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The North America Raptor Monitoring Strategy

Background

The USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Snake River Field Station, and Boise State University, Raptor Research Center, along with many collaborators, are developing a strategy for monitoring diurnal raptors throughout North America. Development of a continental monitoring program for raptors was initiated in July 1996 during the North American Raptor Monitoring Workshop held in Boise, Idaho. The purpose of the workshop was to address the needs of various bureaus in the Department of the Interior and other government agencies for practical ways to determine the status and trends of raptor species. Representatives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States participated.

During the workshop, participants endorsed the need for a continental strategy and began organizing a program for its development. The key to development of the strategy, it was felt, would be species-by-species evaluations of existing monitoring programs and monitoring needs. In the months following the workshop, we completed a workshop report, formed an e-mail discussion group, proposed criteria for evaluating monitoring data, and established a format for presenting species accounts.

Work Underway

Currently, we are developing species accounts for most diurnal North American raptors. We now have about 40 scientists and raptor specialists who are willing in varying ways and extents to contribute to development of the accounts. Development will involve: 1) evaluation of the literature and existing data bases for methods and data useful for monitoring each species; 2) identification of weaknesses in existing monitoring programs (with respect to methodology, geographic coverage, and seasonal coverage); 3) description of existing procedures for overcoming weaknesses; and 4) recommendation of new procedures and approaches where needed.
Graph of results of Standardized Counts of American Kestrels by Year Anticipated Results

The result of this effort will be a North American Raptor Monitoring Strategy consisting of individual species accounts and a synthesis identifying techniques and efficient approaches for long-term monitoring. The species accounts will describe and reference current monitoring methods, areas, and seasons of the year.  The Strategy will include recommendations for study design, sampling, and data analysis. Wildlife and land managers will be able to use the strategy as a basis for deciding what long-term monitoring to undertake. The Strategy will alert managers and policy makers to the paucity of available information in many cases, and the need for new survey and monitoring methods.

NARMS is an ongoing project. Anyone who would like to learn about opportunities to participate may send an e-mail to Mark Fuller: mark_fuller@usgs.gov