June 8, 2023 – A Renewed Hope for the Swamp Canary

Dr. Erik Johnson, Director of Conservation Science, Audubon Delta

The Prothonotary Warbler, is a charismatic migratory songbird that files our southern swamps and bottomland hardwood forests with their boisterous songs, and is sometimes affectionately known as the Swamp Canary. Unfortunately, their population has declined by about 40% percent since the 1960s, and their preferred breeding habitat – swamps and forested wetlands – has also disappeared at an alarming rate. However, this bird’s decline has outpaced that of their breeding habitat, so scientists have suspected these birds are experiencing difficulties elsewhere, such as on their wintering grounds in Central America and northern South America. Dr. Johnson will talk about research that has revealed new insights into the migratory movements of Prothonotary Warblers, as well as other research and conservation efforts to help reverse population declines.

Dr. Erik Johnson is the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Delta, a regional office of the National Audubon Society that covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. With Audubon, he manages several research projects and provides science support to conservation implementation in the region. He got his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University studying conservation biology and wildlife management. Erik is active in Louisiana’s birding community and serves as Louisiana’s Christmas Bird Count regional editor, is a member of Louisiana’s Bird Records Committee, is the director of the Louisiana Bird Observatory, and is a board member with the Acadiana Native Plant Project. He lives in Sunset, Louisiana.

7PM via Zoom

May 13, 2023 Gillam Park and Little Rock Audubon Center – Little Rock

     Join our field trip and celebrate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), experiencing the excitement of spring migration. At least four thousand different species of birds are moving from their southern wintering grounds to their northern summer nesting sites. It will be a great day to be outside enjoying nature. This birding trip is also a BirdAR Birdathon team. This is a fun, friendly competition among the teams to raise money for bird conservation in Arkansas, sponsored by Audubon Arkansas. Donate to the team by going to ar.audubon.org/birdathon/asca.

     Meet at 7:00 a.m. at Gillam Park in the far parking lot. It’s moderate walking on fairly level, but possibly muddy trails. Gillam is great for spring warblers. Once finished at Gillam, we’ll head to Industrial Harbor Road and the David D. Terry Lock & Dam area to look for Western Kingbirds, Bobolinks, spring warblers, and Painted Buntings. Bring water and snacks, the trip can last into early afternoon. Wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots.

     Directions—Gillam Park is in southeast Little Rock near the airport. Address is 5300 Gillam Park Road, Little Rock. Take I-30 West south from Little Rock. Merge onto I-440 going towards the airport. Take Exit 1-Springer Road. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Springer Road. Go approximately 1 mile. Turn right onto Gillam Park Road. Follow it into the park to the last parking lot.

     Coordinates: 34.7068, -92.2560