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Landbird Populations Stable in Northwestern National Parks

Monitoring wildlife in national parks helps scientists study the effects of climate change on populations because parks are relatively undisturbed by other potentially confounding environmental changes. Researchers monitored 39 resident and migratory landbird species during the breeding season from 2005-2014 in Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks, and examined relationships between avian population trends and local variations in snowfall and temperature patterns. This research revealed important spatial variation in landbird trends among parks, but population densities pooled across parks remained stable or increased for most species over the nine years studied. Average trends across species were positive for migrants in every park and for residents in one park, possibly due to a recent snowfall deficit. The modeling approach successfully estimates trends from point-count data and assesses the role of climatic and other variables in driving those trends, information that is critical for conserving complex ecological communities in the context of climate change.

Ray, C., Saracco, J.F., Holmgren, A.L., Wilkerson, R.L., Siegel, R.B., Jenkins, K.J., Ransom, J.I., Happe, P.J., Boetsch, J.R., Huff, M.H., 2017, Recent stability of resident and migratory landbird populations in National Parks of the Pacific Northwest: Ecosphere, v. 8, no. 7, p. e01902, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1902[Details]

Contact: Kurt Jenkins, FRESC, 360-565-3041, Profile

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