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Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants

Partners in Flight

The USDA Forest Service (FS) manages 191 million acres in 44 states, comprising the largest amount of breeding bird habitat under one ownership in the United States. With an understanding that forest management practices can have a significant impact on "area sensitive forest interior" migratory bird species, the Forest Service strives to ensure the health and diversity of ecosystems while meeting people's needs. Neotropical migratory bird management is being actively integrated into forest management planning and implementation.

The FS conducts a variety of surveys to identify downward population trends; implements actions to reverse these trends; restores and protects key habitats; conducts inventories and long-term population trend monitoring; addresses fragmentation issues; and implements management practices targeted at habitat features limiting bird populations.

In 2015, across National Forest System lands, the Forest Service treated 1.89 million acres of terrestrial habitat, 305 miles of stream habitat, and 7,361 acres of lake habitat to enhance bird habitats. Bird inventories and monitoring activities occurred on approximately 850,000 acres of National Forest System lands.


Numerous monitoring efforts are underway in each of the Forest Service's nine regions. Eight out of nine regions have developed regional monitoring plans that are in various stages of implementation. There is high involvement in national programs such as Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS), Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS), and a growing interest in nest surveys (BBHD). Point count methodology is being used in many places to monitor bird populations in particular areas or to answer specific management questions. Bird monitoring is only one aspect of overall monitoring and inventory of habitat conditions, biodiversity, and forest plan implementation.


The FS is also actively engaged in a broad array of research efforts regarding neotropical migrant birds. Some of these efforts include examining the impacts of cowbird parasitism, logging, grazing, fragmentation and burning on neotropical migrants. Additional efforts are aimed at investigating ecosystem processes and functions within a complete watershed perspective.

Information and Education

The development of educational modules, symposia, slide shows, interpretive viewing sites, publications, and displays are but a few of the many information and education-related activities of the FS. The Agency is also an active participant in the celebration of International Migratory Bird Day through the hosting of festivals, tours, and bird counts.


The international arena plays host to numerous FS partnership activities. Training and internship programs in Mexico have enjoyed particular success, as have the "Sister Forest" relationships between national forests and similar administrative units in Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Jamaica, and Panama. All of these efforts provide for both technical and information exchange among partners.

Contact for the Forest Service Neotropical Migratory Bird Program

Washington Office - Oversight

Sandy Boyce, National Wildlife Ecologist; Wildlife Ecology Unit Leader
USDA Forest Service
Branch Office - Denver

American Birding Association  

Canadian Bird Trends

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

  • Bird Songs
  • Project Feeder Watch
  • BirdSource
  • And much more!

International Migratory Bird Day (hosted by ABA)

Migratory Non-game Birds of Management Concern - Current List (FWS; updated from 1987)

National Audubon Society

North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI)

NAS Watch List (List of North American bird species needing help. Provides conservation priority by species and varied bird biology information)

Partners In Flight (Main site)

Partners In Flight (USGS - National Biological Service)

Partners In Flight (US Fish & Wildlife Service - General Information)

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (migratory bird biology)

Program Initiatives (previously 'Get Wild!')


Ecology and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds: A Synthesis & Review of Critical Issues. Edited by Thomas E. Martin & Deborah M. Finch [Forest Service] online & downloadable

Landbird Strategic Plan (pdf - 6.5MB)

North American Landbird Conservation Plan

Management of Agricultural Landscapes for the Conservation of Neotropical Migratory Birds
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
[Forest Service] online & downloadable

Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants (WFW)
Washington, D.C. Office
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator, WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
(202) 205-8333