Mark your calendars!

The NORTHEAST REGIONAL MIGRATION MONITORING NETWORK ANNUAL MEETING will be held April 28-29, 2016, at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park in beautiful Downeast Maine!

Join us for another fun and productive meeting as we continue to learn about bird and bat movements, network with other researchers, and build collaborations across North America and beyond! This year's meeting will feature several workshops and updates on the use of nanotags and other technology in studying animal movement. For more information about NRMMN and the meeting, and to be put on the NRMMN mailing list, contact Dr. Rebecca Holberton, rebecca.holberton 'AT'

Join us for the 2016 NRMMN Meeting in Acadia National Park in downeast Maine, April 28-29!

NRMMN 2015 meeting participants:

What is NRMMN?

(top) View of Western Brothers Island in the northern Gulf of Maine (RHolberton© photo); (middle) Yellow-rumped warbler on stopover at Metinic Island during fall migration across the Gulf of Maine (RHolberton© photo); (bottom) Whimbrel foraging in a blueberry field at Petit Manan Point - Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge during fall migration (RHolberton© photo).

NRMMN is a dynamic interactive group of resource agencies, academic institutions, non-government organizations, and private foundations from Atlantic Canada to the mid-Atlantic region working to learn about the movement biology and ecology of birds and bats.

NRMMN's Statement of Purpose -

  1. to provide a platform for sharing and integrating information and data about birds (and bats) that occur in the Region.

  2. to facilitate the coordination of activities within the network (e.g. arranging annual meetings, sharing data, developing publications and presentations, coordinating research and efforts to secure financial support, promote public education about migratory birds, and bats, in the region)

Beginning as a small working group in 2010, NRMMM expanded rapidly to meet the growing demands for information about full life cycle conservation of animals in our region. Through partnerships and pooled resources NRMMN researchers:

  • compile what is known about bird and bat movements in northeastern North America,
  • identify gaps in knowledge and, through cooperative projects, work to fill in those gaps,
  • make information available to the science community and general public, as well as resource managers and policy makers, in order to support the conservation of birds and bats.

Recent activities arising out of NRMMN partnerships include:

  1. Region-wide banding and passive acoustic monitoring program operated by US Fish & Wildlife Service - Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, in conjunction with the National Park Service at Acadia National Park, which led to the discovery of a major 'songbird superhighway':

    (left) A Blue-headed vireo is getting a numbered USGS leg band while captured on stopover at Metinic Island during fall migration. (RHolberton© photo); (right) The automated microphone set-up at Petit Manan Point - Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge (photo courtesy of FWS-MCINWR).

    Savannah Sparrow on stopover at Machias Seal Island (RHolberton© photo).
  3. Phil Taylor and his students at Acadia University in Nova Scotia are using marine surveillance radar and an array of automated VHF nanotag radiotelemetry stations to understand stopover behavior and migration movements across different spatial scales:


    Arctic tern carrying fish back to its nest on Petit Manan Island - USFWS-MCINWR (RHolberton© photo).
  5. USFWS-MCINWR biologists are using nanotag digital radiotelemetry and automated receiver arrays to locate important seabird foraging areas in the Gulf of Maine during the breeding season and movements of terns and shearwaters within and beyond the Gulf of Maine:


    Male Blackpoll warbler on stopover at Machias Seal Island during spring migration (RHolberton© photo).
  7. University of Massachusetts researchers, as part of their NSF-IGERT program, are using a continent-wide automated VHF nanotag radiotelemetry array, established by Phil Taylor, to study bird movements along the Atlantic Flyway in order to support best practices for offshore wind development. Graduate student, Jen Smetzer, is linking habitat characteristics with the birds' body condition to understand variation in migratory movements and habitat quality:


  9. UMaine and shorebird biologist, Lindsay Tudor, at Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife are using nanotag radiotelemetry to identify high value shorebird feeding areas and roost sites in the Gulf of Maine during fall migration.
  10. A group of Semi-palmated sandpipers flying down the Penobscot River during fall
    migration; a Lotek nanotag is shown in the insert (RHolberton© photo; nanotag photo
    courtesy of Lotek, Inc.).

The Gulf of Maine region is busy, complex, and important!

A wintering Greater shearwater flying offshore in the Gulf of Maine (RHolberton© photo).

Only through collaboration and by integrating multiple methods such as stable isotope sampling, banding, radar, radiotelemetry, and passive acoustic monitoring, are NRMMN partners showing that the Gulf of Maine region is a busy, complex, and important flyway for birds and bats. Over 300 bird species comprising all major avian taxa occur in the Gulf of Maine region. During fall migration, 50 % or more of some landbird species moving through the region are coming from breeding populations as far west as Alaska and western Canada, illustrating that the region concentrates birds on a continent-wide scale. And, with over 80% of its migrants heading to and from the Arctic and boreal regions, which are undergoing major threats from global climate change, the Gulf of Maine region must provide critical resources, such as high quality stopover areas to rest and refuel and passageways safe from collision with structures such as communication towers and commercial wind energy projects during the period that posed the challenges for many species. Understanding animal movements at different spatial scales is essential for supporting full life cycle conservation!

There is still much to do! Please contact me to learn more about NRMMN and how you can participate!


Dr. Rebecca Holberton, Director
Laboratory of Avian Biology
Rm 221 Murray Hall
School of Biology & Ecology
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Email: rebecca.holberton 'AT' (note that 'AT' replaces @ to prevent email harvesting)
Tel: 207-581-2526
Fax: 207-581-2537

2015 NRMMN meeting in Acadia National Park

Attendees at the 2015 NRMMN meeting
A small group of Common eiders relaxing near shore at Acadia National Park (RHolberton© photo).


The following pages serve as a listing of pertinent references by subject (methods, reports, seabirds, passerines, bats) relating to the monitoring of migratory birds in the Gulf of Maine. PDF files are available by clicking on the reference link.