Listen: Following the Wings

Radio documentary about bird migration features feathered connection between the St. Croix Valley and Costa Rica.




2 minute read

This program was originally broadcast on KFAI community radio. 

Evolution in tracking technology is accelerating the pace of research into bird migration, providing unprecedented detail on issues such as the timing of migration, migratory routes, and habitat selection on breeding and wintering grounds. For the first time in history, miniaturized devices such as geo-locators allow tracking of individual songbirds over long distances, while larger birds can be tracked in nearly real time with precise locational fixes using GPS satellite technology. Following the Wings (28 min.) features researchers leading Minnesota-based migration studies, and explores conservation efforts happening at the local and international level.

Interviews focus on wintering golden eagles in the Driftless Area of SE MN with Mark Martell (Audubon MN); international migration of golden-winged warblers with David Anderson and Gunnar Kramer (U.S. Geological Survey and University of MN); studies of common loons with Kevin Kenow (U.S. Geological Survey), patterns in migratory birds’ use of airspace with Anna Peterson (Western State Colorado University, formerly U of MN) and international partnerships for conservation of neo-tropical migrants with Guido Saborio (Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica).

Where are they now?

Follow the movements of marked loons and golden eagles using satellite telemetry in these ongoing research studies:

Referenced published research

Martell, M. and Mehus, S. A Wintering Population of Golden Eagles in Southwestern Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota.

Click to access golden_eagle_passengerpigeon_2010.pdf

Peterson, S.M., G.R. Kramer, H.M. Streby, J.A. Lehman, D.A. Buehler, and D.E. Andersen. 2015. Geolocators on golden-winged warblers do not affect migratory ecology. Condor: Ornithological Applications.

Anna C. Peterson, Gerald J. Niemi, and Douglas H. Johnson 2015. Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier. Ecological Applications 25:673–684.

See also

American Bird Conservancy
Osa Conservation
Sister Parks Partnership, National Parks in the Midwestern US and Costa Rica


Audio of bird songs used with permission of the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Audio from the 2015 Migratory Bird Festival, Puerto Jimenez, courtesy Nina Koch and Patty Mueller. Special thanks to all the interviewed researchers for advising on content, as well as Nancy Sartor, Todd Melby, Noel Clark, and Rico Morales and Dale Connelly at KFAI and Rich Baker, Minnesota DNR.