The Northeast Temperate Inventory and Monitoring Network (NETN) of the National Park Service (NPS) consists of 13 parks in the Northeastern United States. As breeding landbirds are important components of park ecosystems and are very popular among park visitors, the NETN has implmented a volunteer-based breeding landbird monitoring program over the last 13 years to provide insight on the trends of the avian communities in each of these parks. Volunteer birders collect data using traditional point-count surveys, where they mark each bird they observe, estimate how far they are from the bird, and record the time of the first sighting of each individual bird. Because this is a volunteer based survey, we require a protocol that is not too labor intensive for the volunteers, while also enabling estimation of population trends of important species of interest. The NETN protocol enables estimation of avian abundance and trends over time through the use of removal sampling and distance sampling models to account for each observer not detecting every bird present at a given point count location. Because many important birds of interest are not highly abundant across the parks, we seek to use a multi-species (or community) model to enable inference on such rare species and not focus solely on the common species that we could estimate using a single-species model. We also seek to share information across the parks in the NETN system, as some parks are better monitored than others. We are currently in development of a multi-region, community, dynamic removal sampling model to provide inference on the status and trends of important landbird species in the Northeastern United States. Specifically, we seek to
- Determine the rate of change in abundance of important avian species of interest in each NETN park.
- Develop a multi-region, community, dynamic abundance model to provide inference for all species and all parks across a large geographical area.
- Determine the influence of silvicultural practices and habitat variables on avian abundance.