Background

FlockIn the Northeast, dozens of state, federal, and nongovernmental organizations operate hundreds of bird monitoring programs.  Results have been used to guide conservation, research, and management actions throughout the region.  Although some effort at alignment has been made in recent years, most programs operate independently.  The lack of coordination has resulted in redundant data collection, inconsistent field protocols, and flawed survey designs.  Meanwhile, several high-priority species and habitats receive little or no monitoring attention.  A coordinated approach is needed to better address bird conservation and management issues in the region.

peregrine falconThe Northeast Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership has developed a framework to help state, federal, and non-governmental organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their monitoring efforts.  The framework draws on bird conservation plans and state wildlife action plans to identify key management issues that can be addressed through monitoring.  Its goals reflect those of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative's Monitoring Subcommittee, as expressed in its 2007 report Opportunities for Improving Avian Monitoring (5 MB pdf).  Several working groups have begun to implement the framework across multiple northeastern states, with a few extending their reach into adjacent regions, as well.  The Northeast Bird Monitoring Handbook is a key resource for these groups, as it incorporates the framework's general principles into a practical, step-by-step guide to monitoring for bird conservation. 

Annual workshops afford opportunities for collaboration among biologists, natural resource managers, and statisticians, while www.nebirdmonitor.org provides easily accessible resources for coordinating bird surveys across the region.  One such resource, the Northeast Avian Data Center, is North America's second regional node to the Avian Knowledge Network. It features a secure data archive, access to millions of observational records, and a variety of options for visualizing bird monitoring data. 

By providing new tools and collaborative opportunities, the Northeast Coordinated Bird Monitoring Project helps build the scientific basis for bird conservation in the Northeast.

Photos: top - Black Skimmer flock by USFWS; middle - Peregrine Falcon by Dave Kynor; bottom - Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow by Greg Shriver