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Ornithological Council congratulates winners of 2013 OC Small Grants competition

Fern Davies

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The Ornithological Council is very pleased to announce the recipients of its second round of small grants. 

The review committee, led by Gwen Brewer, Ph.D, had a truly difficult time choosing among may stellar proposals. We were gratified to receive proposals that demonstrated a direct and immediate linkage between the research and the conservation project that would be more likely to succeed by applying the results of the research to the project’s design and operation. Nearly all of the 39 proposals met our criteria and also described high-quality research. Although it is hard to turn down funding requests for worthy projects, we do look forward to having to make this difficult decision again next year. If the Ornithological Council decides to continue this project beyond the three-year pilot phase, we will work to find additional resources so we can fund more proposals.

The three recipients are:


Milene Garbim Gaiotti (Brazil)

The Araripe manakin is an endemic critically endangered species of Araripe plateau in Ceará, Brazil. This proposal aim to know the social and genetic mating system of Araripe manakin by answering this questions: Have males some display to attract females? What kind is its mating system (social and genetic)? If females choose males what attribute would be important? Both sexes take care of offspring? Is the social mating system compatible with genetic mating system? The birds will be mist-netted, color ringed and samples of blood and feathers will be taken as well body measurements. The nests will be found, parents and offspring DNA will be analyzed to paternity test and the mating behavior registered. The results will provide necessary information to make a future population viability analyses (PVA) once mating system plays an important role on the extinction risk of species. 

Brett Bailey (U.S.)
Biodiversity is threatened by agricultural production. Agricultural practices that maintain heterogeneity within the landscape can minimize biodiversity losses. Agroforestry, particularly shade-grown coffee, has gained considerable attention as a conservation tool for declining populations of Neotropical birds. While shade-grown coffee has been shown to support a  considerable diversity and abundance of birds, little is known about the influence of landscape structure and composition on the quality of agroforesty habitats. I have already conducted a 3-year, multi-scale study of demography and local habitat suitability for migrant and resident bird species. I propose a landscape-level analysis to model habitat quality across my 30,000ha study site in northern Honduras to determine the extent to which efforts to enhance biodiversity at the farm-level can be augmented by landscape-scale habitat management. This research will guide regional agricultural development, focusing on the preservation of critical bird habitat, with the 
ultimate goal of increasing connectivity among several national parks. 
Eduardo Palacios Castro (Mexico)
The western race of the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus frazari) is a resident and endangered shorebird of western Mexico. Its ecology and conservation problems are poorly known, but recent information indicates extremely low numbers (2,500 individuals). Because of loss and degradation of sandy beaches by coastal development, disturbance from human recreational activities, and hybridization with the Black Oystercatcher (H. bachmani) the American Oystercatcher is a priority species in 
the Shorebird Conservation Plans of US and Mexico. Through this project, and under the umbrella of the Shorebird Recovery Project for Northwest México, the Ostreros Working Group expect to: 1) Determine breeding performance of American Oystercatchers in northwest Mexico; 2) Estimate rates of juvenile survival across the range; 3) Document critical habitats for the species and conservation measurements; and 4) Provide critical information on linkages of breeding and wintering sites, and relative 
importance of juvenile dispersal and wintering areas.
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