A color-banded population of Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) has been intensely studied since 1973 in the 15 ha University of Delaware woodlot and will be continued. UDW is a secondary forest, contains some trees greater than 100 years of age, and is located in a suburban landscape immediately surrounded by cropland, athletic fields, a University road, a highway, and a residential area.
The life history of the Wood Thrush is representative of the life history of most North American passerine species. It is migratory, breeding in a variety of eastern forest types and wintering in the Neotropics, has an open-cup nest, and feeds on invertebrates. Wood Thrush are a well studied Nearctic-Neotropical migrant species and preliminary data suggest Wood Thrush reproduction or survival is susceptible to environmental mercury (Hg).
The objectives of this project are to determine variation in Wood Thrush Hg levels, to evaluate the effects of Hg on Wood Thrush reproductive success in the University of Delaware Woods , and examine the candidacy of the Wood Thrush as a suitable bioindicator of environmental Hg.
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