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Use of large-scale, multi-species surveys to monitor gyrfalcon and ptarmigan populations

February 3, 2011

We evaluated the ability of three large-scale, multi-species surveys in the Arctic to provide information on abundance and habitat relationships of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and ptarmigan. The Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) has surveyed birds widely across the arctic regions of Canada and Alaska since 2001. The Arctic Coastal Plain survey has collected abundance information on the North Slope of Alaska using fixed-wing aircraft since 1992. The Northwest Territories-Nunavut Bird Checklist has collected presence-absence information from little-known locations in northern Canada since 1995. All three surveys provide extensive information on Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and Rock Ptarmigan (L. muta). For example, they show that ptarmigan are most abundant in western Alaska, next most abundant in northern Alaska and northwest Canada, and least abundant in the Canadian Archipelago. PRISM surveys were less successful in detecting Gyrfalcons, and the Arctic Coastal Plain Survey is largely outside the Gyrfalcon's breeding range. The Checklist Survey, however, reflects the expansive Gyrfalcon range in Canada. We suggest that collaboration by Gyrfalcon and ptarmigan biologists with the organizers of large scale surveys like the ones we investigated provides an opportunity for obtaining useful information on these species and their environment across large areas.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Use of large-scale, multi-species surveys to monitor gyrfalcon and ptarmigan populations
Authors Jonathan Bart, Mark Fuller, Paul Smith, Leah Dunn
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70157196
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center