In 2023, UF graduate student and board member Zachery Holmes initiated a Prothonotary Warbler Nest Box Project to aid in the conservation of the only cavity nesting warbler species and one of the few breeding warbler species in Florida.
The goal of this project is to aid the local population of Prothonotary Warblers, gain knowledge on this species in the southern extent of their breeding range, aid regional conservation efforts, and provide learning opportunities for college students on a variety of important field-based skills.
The Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) is a neotropical migratory songbird that breeds in forested wetlands and floodplains throughout the eastern United States. Their breeding season in Florida fluctuates slightly from year to year but begins when pairs return from their wintering grounds, from mid to late March, and lasts through mid to late August. These beautiful warblers breed in forested wetlands and floodplains in Florida. Due to a variety of issues including habitat conversion, habitat degradation, increased predation, and lack of available nesting opportunities, this species is in decline across its range. Researchers have already determined the appropriate combination of habitat and nest site characteristics that produce the highest breeding success. With this knowledge, one of the easiest ways to help is to provide additional nest sites in suitable habitat. AAS is installing 40 nest boxes near Newnans Lake and monitoring them for the upcoming breeding season. Additionally, we are conducting point-count surveys at several locations in suitable habitat to get a better picture of our local prothonotary warbler population.