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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Overview: GTNP Breeding Bird Monitoring Project. 1. Following initial independent work by M. L. Cody and 3y funding from NPS, we have instigated a scheme for long-term monitoring of breeding land bird populations in a wide variety of habitats representative of the northern Rockies and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Census sites are located almost entirely within Grand Teton National Park, where a broad range of representative vegetation types is accessible within close geographic proximity. 2. Some 30 monitoring sites are established within and adjacent to the park in pristine habitat. Sites range from the Jackson Hole lowlands to subalpine and alpine sites, from meadow, sagebrush and marshland, through willow scrub, cottonwood and aspen woodlands, to lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forests. Some sites have a monitoring history of > 30 y; others were established in the mid-1990's. 3. The location and accessibility of the study sites permits all to be regularly and repeatedly censused during the short (6-week) breeding season. Census sites are standardized in area (5-10 ha in size) and mapped in detail (topographic features, vegetation). Census schedules, turung, and methodological protocols will be established and maintained, providing for strictly controlled inter-site and inter-year comparisons in breeding bird populations, species composition, and densities. 4. To evaluate the local versus more regional nature of inter-year variation in bird densities, one widespread habitat (willows) is replicated and censused at locations outside GTNP, in the northern Rockies (Glacier National Park) and central Rockies (Rocky Mountain National Park). 5. The project entails only modest costs (e.g. for transportation), but the projected benefits to science, specifically to resource management, will continue to accumulate as the data base is expanded in future years. As no comparable data base or monitoring scheme exists for the region, the value of the GTNP is apparent, and ensuring its continuance is of critical importance.