top of page

Bird Conservation

Combining Point Count and Demographic Data for Comprehensive Bird Population Trend Assessment at the Fort Custer Training Center and the Kalamazoo Nature Center



For more than 30 years, The Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC) and the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) have been teaming with the Fort Custer Training Center (FCTC), Michigan to monitor birds on the base. The objective of this partnership has been to understand the status and trends of landbirds in order to help FCTC managers make informed decisions about wildlife and habitats, including for management of sensitive species such as Cerulean Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Wood Thrush. We have taken an integrated approach to monitoring. Status and trends in avian vital rates (productivity, survivorship, and recruitment) are estimated using data from a series of bird banding stations affiliated with the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. In addition, KNC has established a series of long-term point counts. Together, these methods provide a fuller picture of landbird status and trends than either program does on its own. In 2020, we completed a thorough assessment of data from both programs. We found that overall, FCTC provides apparently secure habitat for several species of management interest. Of 132 species detected, 28 increased in density over the course of the study and 8 species declined in density. Oak habitats and wetlands provided the greatest abundance and diversity of bird species. Avian vital rates were on a par with regional trends of other species. The support and cooperation of FCTC personnel have enabled this data set to be used as a valuable to tool for long-term monitoring of dozens of species of landbirds. As climate and other impacts accelerate, it may become even more valuable as a reference.

bottom of page