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Bird Monitoring in the Western Great Lakes National Forests Shows Stabilized Breeding Bird Populations

Photo of Study findings showed the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) had significantly increasing numbers since 1995 in three National Forests: Chippewa, Superior and Chequamegon-Nicolet.  In addition, the Ovenbird and Red-eyed Vireo were the two most abundantly recorded species in the Chippewa and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests. Common species such as the Ovenbird tended to occur in many forest cover types, but most commonly in upland hardwood forests. Jon SwansonStudy findings showed the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) had significantly increasing numbers since 1995 in three National Forests: Chippewa, Superior and Chequamegon-Nicolet. In addition, the Ovenbird and Red-eyed Vireo were the two most abundantly recorded species in the Chippewa and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests. Common species such as the Ovenbird tended to occur in many forest cover types, but most commonly in upland hardwood forests. Jon SwansonSnapshot : The results from 20 years of forest bird monitoring in four national forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin show positive trends in breeding bird population stability. The new report by Forest Service scientists and partners represents the most comprehensive volume of quantitative information ever compiled on the trends, habitat use, and community assemblages of breeding forest birds of the western Great Lakes region.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Sturtevant, Brian R. 
Research Location : Minnesota;Wisconsin
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 644

Summary

Systematic annual and habitat-specific surveys of breeding birds were conducted by Forest Service scientists and their university partners in the Chequamegon-Nicolet, Chippewa, and Superior National Forests over the last two decades. They studied population trends from 1995 to 2011 for 97 species of forest birds. Their results suggest that, overall, breeding bird populations of many species were stable or increasing over the past 17 years, which is a positive reflection of forest condition within these national forests. Only a few species showed a declining trend over this recent time period. Results illustrate the relative importance of habitat, climate, geography, and human development as drivers of bird species distributions in the study area. Their data on trends from the past two decades suggest that populations of forest breeding bird populations within these four national forests of the region have stabilized, a result with important implications about the regional health of forest communities in this hotspot of avian diversity.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Linda R. Parker, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
  • Gerald J. Niemi, Alexis R. Grinde, and Edmund J. Zlonis, University of Minnesota, Duluth
  • Robert W. Howe, Nicholas G. Walton, and Erin E. Giese, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
  • Sue M. Lietz, Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies, Rhinelander, WI
  • and Nicholas P. Danz, University of Wisconsin, Superior

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