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bird monitoring, working group, Caribbean
LONG-TERM BIRD MONITORING programs are crucial to conservation efforts. Monitoring data provides information on abundance, distribution, and diversity. Knowledge of population size and trends of birds in specific habitats are required in order to carry out informed conservation and management activities as well as assess the effectiveness of these activities.
The Monitoring Working Group was formed at the 2005 meeting of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), following a symposia and workshop entitled “Strategies for monitoring birds in the Caribbean—How to design and carry out a monitoring program.” Participants at this session recognized the need for collaborative monitoring efforts and expanded training opportunities. Specific issues that were identified included the lack of qualified biologists or other resources in key regions and confusion over how to compare monitoring data across large areas, especially when local organizations often have their own goals and locally defined monitoring objectives.
During the workshop the following types of monitoring programs were explored: inventories, definition of population size and habitat relationships based on a broad-scale set of point counts, censuses based on repeated counts, constant effort mist-netting, the determination of reproductive success and reproductive rate through nest monitoring, and the estimation of population composition, survivorship, and site fidelity through a comprehensive program of mist netting and/or color-band resighting.
The group was chaired by Steve Latta and Jon McCracken, who facilitated the workshop and held an introductory meeting, published a report in the Journal of Caribbean Ornithology (Latta 2005a), and developed a vision and 5 yr plan and questionnaire (Latta 2005b). Steve also prepared a training project for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act fund but this was not successful. Unfortunately Steve has changed jobs and his time to work with the group is limited; both Steve and Jon have resigned as co-chairs. Chris Wood and Ann Haynes-Sutton have stepped in to provide leadership as co-chairs.