Rails and Snipe, A Funding Strategy
This strategy was developed in 2009 with the input of state, federal, and non-governmental biologists. The purpose of the plan was to determine priority information needs to reduce uncertainties underlying management decisions for rails and snipe. The four priority needs (in order of importance) identified were to:

  1. implement a national monitoring program;
  2. continue to improve the Harvest Information Program sampling frame;
  3. improve the rails and snipe parts collection survey; and
  4. estimate vital rates to support population modeling.

To inform management decisions, plan developers stressed the need to involve Canada and Mexico and the potential importance of breeding, migration, wintering habitats, and harvest that occurs in these countries. In addition, plan developers also recognized that when addressing information needs, regional differences in rail and snipe population characteristics, and the effect of climate and system change, need to be considered.

American Coots, Purple Gallinules and Common Moorhens, A Funding Strategy
This strategy was developed in 2010. The purpose of the plan was to obtain priority information needed to improve habitat and harvest management decisions for migratory populations of American coot, purple gallinule, and common moorhen. The four priority needs (in no particular order of importance) identified were:

  1. implement a National Marshbird Monitoring Program;
  2. update the National Wetland Inventory;
  3. continue to improve the Harvest Information Program sampling frame; and
  4. determine breeding origin of American coots and common moorhens that are harvested at high-harvest locations.

Plan developers identified two overarching guidelines that should be considered along with each of the four information needs:

  1. consider the effects of climate or ecosystem change on this suite of species; and
  2. actively engage Canada and Mexico.

 Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP)
This is a group of academic, governmental, and nonprofit collaborators with the goal of advising and informing management actions across the northeast United States for the long-term conservation of tidal marsh birds and the ecosystem that supports them. The program relies on the consistent monitoring of, and research on, tidal-marsh bird communities and the marshes they inhabit. Annual reports are available back to 2011. Reports provide detailed abundance and distribution estimates, and reproductive biology, for five focal species: clapper rail, willet, saltmarsh sparrow, seaside sparrow, and Nelson’s sparrow. Abundance is also estimated for 19 species of greatest concern. In addition, decision support tools are being developed to help target marshes whose management would provide the greatest conservation benefit.

 Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership
The Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership is a voluntary network committed to informing bird conservation decisions through enhanced coordination and exchange of monitoring information. Since 2009, the Partnership has been supporting the activities of the Midwest Secretive Marshbird Working Group. This Working Group has been instrumental in the pilot study for testing the protocol and sampling design, securing funding and coordination for secretive marsh bird survey efforts in seven Midwest States (IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, and WI), and overseeing the transition of the National Database from USGS to the Avian Knowledge Network. Presently, Working Group members are collaborating to

  1. estimate population sizes and predict distributions of marsh bird species,
  2. make marshbird data and summaries available via the Midwest Avian Data Center, and
  3. understand the impacts of wetland management on marshbird populations.

Harvest Surveys
Some marsh bird species are hunted, such as clapper rail, king rail, sora, Virginia rail, Wilson’s snipe, American coot and common gallinule. In cooperation with state wildlife agencies, the Branch of Harvest Surveys, Division of Migratory Bird Management, estimates the annual harvest of marsh birds (and other migratory birds) and hunting activity using the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Estimates of harvest and hunting activity can be used to make annual regulatory decisions concerning seasons and bag limits. A parts collection survey of wings from harvested rails is also made.

Final Reports for Projects Funded through the Webless Migratory Game Bird Program (2012 - present)

 Implementing the Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Program in Southern Ontario (312.6KB)

 Marshbird Response to Invasive Cattail Control Using Grazing, Mowing, and Herbicide Application in the Prairie Pothole Region of Minnesota (1.3MB)

 Effects of Wetland Management Strategies on Habitat Use of Fall Migrating Rails on Intensively Managed Wetland Complexes in Missouri (1.6MB)

 Estimating Annual Survival Rates from Sparse Band-recovery Data: Examples from Migratory Shore and Upland Gamebirds (477.3KB)

 Responses Of Rail Productivity To Water Level Variability And Factors Affecting Rail Broadcast Survey Results (821.9KB)

 King Rail Nesting and Brood Rearing Ecology in Managed Wetlands (1.7MB)

 Distribution and Abundance of King and Clapper Rails on the Delmarva Penninsula (1.5MB)

Last Updated: October 2, 2017