The Colorado River Delta and California’s Central Valley are critical regions for many migrating North American landbirds

Authors: William V. DeLuca,1 Tim Meehan, Nat Seavy, Andrea Jones, Jennifer Pitt, Jill L. Deppe, and Chad B. Wilsey

Year: 2021

Publication: Ornithological Applications

Publication Link:

Keywords: bottleneck, concentration, conservation, eBird, migration, population

Abstract: Migration is an important component of some species full annual cycle. California’s Central Valley and the Colorado River Delta provide important riparian and wetland habitats for migrating waterbirds in the arid west of North America, but little is known about whether these locations are important at the population level to migrating landbirds. We used eBird Status and Trends abundance data to quantify the importance of the Central Valley and Colorado River Delta to landbirds by estimating the proportion of the breeding population of 112 species that use each site during migration. We found that ~17 million landbirds use the Colorado River Delta in the spring and ~14 million in the fall. Across 4 study regions in the Central Valley, up to ~65 million landbirds migrate through in the spring and up to ~48 million in the fall. In the spring and fall, respectively, up to 37 and up to 30 species had at least 1% of their continental population migrate through the study regions. We also quantified the spatial concentration of each species across latitudinal transects to determine the extent to which study regions were acting as migratory bottlenecks. Landbird abundances were spatially concentrated in study regions 29.4% of all migration weeks, indicating that each study region acts as a migratory bottleneck. This application of eBird data is a powerful approach to quantifying the importance of sites to migrating birds. Our results provide evidence of population-level importance of the Central Valley and Colorado River Delta for many migratory landbirds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *