Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)

The MAPS Program is a continent-wide collaborative effort among public agencies, non-governmental groups, and individuals to assist the conservation of birds and their habitats through demographic monitoring. Since 1989, more than 1,200 MAPS stations spread across nearly every state and Canadian province have collected more than 2 million bird capture records. MAPS data provide insights into important questions such as:

  • What factors drive avian population declines?
  • Where are problems most acute, on the breeding or non-breeding grounds?
  • What drives differences in trends between particular regions or habitats?
  • What is the relationship between population change and weather, climate, or habitat loss?
  • What can we do to reverse declines?

Most avian monitoring programs in effect today count or estimate numbers of birds to track changes in population size. Estimates of population trend are useful but limited in their capacity to reveal underlying causes of the trends. Demographic monitoring provides inferences about the life-stages of birds that may be most important in limiting population growth.”

The Nature Conservancy and Tahoe National Forest sponsored a MAPS program at Sagehen from 1992 to 2017, when we lost our Forest Service funding. In 2018, we are operating a single transect with volunteer assistance, and scrambling for a replacement sponsor.

Monitoring has occurred at 3 transects in the basin, led first by Mark Reynolds, and later by contractors Walter Clevenger, Scott Crosbie and assistants from 2002 to 2017.

Locally, the Sagehen MAPS data provides us a basis for monitoring bird population effects from forest and forestry changes within the basin.

In addition to research data, the Sagehen MAPS program provides compelling volunteer and other outreach opportunities at Sagehen.

Map of SCRE and TMEA net transects.