Tidal Marsh Bird Protocol and Standard Operating Procedures

Salt marsh breeding bird populations (rails, bitterns, sparrows, etc.) in eastern North America are high conservation priorities in need of site specific and regional monitoring designed to detect population changes over time. The present status and trends of these species are unknown but are thought to be declining and the majority of these species are listed as conservation priorities on Comprehensive Wildlife Plans throughout the eastern United States. National Wildlife Refuges and National Park Service units, as well as other wildlife conservation areas, provide important salt marsh habitat, but little is known about the abundance, population trends, or management needs of these breeding bird species. The entire breeding range of Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed and Coastal Plain Swamp sparrows are within BCR 30, providing an opportunity for designing surveys to estimate abundance and detect population trends through repeated surveys within the entire breeding ranges of two priority species. The primary purpose of this project is to develop a hierarchical sampling frame and monitoring protocol for salt marsh birds in Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 30 that will provide sample designs that could be implemented to detect species-specific estimates of abundance at several scales, including 1) specific sites (i.e. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges), 2) within states or regions, and 3) within BCR 30.

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