Research

The Science and Research Committee was established to provide review of the Project’s ongoing banding efforts and to search out new research initiatives.  The committee is interested in developing relationships with researchers who would benefit from hands-on access to migrating raptors. Interested individuals can contact us at cmrbp@comcast.net.

 

Tracking Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons at Cape May!

Cape May Raptor Banding Project banders provided one Golden Eagle and eight Peregrine Falcons to researchers during the 2016 banding season so that they could be fitted with cellular transmitters.

Photo by John Shafer
Golden Eagle with transmitter; photo by John Shafer

Dr. Trish Miller, West Virginia University, assisted by Mike Lanzone of Cellular Tracking Technologies, banded and attached a GPS telemetry unit to a hatching year male Golden Eagle on October 14, 2016. Dr. Miller and Mr. Lanzone hope to attach additional transmitters to Golden Eagles in the future to learn more about movement ecology of coastal Golden Eagles and how they may differ from the Appalachian Plateau wintering population. The project is a collaboration between Dr. Miller, Cellular Tracking Technologies, the USGS, New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory and the Cape May Raptor Banding Project Inc.

For more information about golden eagles visit www.appalachianeagles.org

 

Dr. Jean Francois Therrien, Senior Research Biologist at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, attached GPS cellular

Photo by Matias Juhant
Peregrine with transmitter; photo by Matias Juhant

transmitters to eight Peregrine Falcons as they migrated through Cape May. The project focused on hatching year juvenile Peregrines and will study the dispersal and migration paths of these young falcons as they move up and down the east coast of North America over the next three years.  It has long been known that many peregrine falcons engage in long-distance migrations annually across the Americas. This project aims to precisely assess the timing of their migrations, the routes taken and habitat use. The project is supported by the Max Plank Institute.

For more information about Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and its tracking projects visit www.hawkmountain.org.

 

Here are some additional projects that are happening at Cape May Point:

 

Raptor Feather Sampling: Feather samples were taken by CMRBP banders once again in 2016. The feathers are shipped  to the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) for storage and analysis. In addition to the research done by BRI on mercury content, the feather bank will be available to others for related research. For more information about BRI….click here

 

Feather Samples of Prey Items: Remnant feather samples from prey items were collected from the talons and mouth area of raptors and forwarded to Dr. John Delong at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Delong is conducting research on how the migration affects prey selection as raptors move out of their home territories.

 

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photo by Alec Humann

Flight Kinematics: Dr. Suzanne Amador Kane of Haverford College returned to Cape May to continue her project of filming raptor take-off and maneuvering kinematics. For more information about Suzanne Amador Kane and her research…..click here.

Assessing Body Condition of Migrating American Kestrels:  CMRBP, Inc. is providing historical data for Teresa Ely’s Master’s thesis research using body mass information to determine if lack of food availability reflected in body condition is a potential cause for the long term decline of the American Kestrel population.

Cooper’s Hawk Morphometrics: CMRBP, Inc. is providing historical data for a study by Alexis Wells, to determine if ongoing bander observations of Cooper’s Hawks requiring larger than typical band sizes is statistically significant.

Flat Flies and Avian Pathogens: Dr. Nick Baer and his students from Colby-Sawyer College collected flat flies for research related to avian pathogens.

Deterrence Effects of High Brightness Lights: In 2014 and 2015, researchers at Lite Enterprises, Inc., Donald Ronning, President, conducted research to assess the reactions of approaching Red-tailed hawks to newly developed high brightness lights. Preliminary feedback is positive and there are expectations that that the lights will prove to be an effective deterrent in areas such as airports, wind farms and more.

Possible Hen Harrier banded in Cape May: In the fall of 2010, Katy Duffy a long time bander with the Project, captured a harrier with unusual plumage, mass and physical measurements. To read more….click here.

Male Kestcapemaynelson08amkerel Plumage: In 2010, the Project cooperated with Elizabeth Wommack from U.C. Berkley, on a study investigating correlation between genetic variation and plumage coloration in male American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). For more information about Elizabeth Wommack and the Bowie lab at U.C. Berkeley click here

IMG_0677-001Merlin Population Genetics Research: During the 2009 season, the Project cooperated with Dr. Joshua Hull on a molecular genetic investigation of morphological and genetic differentiation among the three subspecies of Merlin (Falco columbarius) to test whether there is a genetic east-west population division in North America. For more information on Dr Hull and related projects, click here.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Migration Counts: Were the declines in the Sharp-shinned hawk migration counts of the mid-80’s related to the Spruce Budworm population? To read Nicholas Bolgiano’s paper on this  click here.

 

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Click here to see the 2015 Annual Report

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Committee Members

Paul Napier, Chair of the Science and Research Committee, President of CMRBP, Inc.

Olin Allen, Board Member CMRBP, Inc.

Nick Baer, Board Member, CMRBP, Inc.

Kathleen E. Clark, Principal Non-game Zoologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Non-game Species.

Katy Duffy, Board Member, CMRBP, Inc

Dan James, Wildlife Biologist, Retired, U.S. Geological Survey, Status and Trends Program team.

Jim Malone, Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.