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Measuring Bird Migration Using Spatial and Temporal Counts



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Data collected by volunteers across the U S provide a valuable resource for ornithologists Measuring Bird Migration Using Spatial and Temporal Counts Each fall and spring is heralded by large flocks of birds migrating between their summer and winter territories Annual migratory behavior ranges from movement of the entire population to migration of only a subpopulation and nonmigration There are even species that in some years show a greater proportion or longer distance of movement than in other years termed irruption An understanding of when and where birds migrate provides information needed to understand features of bird populations that are of interest to ornithologists environmental scientists and nature lovers Among these features are habitat use responses to climatic change and the potential for long distance spread of diseases Although much information has been gained from studies that include tracking of banded or radio collared birds the expense involved prohibits widespread use of these methods However the availability of a large number of knowledgeable amateur bird watchers across North America who are willing to assist with data collection of many types enables North American ornithologists to conduct studies that involve spatial and temporal information with a F W FALLON Elliot Bernstein Kevin Cottrell Naomi Altman Andr Dhondt Wesley Hochachka and Roger Slothower Northern Cardinal large combined scope and high resolution at least compared to the data available on terrestial animals Such networks of birders have provided information on such interesting features as the introduction and spread of alien species and the growth or decline of populations in certain locales Can the data collected by these birders be used to measure migratory behavior Project FeederWatch Project FeederWatch initiated on a continent wide basis in 1987 by the Cornell Sapsucker Woods Laboratory of Ornithology has a large database of information about several bird populations from



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