• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Bird Monitoring and Research: About the MAPS project in Yosemite

August 18, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

About the MAPS project in Yosemite
 
Bird banding stations in Yosemite are cooperatively run by The Institute for Bird Populations and National Park Service personnel. They are part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program which include a continent-wide network of over 500 constant-effort mist netting stations. The Yosemite stations are some of the longest-running MAPS stations in the country! The Yosemite MAPS stations monitor the population dynamics and demography of over 25 target bird species that inhabit the parks' montane meadows during spring and summer. In addition to contributing to the larger-scale MAPS program, the Yosemite MAPS stations yield important findings and new hypotheses about landbird population dynamics in the parks. Preliminary findings that emerge from MAPS results can then be followed up with targeted research.  

The data that is collected at these banding stations can be used to determine larger patterns in bird populations and demographics. The Yosemite Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) stations are well-suited to studying the effects of annual weather variation and climate change on birds. Some of these Yosemite specific patterns include:

  • Researchers have determined that when there is a decrease in snowpack, the productivity of many bird populations increase. This can be seen by comparing data from last year, a very heavy snowpack year, with current numbers from the very dry 2012 season. The 2012 numbers are up by more than 39%, with most of the birds having hatched this year.  
  • Another pattern that is apparent from the data is that some species of birds have become more common at higher elevations. This is likely related to the longer term shift of climate change.  
  • The most disturbing trend though, is a general decline in the populations of songbirds. This may be related to the expansion in range of the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), which is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in another species nest.  

All of these patterns help park managers decide how to best manage the natural resources at Yosemite.

birds




Post A Comment

Submit Comment

Did You Know?

The Bachelor and Three Graces

Giant sequoias are a fire adapted species. Their bark is fire resistant and fire helps open the sequoia cone and scatter the tiny seeds. Fire also clears forest debris from the mineral soil and provides a nutrient rich seed bed as well as clearing competing species.