Science

Birmingham Audubon staff members currently lead several research projects, both in the metropolitan area and statewide. Together, their data are contributing to a better understanding of local bird ecology and patterns of urban habitat use.

Village Creek point-count surveys

Yellow-crowned night heron by Greg Harber.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Photo: Greg Harber.

Village Creek is an urban waterway that begins in northeast Birmingham and flows through the heart of the city before emptying into the Black Warrior River.

This study, lead by Outreach Director Dr. Ansel Payne, is examining the phenology (seasonal patterns) of select species (e.g., Great Blue Herons, Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons, Belted Kingfishers) utilizing the creek.

Eastern Bluebird reproductive ecology

Bluebird nest by Andy Coleman

Eastern Bluebird nest. Photo: Andy Coleman.

Providing Eastern Bluebirds with ready-made nesting habitat has helped many populations deal with broader negative trends in habitat loss.  In partnership with the Behind the Gates Garden Club, Program Director Dr. Andy Coleman has been studying the reproductive ecology of Eastern Bluebirds at the suburban Greystone Country Club in Hoover, Alabama—the same population first studied by long-time Birmingham Audubon member, the late Dr. Dan Holliman.

 

Feeding ecology of Bald Eagles

Turtle shells by Andy Coleman.

Turtle shells. Photo: Andy Coleman.

While Bald Eagles are a well-known conservation success story, studying various aspects of their ecology is still necessary for sustainable management. Through careful monitoring of several nests located throughout the state, Dr. Coleman is currently studying Bald Eagle feeding habits in Alabama, with a special focus on turtle predation. Data generated by the identification of remains and the measurement of several key morphological landmarks are helping to uncover which turtle species, and which life-history stages of those species, are most susceptible to Bald Eagle predation.