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ISU Biological Sciences Grad student to Give Bird Talk March 16

March 13, 2023

The status of bird diversity and abundance at three Southeast Idaho birding hotspots will be the focus of a presentation by Austin Young at the Portneuf Valley Audubon Society’s meeting March 16 at 7 p.m. in the Marshall Public Library Community Room.

“For decades, Intermountain West birders have recognized eastern Idaho as a landbird migrant hotspot,” said Young, who is a biological sciences master’s student at Idaho State
University. “Record bird diversity and abundance in comparison to the rest of the state has been well documented.”

He said three locations in particular have consistently ranked high with regard to migrant landbird use and the resulting birding. They are Camas National Wildlife Refuge, Market Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Mud Lake WMA. However, issues of aquifer shortages, habitat management choices, and declines in many migrant landbirds bring up questions about the potential effects on these locations and the current role of these hotspots in the big picture of landbird migration. As a result, Young seeks to essentially replicate an Intermountain Bird Observatory point count and banding study at these sites from the mid-2000’s and use comparative analyses in order to detect any shifts in bird migration variables that have occurred in the recent past.

“With two seasons of point count data in the books and lots more data to be collected soon, we are beginning to understand how the birds at these sites have responded to the dynamic pressures experienced over the last 15 years,” Young said. “What does this mean for migrant landbird communities of the Intermountain West? How should the managers of these important migration stopover sites respond? What does this mean for eastern Idaho birding?”


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