Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Songbird Monitoring

Winter monitoring is underway!

A briefer on the program: Many songbird species that over-winter in North America are declining. Conservation and management of these species require estimates of population densities, survival rates, population trends, and understanding how these factors vary across habitat types and area. Much work has been done on monitoring birds during the breeding season, yet little work has been focused on the non-breeding season. Monitoring songbirds during the winter may provide insight into factors that influence population trends and can be useful to the management and conservation of these species.

Our winter monitoring program is modeled after the Monitoring Avian Winter Survival (MAWS) program in the southern United States and the MoSI (Spanish for monitoring overwinter survival) in Central American and the Caribbean. A program like this has never been attempted in Canada and so this is a pilot project to determine if this program will be successful and possibly duplicated. Southwestern BC is blessed by two factors that will likely contribute to the success of this project, a mild winter climate and a large population of overwintering songbirds. Our goal is to monitor the songbirds at Iona Island four days a month between mid-November until mid-March. I will update the blog following our sessions to provide a picture of how the songbird community changes over the winter.

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