Black Swamp Bird Observatory

Oak Harbor, OH, United States

Black Swamp Bird Observatory

Oak Harbor, OH, United States
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Fournier A.M.V.,Michigan Technological University | Fournier A.M.V.,University of Arkansas | Sheildcastle M.C.,Black Swamp Bird Observatory | Fries A.C.,Ohio State University | Bump J.K.,Michigan Technological University
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013

Virginia rails (Rallus limicola) are secretive marsh birds found in freshwater wetlands across much of North American. There is currently no known way to differentiate between the sexes in the field. We suggest the use of morphometric discriminant analysis as an effective method to separate males and females. We compared the length of the culmen, tarsus, wing chord, and middle toe of live birds captured at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Ottawa Co., OH) during the springs of 2002-2011 and museum specimens measured the summer of 2011. We genetically determined the sex of a subset of samples using an intronic region of the chromo-helicase-DNA-binding gene on the Z and W chromosomes. For live birds, 81% of males and 70% of females were classified correctly; and for museum specimens, 71% of males and 80% of females were classified correctly. This technique provides an accurate and simple method of determining Virginia rail sex that can contribute to efforts to better understand population demographics. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.


Fournier A.M.V.,University of Arkansas | Shieldcastle M.C.,Black Swamp Bird Observatory | Kashmer T.,Black Swamp Bird Observatory | Mylecraine K.A.,Black Swamp Bird Observatory
Waterbirds | Year: 2015

Several studies have documented the arrival time of spring migration of Virginia Rails (Rallus limicola), King Rails (R. elegans), and Soras (Porzana Carolina) on the southwestern shore of Lake Erie, though not in recent decades, and most of this information is based on anecdotal records. These three species were captured in wetlands on Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ottawa and Lucas Counties, Ohio, USA, from 2004 to 2009. Virginia Rails and Soras were documented arriving in northern Ohio earlier than previous research, but not older anecdotal records. King Rails were within the bounds of all previous records. Using traps with playback may have allowed us to detect these species at earlier dates than previous research. Documenting current spring migration arrival timing of these three secretive marsh bird species is important for future monitoring, research and wetland management. © 2015, The Waterbird Society. All rights reserved.

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