Natal Philopatry (published in 2013 in PloS ONE)
General Overview: Since 1994, we have banded >10,000 Prothonotary Warbler nestlings in the Cache River watershed, and searched for them in subsequent years across southern Illinois and northern Kentucky. We have found that the vast majority (80%) of offspring that return to breed, do so to within 2 km (roughly a mile) of where they were produced. We looked at 2,500 breeding adults in the 20-40 km (12-25 mile) range (away from our core study area) and did not find a single banded bird. The implication of this result is that offspring recruit into the population near where they were produced. The great management implication of this result is that local conservation efforts to improve nesting success will benefit local population dynamics. Simply put, it seems that birds produced in the Cache return to the Cache or very close to it, and local habitat management efforts that improve nesting success (land acquisition, restoration, consolidation of forests, managing water levels, etc.) will now provide an even greater benefit to the local bird community.