Avian Ecology Lab

Lab Overview

Wildlife plays a significant role in maintaining ecosystem health, ecosystems services and plant community stability and succession.  NRRI’s avian ecology research program is an applied research program that has been studying the direct impacts of environmental change on wildlife, biodiversity, and ecosystem function for over 30 years.  Our research gathers critical data on avian and amphibian communities as well as species of conservation concern in Minnesota and throughout the western Great Lakes region and seeks to understand species behavior and ecology, how changes in habitat affect wildlife populations and the development of management strategies to and how changes in wildlife populations can inform us about changes in the quality and quantity of habitat.

Lab Goals

Develop economically sustainable conservation strategies and land management guidelines to preserve and enhance the species diversity of Minnesota bird populations and protect species in greatest conservation need

Research Focus

Forests and Wildlife Research

We deliver research solutions for terrestrial ecosystems that provide for a sustainable resource-based economy and a healthy environment. We seek to inform land management practices to maximize ecosystem health, and to conserve Minnesota’s biodiversity for future generations.

Lab Programs and Capabilities for Forests and Wildlife Research

  • Monitor bird populations in Minnesota forest ecosystems
  • Model distribution and abundance of Minnesota birds
  • Guidance for restoration and management of Minnesota’s wildlife
  • Study effects of invasive species on Minnesota wildlife

Water and Wildlife Research

We deliver research solutions for aquatic ecosystems that provide for a sustainable resource-based economy and a healthy environment.

Lab Expertise

  • Monitor fauna in Great Lakes coastal ecosystems
  • Identify regionally-specific habitat associations for species of conservation concern
  • Identify factors that influence population dynamics of state threatened species

Lab Programs and Capabilities for Water and Wildlife Research

  • Population and ecological modeling of colonial waterbirds
  • Ecology of amphibians and breeding birds in the Great Lakes coastal region
  • Assessment of Great Lakes coastal conditions using birds and frogs as indicators
  • Great Lakes ecosystem restoration

Research Projects

Expand all

Curent Research

Forests and Wildlife Studies

  • Minnesota National Forest Breeding Bird Monitoring Program
  • Managing Minnesota's Forest Birds of Conservation Concern
  • Maximizing Wildlife, Water, & Productivity in Peatland Forests
  • Hartley Park Black-capped Chickadee Tracking

Water and Wildlife Studies

  • Common Tern Conservation in the Great Lakes
  • Motus Technology: Mapping Avian Movement in Minnesota
  • Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program (CWMP)

Past Projects

Forests and Wildlife Past Studies

  • Determine Impacts on Wildlife From Emerald Ash Borer Infection of Black Ash Forests
  • Evaluation of Tree Retention Guidelines Pertaining to Wildlife
  • Large Plot Study

Water and Wildlife Past Studies

  • Documenting Bird Use in the St. Louis River Area of Concern
  • Impacts of Human Disturbance to Coastal Breeding Bird Communities

Scholarly Articles

Research Projects

A study of habitat and survival rates of species in decline to inform forest management practices.

Use a combination of wildlife, vegetation, and hydrology (water) measurements to determine the impacts of logging on peatland forests.

The Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas documents the distribution of every breeding bird species in Minnesota and provides a solid foundation for future conservation efforts.

Documenting long-term population trends of breeding forest birds in the Chippewa and Superior National Forests.

Media Coverage