshes, lakes, rivers, forests, and prairies. Diving ducks, swans, pelicans, and cormorants use the open waters of lakes and riverine pools. Dabbling ducks, herons, terns, bitterns, and many song birds use wetland marshes. Forests support migrating and nesting songbirds, bald eagles, hawks, owls, herons, and wood ducks.

Habitat is the key requirement of all migratory birds. The landscape has been altered greatly by our expanding human population for agriculture, industry, and urban settlements, and it contains far fewer wetlands, forests, and prairies than did the presettlement landscape. The long-term viability of many bird populations is adversely affected by sedimentation, human development, urban and agricultural runoff, recreation, habitat loss, and habitat degradation. Many migratory birds that once flourished are now absent in altered or degraded areas. Center investigations of migratory birds provide essential information to management agencies within the Department of Interior, especially the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is charged with conserving migratory birds and their habitats for the American public. Topical areas for research on migratory birds include population ecology, habitat requirements, and human impacts.


Project Title
Abundance and distribution of plant foods used by migratory waterfowl on selected pools of the Upper Mississippi River
Using implanted satellite transmitters to identify common loon migration routes, staging areas, and wintering range
Methods development for determining causes, timing, and magnitude of mortality of common loon chicks in northern Wisconsin
Factors Affecting Common Loon (Gavia immer) Productivity
Community characteristics of breeding passerine birds in relation to riverine habitats on selected reaches of the Upper Mississippi River
Importance of wet meadows to grassland birds in the Upper Midwest
Abundance, diversity, and productivity of songbirds nesting in upland and floodplain forests of the Upper Mississippi River Basin
Maps, Models, and Tools for Bird Conservation Planning

Page Last Modified: April 3, 2018