Researchers from the Harte Research Institute of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have been conducting research on little blue herons at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, supported by the refuge, which is providing housing.
Little blue herons and other wading birds have been used as indicator species for a variety of wetland ecosystems because they provide clear and rapid responses to changes in environmental conditions.
The refuge reported that compared to other species, little blue heron movement patterns outside of the breeding season are poorly understood.
PhD student Alexander Sharp and field technician Asch McDonnell are capturing, banding and deploying solar-powered satellite transmitters on those wintering at the refuge.
The data collected from the transmitters will allow them to identify important areas for the population, including nest colonies, nocturnal roosts and migration routes. The data will also help them understand what habitat attributes are important for determining foraging locations for the species.
Thanks to our friends at the Ding Darling Wildlife Society for the update and photo!