Monitoring Birds of Conservation Concern

Mt. Cuba Center’s approximately 1,000 acres of natural lands support many species of birds. Several of these species are listed on the State of North America’s Birds Report (released in 2016) as species of conservation concern. These species include (but are not limited to) the eastern meadowlark, wood thrush, field sparrow, and yellow-billed cuckoo. Species of conservation concern are declining due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and the effects of climate change, and are particularly important to protect. Mt. Cuba conducts periodic bird surveys on the property, paying particular attention to species of conservation concern. These data help us make informed land management decisions and support these bird species.


Top left to bottom right: An eastern meadowlark, yellow-billed cuckoo (Photo courtesy of Peter Brannon), wood thrush and field sparrow (Photos courtesy of Philip Dunn).

Visualizing the Data

Mt. Cuba analyzes bird population surveys using Geographic Information System (GIS) software. By mapping the data, we can understand spatial patterns and adjust our management strategies to support birds of conservation concern accordingly.

The map below shows where we observed four different species of conservation concern on the property over the course of three summers (2016, 2017, and 2018).

Looking Ahead

Mt. Cuba plans to continue conducting periodic bird surveys over time. From this larger dataset, we can observe bird population trends, make better-informed land management decisions, and contribute knowledge to the larger scientific community.