Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Share with Wildlife – Project Highlight: Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Kirsten Cruz-McDonnell surveying for birds (Zen Mocarski)

Have you ever been hiking and thought you heard a lot of different species of birds calling in the forest? Did you try to count the number of different calls and figure out how many species were nearby? What would you think if you knew that there had been more than 10 birds within 300 feet of where you were walking? Realizations like this are a common occurrence for Kirsten Cruz-McDonnell and Octavio Cruz-Carretero from Envirological Services, Inc. They not only hear the birds, they have a very careful methodology for identifying species based on both visual and audio cues and recording data that can later be used to develop density estimates for the different species they detect.

Using funding from the Share with Wildlife program, Kirsten and Octavio are inventorying birds found in mountain ranges around New Mexico. They are specifically targeting habitats suitable for the Grace’s and Red-faced warblers, both of which are understudied and in need of a more accurate state-wide population estimate.

Share with Wildlife – Project Highlight: Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Dense forest habitat in Santa Fe National Forest (Ginny Seamster)

These avian experts have been traversing 2 mile long transects and stopping at up to 20 points per transect in a number of mountain ranges, including the Jemez, Sacramento, and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. They listen for 10 minutes at each point and record all bird species they hear or see during that time. Recording up to 15 species of birds in 10 minutes and, for some surveys, over 30 species in a 4 hour period while traversing areas that are often overgrown and have downed trees is no small feat! It is truly remarkable that these researchers can gather so much data on species occurrence and abundance without having to catch a single bird. They will ultimately be providing data that is useful not only for management of the two focal bird species, but that can inform the Department-maintained, publicly accessible Biota Information System of New Mexico (BISON-M), a database of over 6,000 species found in New Mexico.

Share with Wildlife – Project Highlight: Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Meadow in Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Ginny Seamster)

Share with Wildlife – Project Highlight: Surveying Birds in Remote Areas

Williamson’s sapsucker (Zen Mocarski)

2017-12-21T15:27:26+00:00