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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


An old growth Yellow Birch shows bark characteristics unlike those of younger trees.
In order to maximize their usefulness, data from forest bird surveys should be related to data on forest habitats.  During the Forest Bird Survey of Southern New England, Bird Conservation Research, Inc. gathered data on a variety of habitat parameters along with data on bird distributions.  Such information has proven useful for uncovering relationships between bird communities, bird species and habitats occupied.

An ongoing part of the Forest Bird Survey has involved student-conducted studies on forests bordering the Blackstone River in Massachusetts.  In addition to gathering data on winter bird occurrence, students also conduct an in-depth analysis of the forests in which the birds live.  They use plotless point-quarter sampling to characterize characterize the composition, density and basal area of canopy and understory trees.  

To help with identification of the tree species encountered along the river, BCR has prepared a full color, downloadable guide to winter trees of the region.  It provides photos of 33 tree species, profiles of their distinguishing characteristics and descriptions of their ecological relationships.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


A slide from the PowerPoint presentation Populations, which is one of three presentations recently updated on the BCR web site.

The very popular series of  PowerPoint presentations for Advanced Placement Environmental Science is being updated and expanded.  This series is produced by Bird Conservation Research, Inc. and aligns with the national AP curriculum.

To date, the newest versions of Earth Systems and Resources, The Living World and Populations have been posted to the BCR web site under the Educators tab.  The presentations Environmental Pollution and Land and Water Resources will be updated over the next few months.

In addition to these slide shows, a new one entitled Energy Resources and Consumption is planned for release during this year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


The salt marsh ecosystem and coastal-upland interface are the subjects of Bird Conservation Research's most recent video release. This video is part of our series on New England habitats. Other productions of the series include Bogs, Beaches and Floodplains.  All videos are suitable for inclusion into the national AP Environmental Science curriculum.

Salt Marshes explores the coastal vegetation zonation that develops as a consequence of tidal inundation, water salinity and coastal storms. As these physical influences diminish landward, different communities of plants appear and are progressively replaced by others.  As the boundary between wetland and upland is reached, herbaceous marsh plants are replaced initially by a narrow fringe of upland grasses, which is then replaced by thickets of woody species. These latter two communities are among the least common of New England’s natural habitats.  Inland from the thickets, an open and somewhat stunted forest community called coastal forest develops.

The bird life of the salt marsh is investigated in the video as well, with representative species of the marsh and adjacent tidal mudflats depicted.  

This video is the next-to-last one in our first generation of video productions.  The last will be entitled Plant Succession, and plans call for its release later this year.