The INSTITUTE for BIRD POPULATIONS
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MONITORING BIRDS AT CALIFORNIA'S VEHICULAR RECREATION AREAS
A view of OHV trails at Hollister Hills SVRA
California State Parks operates nine State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs) across California, where recreational vehicle enthusiasts can explore the landscape in a regulated environment. Managers of these parks are tasked with providing opportunities for off-highway vehicle recreation, while monitoring and minimizing negative impacts to plant and animal populations. In recognition that bird populations can serve as particularly good indicators of ecological disturbance, IBP is partnering with California State Parks and the National Audubon Society to monitor bird populations in the parks. We are integrating traditional survey methods with the latest technology in automated recording units – programmable devices that collect sound recordings that are later analyzed by experts at acoustic bird identification and/or software that can transcribe the recordings automatically.
A Wrentit. Photo by PE Hart.
Banner Photo by Brian/Flickr
RECENT RESEARCH
In a paper published recently in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology, we assessed the effect of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and OHV trail density on the abundance and diversity of bird species across Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area in California. The results were surprising. Contrary to expectations, some species of birds appeared not to be negatively affected by OHV use. A few species even seemed to be more abundant in areas with more OHV trails. For some context for understanding these results, click here.
California Thrasher. Photo by Becky Matsubara.
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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Peer-reviewed Publications
Cole, J.S., N.L. Michel, R.B. Siegel, and N. Somilleda, Jr. 2019. Effects of off-highway vehicles on avian abundance and diversity in a designated vehicular recreation area. Avian Conservation and Ecology 14:9. PDF
Other Publications and Reports
Cole, J., N. Michel, R. Siegel, and C. Wilsey. 2019. Avian indicators of habitat conditions and disturbance effects to natural resources in state vehicular recreation areas of California. National Audubon Society, New York, NY.