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Minimum population size of Mountain Plovers breeding in Wyoming

The Wilson Bulletin

By:
, , and
https://doi.org/10.1676/04-008

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Abstract

As human disturbance of natural landscapes increases, so does the need for information on declining, threatened, and potentially threatened native species. Proposed listing of the Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1999 was found unwarranted in 2003, but this species remains of special concern to management agencies and conservation groups. Whereas large concentrations of breeding Mountain Plovers occur in Montana and Colorado, estimates of the numbers of Mountain Plovers in Wyoming have ranged from only 500 to 1,500 individuals and are based largely on conjecture. In 2002, we visited all known breeding locales in the state to define areas of concentrated sightings in the Laramie, Shirley, Washakie, Great Divide, and Big Horn basins. In 2003, we used distance sampling to estimate breeding bird densities in these five areas. We pooled these estimates and applied the resulting density to a minimum occupied range for the Mountain Plover based on the documented sightings and a previously derived home-range size of 56.6 ha ± 21.5 (SD) to generate a minimum population estimate for the state. Average Mountain Plover density was 4.47 ± 0.55 (SE) birds/km2. We calculated a minimum population estimate of 3,393 birds for Wyoming. The Mountain Plover population breeding in Wyoming appears to contribute substantially to a revised continental population estimate of 11,000 to 14,000 birds. Our approach may have applications to quantifying minimum population status of other uncommon species or species of special conservation concern using current database records, such as those compiled in Natural Heritage Programs at the state level.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Minimum population size of Mountain Plovers breeding in Wyoming
Series title:
The Wilson Bulletin
DOI:
10.1676/04-008
Volume:
117
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Wilson Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
Description:
8 p.
First page:
15
Last page:
22
Country:
United States
State:
Wyoming