Understanding the connectivity between breeding and nonbreeding populations of migratory birds is fundamental to our knowledge of biological phenomena such as population dynamics and dispersal. Moreover, our ability to quantify migratory connectivity has inevitable consequences for both conservation and management of species that utilize distinct geographic locations. Technology is rapidly advancing our ability to track birds throughout the annual cycle and to collect data on the degree of connectivity among breeding and nonbreeding populations. We combined two direct methods, mark—recapture (n = 17) and geolocation (n = 6), to estimate the migratory connectivity of breeding and nonbreeding populations of Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis). Data from geolocators show that birds breeding in the Mid-Atlantic overwinter in both Cuba and southern Florida. Mark-recapture data supported our geolocator results but also provided a broader spatial perspective by documenting that Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern populations occupy distinct geographic localities during the nonbreeding period. This research underscores the importance of geolocators, as well as other tools, to advance our understanding of migratory connectivity. Finally, our results highlight the potential value of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory mark-recapture data, which are often underutilized in ornithological research.
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Vol. 128 • No. 3