Laughing Whitefish Bird Alliance


Grant for Upper Peninsula Avian Research  and/or Avian-Related Conservation Project

The Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society is sponsoring yearly research and/or conservation grant of up to $500 that will be awarded to individuals or groups doing avian research OR avian-related conservation projects in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Proposals may be submitted each year, although preference for awards may be given to applicants who have not received a previous grant.

Upper Peninsula Avian Research/Conservation Grant Application

Application Deadline: The application must be received by January 31 of the calendar year in which the grant money will be used.
Notification of awards: All applicants will be notified about their status by March 31.
Requirements: A status report is due by December 31.

Grant Recipients

Rachel Weisbeck is originally from Seattle and received her BS in Biology from the University of Washington. Prior to beginning her master’s, she worked as a field technician on nest-searching and bird-banding projects in several different regions, including northern California, eastern Australia, and Minnesota. She received her MS degree from NMU in December 2021. 
She used the grant monies to help fund her study of  “Impact of bloodborne pathogens on reproductive outcomes in white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis)”
Rachel monitored a population of white-throated sparrows in Marquette County over the course of two breeding seasons (2020 and 2021). She worked with a small crew of undergraduate field assistants to determine breeding pairs, map territories, locate nests, and take small blood samples from both adult birds and nestlings in this population. Rachel then used these blood samples to determine the presence of blood-borne diseases (such as avian malaria and West Nile virus) among individuals and analyzed whether adult birds that were infected with these diseases had different reproductive outcomes than birds that were uninfected.

Rachel’s Zoom Presentation

Emily Griffith comes to NMU from the University of Florida and will use her grant funds to help with her research on “Evaluating Sex Differences in Ultraviolet Coloration of the Long-eared Owl.” Her study will increase the knowledge of the ability of birds to see in the ultraviolet spectrum and that ability’s biological significance.

Carly Paget, is a graduate student at Northern Michigan University through the Biology department.  She plans to study the Common Loon population at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and investigate why their numbers have been decreasing.  She will take a look at certain blood pathogens that are known to affect loon populations as well as West Nile Virus.  Her studies will also include studying the effects of water levels and predation on nesting success. CJPaget_LWAS_AvianResearchGrantApplication

Connor Gable, a graduate student in the Biology Department of Northern Michigan University
Connor will identify wood decay fungi to species level and examine the role that wood decay fungi play in nest-site selection by comparing the fungal communities in Black-capped Chickadee nest cavities to control trees.This award will be used for expenses and supplies to be used Connor’s research.  Click on the following link to view Connor’s research proposal:
Do Fungal Communities in Trees Influence Black-capped Chickadee Nest Site Selection

Zach Gayk, independent researcher, Keweenaw Peninsula
This award will be used for expenses and equipment needed for a follow-up study of Zach’s original research on warbler migration in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Zach will use automated recorders in concert with visual tallies to document the calls of all species and individuals flying over the Keweenaw shoreline. This will allow a more detailed analysis of the time when birds fly and whether certain species have distinct patterns of flocking and migration behavior. Click on the following link to view Zach’s research proposal:
Flight-calling in Wood-Warblers (Parulidae): Does Species-Specific Behavior Drive Evolution of Calls?

Gary Palmer,
 a graduate student in the Biology department at Northern Michigan University. This award will help fund the third year of the Peninsula Point Bird Survey, a study to document and record spring migration at the tip of the Garden Peninsula on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Click on the following link to view Gary’s research proposal:
Peninsula Point Bird Survey

Laurel Hill,
 a graduate student in the Biology department at Northern Michigan University. The award will help fund Laurel’s research for her Masters’ thesis. Click on the following link to view Laurel’s research proposal:
“Changes in Population and Habitat of Spruce Grouse on the Yellow Dog Plains”