On the heels of Indiana’s first full-time Motus research station at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, the Efroymson Family Fund has again awarded Indiana Audubon an $11,000 grant to expand upon the initial research into bird migration movement. 

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a collaborative research network that uses coordinated automated radio telemetry arrays to study movements of small animals. Motus is a program of Bird Studies Canada in partnership with Acadia University and collaborating researchers and organizations.

In 1998, Dan and Lori Efroymson established the Efroymson Family Fund.  The fund continues a long legacy of charitable commitment by the Efroymson family in Indiana. Since Dan’s passing in 1999, Lori Efroymson-Aguilera and their two children, Jeremy and Elissa, have continued the family’s philanthropic legacy in Indianapolis and across the United States by providing financial support to a diverse range of issues including arts and culture, historic preservation, the environment and helping those in need. To date, the Efroymson Family Fund has awarded more than $100 million in grants.

Last year, Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary installed the first full-time Motus tower in Indiana and began placing special bands to detect bird movement on saw-whet owls after they have left their migration through the grounds at Mary Gray.  The Motus tower expansion will allow for further tagging of both Northern Saw-whet Owls and to study summer movements of breeding birds within the sanctuary, particularly Wood Thrush.  Wood Thrush have experienced notable declines across their range and current research is testing their response to both natural areas and areas with high invasive plant species.  Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to study movement of breeding birds in a natural resource management ecosystem in comparison with nearby parks and preserves that face larger invasive species issues.  Mobile trackers purchased through the grant will also allow for precise tracking of summer birds. 

“Indiana Audubon Society is thrilled to be a 2019 grant recipient,” said Brad Bumgardner, IAS Executive Director.  “This funding continues upon the early successes the society has had with the Motus network at our Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.  We look forward to expanding our efforts in both conservation and education alongside the Efroymson Family Fund.”

Indiana Audubon looks forward to sharing more as the transmitters are put on our visiting birds.  Visitors can take part in summer bird banding to see the research in action and to learn more about this exciting grant. Those wishing to match this grant funding may donate or gift the society on it’s website.

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