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Title: Sixteen years of habitat-based bird monitoring in the Nicolet National Forest

Author: Howe, Robert W.; Roberts, Lance J.;

Date: 2005

Source: In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 2 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 963-973

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The 16-year-old Nicolet National Forest Bird Survey is the longest-running volunteer monitoring program on any U.S. national forest. Every year, teams of volunteer observers led by at least one expert with proven field experience sample more than 250 permanent points during the second weekend in June. Altogether 512 points are monitored, approximately half during a given year. Observers use a standard 10-minute point count, separated into three time intervals (0-3 min, 3-5 min, 5-10 min) and three bird-to-observer distance categories (<50 m, 50-100 m, >100m). Since 1989, 75- 100 volunteers have participated annually. The initial objective was to quantify the relative abundances, patterns of habitat use, and geographic distributions of breeding birds in the 661,400-acre national forest. The longevity of the survey now permits analyses of regional population trends and more detailed modeling of bird-habitat associations. Results are used with GIS data to predict bird distributions across the region. Data from the survey are available at http://www.uwgb.edu/ 20birds/nnf/. Important findings include: 1) species assemblages sampled by the Nicolet National Forest Bird Survey are different from those monitored by the North American Breeding Bird Survey; 2) an alarmingly large number of species (45) have shown significant declines, compared with only seven species that have shown significant increases; 3) data from the point counts can be used to identify species-specific habitat associations and geographic distribution patterns; and 4) GIS tools can be used to effectively model the distribution of many species across the entire forest. Production of a custom CD of local bird songs has provided an incentive for participation and has helped cultivate a sustained base of expertise among volunteer observers in this regional bird monitoring program.

Keywords: bird habitat associations, Breeding Bird Survey, GIS landscape analysis, Nicolet National Forest, population trends, Wisconsin

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Howe, Robert W.; Roberts, Lance J. 2005. Sixteen years of habitat-based bird monitoring in the Nicolet National Forest. In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 2 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 963-973

 


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