Approximately 200 species of birds use Sierra Nevada Network parks as breeding or wintering habitat, or as feeding areas along their migration routes. Birds contribute to animal diversity, making up more than 60 percent of the parks' vertebrate species. Birds play many roles in park ecosystems—predators, prey, seed dispersers, and pollinators are a few examples. They respond quickly to changes in their environmental surroundings, making them good indicators of ecosystem condition.
Although Sierra Nevada parks provide important and relatively intact habitat for birds, many stressors affect local bird populations. Large-scale stressors such as climate change and habitat loss affect birds globally, but more localized problems such as altered fire regimes and non-native species invasions also put birds at risk.
Information about the status and trends of bird populations in these parks is essential for park managers. It helps them understand changes that may be occurring, and provides sound science they can use in their management plans, decisions, and actions.
Approach and Objectives
The goal of this monitoring project is to assess park-wide bird population trends by monitoring population densities across the parks' diverse habitats and broad range of habitats.
Due to the large size and the remoteness of much of the designated wilderness of Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, sampling is conducted in areas relatively close to trails to reduce the travel time to monitoring sites. Biologists use point count methods, monitoring birds (by call, song, or sight) at points along transects for set periods of time.
The objectives of this monitoring protocol are to:
- Detect population trends of bird species that are monitored well by point counts (birds readily identifiable from their appearance and calls) throughout accessible areas of Sierra Nevada Network parks, during the breeding season.
- Track changes in breeding-season distribution of bird species throughout accessible areas of Sierra Nevada Network parks.
Publications and Other Information
Last updated: August 16, 2019