The Audubon Center at Riverlands has partnered with the Rivers Project Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to develop and implement a citizen science landbird monitoring program for bottomland forests on the Mississippi River, in the Great Rivers Confluence Region. This project will result in valuable information on breeding bird diversity in these forested floodplains.
In the Midwest, some of the largest tracts of forest are found along major rivers such as the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and these forests have the capacity to support a great diversity of birds and other wildlife. Near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi River, the Rivers Project Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers alone manages close to 50,000 acres of public lands, much of which is bottomland forest.
The Mississippi River is a globally significant migratory flyway that provides nesting, resting and feeding habitat for 60% of the migratory bird species in North America, and 40% of North American waterfowl. In all, over 300 species of birds migrate along the Mississippi Flyway. Many species are relatively easy to identify and detect, and the presence and relative abundance of these birds, like the Prothonotary Warbler, may be used to help describe the overall health of bottomland forest ecosystems.