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Summer of 2018: Some Numbers from the Avian Conservation Program

Summer brings a pulse of activity to the prairie-oak habitats in South Puget Sound, from the rapid growth of vegetation and production of flowers, increased abundance of invertebrates, and the arrival of migrating bird species ready to breed. It also is a time when the CNLM Avian Conservation Program grows in size with the addition of numerous seasonal field technicians, as breeding season projects for imperiled birds get underway. The breeding season is an important time for us to study bird populations in prairie-oak habitats because reproduction is an important driver of population growth rates. Understanding factors that influence reproduction can lead us to conservation strategies that boost this rate and hence help in species recovery. Consequently, we spend a lot of time in the summer counting birds, finding nests and tracking their fate, banding birds, and resighting birds banded in previous years.

Mist netting larks at JBLM

In 2018, the Avian Conservation Program successfully collected reproduction data for several species, Including: the streaked horned lark, Oregon vesper sparrow, and western bluebird. In the coming months CNLM will synthesize and interpret these data and producing reports to project partners.

In the meantime, here are some of the numbers that encapsulated the field season for the Avian Conservation Program:

  • 369 – Bird surveys conducted on JBLM and other South Sound conservation sites;
  • 236 – Banded streaked horned larks (116), Oregon vesper sparrows (37), and western bluebirds (83);
  • 19 – Radio-tagged streaked horned lark nestlings;
  • 213 – Nests found and monitored of streaked horned larks (141), Oregon vesper sparrow (20), and western bluebird (52).

CNLM’s Avian Conservation Program crew