The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in Bath invites the public to join them virtually at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 9, to discuss the dynamic relationship between climate change, the migration of songbirds, and shifts in the practices of hay farmers.

KELT Land and Development Coordinator Maeve McGowan and the University of New England’s Dr. Noah Perlut as they discuss the migration of grassland songbirds, Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows, in the context of a changing climate and a working agricultural landscape, according to a news release from the trust. 

Maeve McGowan holds a Savannah Sparrow while doing field work in Vermont. Photo by Maeve McGowan

McGowan is a recent graduate from University of New England where she studied environmental science and researched migratory birds and climate change. With her research project, she set out to understand the response of Bobolinks, a long distance migrant, and Savannah sparrows, a short distance migrant, to climate induced phenological changes.

Throughout her project, it became evident that the mismatch between the responses of farmers to climate change and the response, or lack thereof, of grassland birds is creating a dynamic challenge that may have implications on conservation efforts.

Perlut, Environmental Studies Department chairman and Associate Professor at UNE, has been studying breeding populations of Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows in Shelburne, Vermont, for nearly two decades. Since 2002, Perlut and his team of research assistants have been gathering in depth data on these breeding populations in order to have a robust, complete understanding of the species.

Perlut has been published in numerous scientific journals, encompassing his work with grassland birds, forest songbirds and gulls. His expertise include breeding systems, migration, dispersal, life-history strategies and more.

Registrants will receive a Zoom link to the web-based lecture following their registration and again before the event. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions in the registration link and the chat box during the meeting.

For more information or to register, visit kennebecestuary.org/upcoming-events/grasslandbirds2020 or call 207-442-8400.

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