Riparian Bird Distribution
Riparian and wetland areas typically support more species of breeding and migratory birds than any other habitat in the West, even though they account for less than 1% of the landscape. In addition, a large proportion of declining bird species and species of concern are dependent upon riparian and wetland habitats.
The Avian Science Center is involved in a number of programs targeting aquatic habitats. First, in cooperation with PPL-Montana, we continue to monitor birds and study their distribution in relation to vegetation type, landscape context, and restoration efforts along the Madison and Missouri rivers. Second, we have worked with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to finalize a standardized statewide riparian monitoring protocol and establish long-term monitoring sites in riparian habitats along major rivers throughout Montana. Finally, in southwest Montana, we have recently examined the use of bird communities as indicators of riparian condition along small-order streams. We hope to expand these programs and collaborate with other agencies so that, eventually, all aquatic habitats statewide are adequately monitored.
Click on one of the subheadings at the left to read more about the idea behind, and the results that have emerged from, that particular research or monitoring effort.