National Park Service

Chihuahuan Desert Network (CHDN)

CHDN landbirds icon symbol

Landbird Monitoring


Landbirds are a conspicuous component of many ecosystems. Because they can respond quickly to changes in resource conditions, landbirds are considered good indicators of ecosystem health. In other words, changes in landbird populations may indicate changes in the biotic or abiotic components of the environment upon which they depend. Relative to other vertebrates, landbirds are also highly detectable and can be efficiently surveyed with the use of numerous standardized methods.

Monitoring Objectives

  1. Estimate the proportion of points occupied for most species in most parks.
  2. Estimate parameters related to community dynamics.
  3. Estimate the density of the most common species.


  • Occupancy, a measure of presence or absence of a species in space that indicates changes in the distribution of a species when evaluated across time.
  • Species richness and composition of native communities of concern, and the changes occurring within and among these communities.
  • Annual density of the most common species.

Management Applications

Bird monitoring data can be used to ascertain the overall natural condition of CHDN parks, and can provide insights into the potential consequences of stressors and current and proposed management actions.

Protocol Status

The protocol has been peer reviewed, and is in the final revision stages. This protocol was implemented in CHDN parks in 2010.

Status and Trends

Status data are discussed in annual monitoring reports and briefs (see above). Insufficient data have been collected for trend determination.

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Last Updated: February 12, 2016 Contact Webmaster