Featured milestone: Rarest species banded
May 2012
Our mission
The Rouge River Bird Observatory was established in 1992 to explore an understudied area of research: the importance of urban natural areas to birds. In our increasingly urbanizing world, habitat fragments in metropolitan areas are coming critical to the survival of birds. Understanding these ecosystems and how birds use them is essential for science-based conservation.
Rouge River Bird Observatory
Environmental Interpretive Cntr.
Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn
Dearborn, Michigan 48128


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Your donation does more than support RRBO research. The skills learned by RRBO banders lay the foundation for successful careers, creating a ripple effect that greatly magnifies your contribution. Here's an example:

Greg Norwood, USFWS  
Greg started volunteering with RRBO when he was only 12 years old, helping on our annual Christmas Bird Counts. When it came time for college, Greg chose UM-Dearborn so he could continue to participate in RRBO research. He became a bird bander, bird surveyor, and led bird walks and school programs. Greg became aware of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge through RRBO's work there. He started working there as an intern prior to graduation, continued through his graduate degree, and is now a full-time Refuge Biologist. We look forward to Greg's daughter Ruth joining the RRBO team one day! 

Missed an issue? 
You can view past issues of our newsletter on the RRBO web site. 

This year, I'll be featuring species that represent RRBO milestones. Here's our latest installment...

On May 13, 1993, we captured an interesting bird in our banding nets. It looked something like one of our most commonly-banded species, a Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla), but it did not have an entirely yellow breast. It was with some amazement that we confirmed this bird was actually a Virginia's Warbler (Oreothlypis virginiae) -- a bird typically found in the southwestern U.S.

This was the first record of this species for the state of Michigan, and one of the few at the time east of the Mississippi.

The record was documented in the following paper:
Craves, J. A.  1994.  First state record: Virginia's Warbler. Michigan Birds and Natural History 1(1):16-19.

And you can read the full story on the RRBO web site.

If you are interested in other rarities that have been seen in Dearborn, take a look at the Dearborn bird checklist, compiled and maintained by RRBO.

We have a Chimney Swift tower!
Chimney Swifts are probably familiar summer birds to many of us, yet their populations are in real trouble. Part of the reason is that most modern chimneys are no longer suitable for these birds to nest or roost in.

Fortunately, it's possible to construct substitutes. That's just what
Stephen Licious did for his Eagle Scout project. The new tower is behind the Environmental Interpretive Center, awaiting its first residents.

Read all about it and check out the photos at the RRBO blog Net Results. 


Moth program a success!
Our program with the author of the  new field guide to moths, Seabrooke Leckie, was a success.

About 30 participants were treated to a short presentation on moths and the environment, and then we made the rounds of Seabrooke's moth attracting set-ups. Even with the cool weather, we were able to attract and identify 17 species, like the Curve-toothed Geometer above.

Read about the evening at our blog Net Results.
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The Rouge River Bird Observatory is supported outside the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Environmental Interpretive Center budgets by private donors, foundations, community groups, and grants.


The most valuable ecological research requires a long-term commitment to data-gathering.    


Your donations support bird banding, bird population monitoring, publishing research, strategic planning and cooperative research, and community outreach.


RRBO is supported by YOU.
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