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Many Neotropical migrants are undergoing dramatic population declines, including the wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina). My research on the wood thrush focused on understanding the environmental determinants of post-fledgling survival. The post-fledgling period occurs when songbirds leave their nest, but are still dependent on their parents to finish development. It is a critical window of time because it is often when young face the highest mortality rates. I found that forest patch size interacts with climatic factors (specifically drought) to shape wood thrush post-fledgling survival. I began studying wood thrush with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 2013, first as a technician and then as a field crew leader. 


Brandt Ryder | Scott Sillett | Pete Marra

Press about this research

Associated Publication:


Vernasco, B.J., Sillett, T.S., Marra, P.P., Ryder, T.B., 2018. Environmental predictors of nestling condition, postfledging movement, and postfledging survival in a migratory songbird, the Wood Thrush ( Hylocichla mustelina ). Auk 135, 15–24. doi:10.1642/AUK-17-105.1


The field crew from the summer of 2014.

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