Bird Community Monitoring at Pea Ridge National Military Park

Barred Owl at Pea Ridge National Military Park
Barred Owl at Pea Ridge National Military Park.

NPS-Brad Thornton

Birds are and important part of the world we live in. The eat pests, disperse seeds, pollinate plants, feed us, and provide us with recreational activities such as bird-watching and hunting. Park interpretive programs often feature birds because of the enjoyment they provide. Birds are also great indicators of change due to their high metabolism and position in the food web. Bird communities can serve as the "canary in the coal mine" so to speak for ecosystems. Unfortunately many birds, such as the Northern Bobwhite are declining in numbers for many reasons, such as habitat loss.
Scientists measure changes in bird abundance and habitat to determine the health of bird communities. They survey birds in the park during breeding season. They also survey habitat structure and composition. Together, the data helps researchers to determine responses of birds to their habitat. Regional surveys are also studied to determine local vs. regional trends.
Scientists have recorded 105 bird species in the park over the last 9 years. Eighty-eight of which are breeding species found in the park. Eleven species were considered winter residents. Five species were considered transients to the area. And one species, Sora, was considered a migrant through the area. The most common species recorded were Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal, and Tufted Titmouse. Nine species that are considered species of concern for the region were recorded within the park.

Bird population changes may reflect management activities, such as restoring and maintaining specific habitats. For that reason scientists track changes in bird populations over time. Thus improving our understanding of birds and their specific habitat needs. Preserving habitat for birds preserves entire ecosystems for the benefit of all species.
View the full report. (pdf)

For more information visit the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network.

Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: March 16, 2018