Broadcasting calls of marsh birds during point-count surveys increases their detection probability and decreases variation in the number of birds detected across replicate surveys. However, multi-species monitoring using call-broadcast may reduce these benefits if birds are reluctant to call once they hear broadcasted calls of other species. We compared a protocol that uses call-broadcast for only one species (Yuma clapper rail [Rallus longirostris yumanensis]) to a protocol that uses call-broadcast for multiple species. We detected more of each of the following species using the multi-species protocol: 25 % more pied-billed grebes, 160 % more American bitterns, 52 % more least bitterns, 388 % more California black rails, 12 % more Yuma clapper rails, 156 % more Virginia rails, 214 % more soras, and 19 % more common gallinules. Moreover, the coefficient of variation was smaller when using the multi-species protocol: 10 % smaller for pied-billed grebes, 38 % smaller for American bitterns, 19 % smaller for least bitterns, 55 % smaller for California black rails, 5 % smaller for Yuma clapper rails, 38 % smaller for Virginia rails, 44 % smaller for soras, and 8 % smaller for common gallinules. Our results suggest that multi-species monitoring approaches may be more effective and more efficient than single-species approaches even when using call-broadcast.
Additional publication details
Multi-species call-broadcast improved detection of endangered Yuma clapper rail compared to single-species call-broadcast
Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit