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Fifty-year-old bird breeding survey still informs conservation, management


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Over 50 years ago, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Chan Robbins was looking for a scientific way to measure changes in bird populations. Surveys like the Christmas bird count were already in use, but Robbins wanted a scientifically rigorous program that would cover the entire continental United States and Canada, thanks to a timely partnership with Tony Erskine of the Canadian Wildlife Service. His solution was the North American Breeding Bird Survey, or BBS, an effort to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations through reports from citizen scientists. Participants agreed to follow a rigorous protocol to collect data on species at randomly established roadside sites. Researchers and statisticians would use the data to conduct population trend analyses on more than 400 bird species for use by conservation managers, scientists and the public. Robbins died in March at the age of 98, having lived to see that half a century after he developed the BBS, biologists and researchers still apply data collected in the survey to conduct research on different bird species, and government agencies in the United States and Canada still use the data to inform conservation and management decisions. “Chan was ahead of his [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/fifty-year-old-bird-breeding-survey-still-informs-conservation-management/

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