Lakeland Associate Professor of Biology Paul Pickhardt will travel to the tundra of Alaska in May and June as an invited scientist of the Smithsonian Institution's Migratory Bird Center.
The group will study the Alaska bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), a small ground nesting thrush that breeds in Alaska and the Yukon but overwinters in Asia, which is unusual for migratory birds. Pickhardt will be part of a research team headed by ornithologists and conservation biologists from the Smithsonian, Cornell University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The research team captured and marked bluethroats in the previous breeding season and the current research efforts will try to recapture marked individuals to determine overwintering survivorship and gain insights on the bird’s overwintering habitat locations in Asia.
Pickhardt is excited to work in a tundra environment where the team will likely encounter muskox, moose, caribou, lemmings and grizzly bears and he will share photographs of the research trip in a future posting. The Nome/Bering Sea area research efforts will produce a manuscript for a peer-reviewed publication later this year.
For more information on the Alaska bluethroat, see: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bluethroat/overview
Photo by Craig Watson Photography.