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The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has announced the much-anticipated publication of The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Rhode Island, a rich account of the data captured in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island (URI) during a 2015-2019 community science survey. This publication is a must-have for anyone invested in the future of bird conservation in Rhode Island.
In 2014, DFW collaborated with URI to initiate Rhode Island’s second Atlas on breeding birds. The project was completed between 2015 and 2019 with the support of over 200 volunteers, 20 biological technicians, and dedicated project leads, authors, editors, statisticians, and mapmakers. Together, a total of 3,705 breeding season point count surveys were conducted and 173 species were detected in the state.
Written by Charles E. Clarkson, Jason E. Osenkowski, Valerie A. Steen, Roland J. Duhaime, and Peter W. C. Paton, this new resource provides key information to aid in effective land management and conservation for Rhode Island birds. The 480-page book includes the life history, breeding ecology, migration phenology, distribution, abundance, management recommendations, and climate vulnerability for all 173 species that were detected during a state inventory of avifauna in collaboration with URI. The exclusive maps that are included were generated by pairing these data with the habitat information available through the Rhode Island Geographic Information System (RIGIS) to predict occupancy and demonstrate the changes since the first breeding bird atlas, which was performed over 30 years prior.
“DEM is grateful for its partnership with URI and the authors, professionals, and hundreds of volunteers whose dedication along with DFW staff has resulted in the publication of this valuable resource which will help guide conservation efforts,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Rhode Island’s birds can often serve as important indicators of our environment and how it’s changing. The Saltmarsh Sparrow and American Black Ducks depicted on the cover are two of these sentinel species whose populations monitored in the atlas indicate habitat degradation due to sea level rise, informing climate change impact mitigation projects and future conversation in Rhode Island.”
This project was conceived and funded by DFW, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) Program which provides support to state fish and wildlife agencies to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance populations of wild birds, mammals, and their habitats.
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