Roger or Margaret Higbee at
December 2017 Meeting
Tue, December 5, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Blue Spruce County Park Lodge
Speaker: Cameron Fiss, IUP Biology Master of Science Program
This is our annual cookie extravaganza. If possible, please bring two dozen cookies to share. This evenings program, presented by Cameron Fiss, is entitled, "Golden-winged Warblers The Post- Fledging Period."
Cameron Fiss was born and raised in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where he developed a healthy appreciation for the natural world. Growing up, he had places like Caledonia State Park and Michaux State Forest to explore as well as many others. During the time he spent in Penn's woods as a kid, Cameron became interested in forest ecology. He attended IUP for his under- graduate studies which he completed in 2014. This allowed him to further develop his interests in ecology and conservation. At IUP, his initial interest in forest ecology grew further into a desire to understand how humans manage forests for wildlife, particularly in the Appalachians where human activities are ever increasingly encroaching on wild areas. During this time, he also became interested in birds. His first ornithology class threw him head-first into birding through a spring class trip to Florida. In 2015 after being offered the opportunity to work on a project that combined avian biology and forest management, Cameron began his masters work at IUP. Since starting on his masters, he has been fortunate to present his research at several state, regional, and national conferences. He plans to defend his thesis in November.
Camerons research involves studying the impact of forest management on Golden-winged Warblers during the post- fledging period. Very little is known about the habitat use, survival, movement, or behaviors of fledgling songbirds because parents and their young are largely nomadic and cryptic during this time. This is particularly concerning for Golden-winged Warblers as they have seen steady population declines since at least the 1960s. Since nesting success is quite high for Golden-winged Warblers across their range, it's conceivable that survival during the post- fledging period is the main driver of population declines. Researchers have collected data over four summers (2014 - 2017) by attaching 0.4 gram radio-transmitters to fledgling Golden-winged Warblers and tracking their movements and survival in forests managed by the DCNR and PA Game Commission. In addition to learning a lot about habitat use and survival during this time, a few unique events were observed which raise some rather interesting questions regarding the social behaviors of songbirds during the post-fledging period.