From Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Recently (LDWF) recently completed bird count surveys in five randomly selected, state Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) as part of a six-year habitat management research project.
LDWF surveyed 120 locations statewide within Bayou Macon, Ouachita, Sherburne, Buckhorn and Boeuf WMAs.
During the bird count survey process, observers record all birds encountered by either sight or by their unique song for the duration of 10 minutes per point. Listening points were located in areas where LDWF-implemented timber harvest has taken place at some time in the stand history. Care was given to ensure that various timber harvest methods were represented in the surveyed sites. In addition, surveys were performed in unmanaged forests as control plots and to be used in comparison of results.
The collected data will provide guidance to LDWF regarding forest management practices and their effects on songbird usage on WMAs. Once completed, the study should illustrate the variety and density of birds one could expect to find in harvested stands at a specific post-harvest year and guide LDWF land managers to better manipulate WMA forests for non-game birds.
During the surveys, experienced birders were accompanied by LDWF biologists and technicians who were new to birding and had recently completed the bird identification workshop at Tara Wildlife in Vicksburg, Miss. By training additional personnel, LDWF plans to increase the survey area and number of surveys completed yearly.
LDWF will complete bird count surveys in the spring of 2010. The survey results will be turned into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
One of LDWF's preliminary observations from the survey has found higher than expected numbers of Swainson's Warbler, a priority forest breeding bird, in harvested stands outside the Atchafalaya Basin region.