Songbird, forestry forum May 17 on NMU campus

Information offered for landowners

An American redstart sits on a branch over the Peshekee River in Marquette County.

MARQUETTE – From work to recover threatened and endangered species, including piping plovers and Kirtland’s warblers, to studying edge effects on songbirds in northern Wisconsin, three biologists assembled to speak at a forum in Marquette this month are highly skilled in their professions.

Their previous working locations range from the Midwest to Texas and Oklahoma to Latin America and Hawaii.

“May is a prime time to talk about songbirds, especially with the spectacular spring bird migration under way here in Michigan,” said Gary Willis, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources service forester from the Baraga office. “This is the time of year birdwatchers are focused on a vast variety of returning songbirds.”

The event, which features Katie Koch and Vince Cavalieri of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and David Flaspohler from the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Tech, will be 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, May 17, in the Michigan Room at the University Center on the Northern Michigan University campus in Marquette.

Koch is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who founded the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership and Midwest Avian Data Center. She has served on more than two dozen regional and national teams. Koch is focused on conservation of birds in northern forest landscapes, launching the Midwest Migration Network, sustain Kirtland’s warbler throughout their annual cycle, and growing the Midwest Avian Data Center to be the one-stop shop for bird information throughout the Midwest region.

Cavalieri also is a wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service and has been the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery coordinator for five years. His primary interest is in ecology and conservation of birds, including cerulean warblers, mountain plovers, Kirtland’s warblers and trumpeter swans. Cavalieri worked previously for the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Flaspohler has been an avian conservation biologist in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science for two decades. He received his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied edge effects on songbirds in northern Wisconsin. Since then, he has conducted research in other parts of the Great Lakes region, Hawaii and several countries in Latin America.

“This event, the latest in a fascinating series of ‘Wildlife Through Forestry’ forums held in the western Upper Peninsula over the past several months, comes on the heels of a raptor forum held at NMU last month,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These sessions link wildlife topics to the numerous ways habitat for birds and animals may be developed and enhanced for a range of species on private lands.”

The forums have been presented by the DNR with funding from a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant.

Each of these sessions has included a presentation on an interesting and important wildlife-related topic, with additional information provided to private landowners on the value of a Forest Stewardship Plan.

More than 150 professional foresters and 20 wildlife biologists develop Forest Stewardship Plans for forest landowners in Michigan. For information about these plans or the Commercial Forest Program, contact Gary Willis, DNR Service Forester, 427 U.S. 41 N., Baraga, Michigan, 49908; 906-353-6651, ext. 122; or willisg2@michigan.gov.