Rails: secretive, understudied, and in decline

June 21  |  7 p.m.  |  Nature Lab & Zoom

Rails are a group of marsh birds that are traditionally challenging to monitor, especially during their winter and migratory periods. At our chapter’s June meeting, we’ll hear from Tabitha Olsen, an M.Sc. student in biology at the University of Central Oklahoma and our chapter’s 2022 Fox Student Grant recipient.

With the support of the Fox Grant, Tabitha has been part of rail research that aims to improve and compare monitoring techniques for six species of rail along the Texas Gulf Coast: Yellow Rail, Black Rail, King Rail, Clapper Rail, Sora, and Virginia Rail.

Tabitha’s presentation will showcase three primary projects and discoveries from 2022 and 2023:

  • Monitoring of all six species using passive and active survey methodology
  • Discovery of a new Yellow Rail winter vocalization and how this has changed how researchers find the species in the winter
  • Showcase of drone thermal imaging results and how researchers have successfully used this technology to detect Black Rail and Yellow Rail in 2023

NOTE:  This important meeting will also include an election of chapter officers and directors.  It will be the last program meeting of the summer, before we go on hiatus for July and August.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. and will be offered via Zoom (register below), but we invite local members to view the presentation with us at Ball State’s Nature Lab, located at 2500 W. University Ave. in Muncie. Parking is available on the south side of the building and is free after 5 p.m. The building is wheelchair-accessible.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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