Brian Tavernia is a research ecologist with the National Audubon Society. His work is focused on understanding connections among water, habitat, and bird populations to guide conservation and management actions for saline lakes across the Great Basin, including Great Salt Lake. Currently, Brian and other Audubon scientists are engaged in several collaborative efforts to summarize and analyze long-term bird monitoring data sets at Great Salt Lake and the Lahontan Valley Wetlands in Nevada.
Title: Twenty-one Year Trends for Migratory Shorebirds, Waterfowl, and Other Waterbirds
Abstract: Great Salt Lake and its associated wetlands are recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and hemispherically as an important site for shorebirds, waterfowl, and other waterbirds. Understanding the status and trends of birds with different life histories and habitat requirements can guide efforts to secure water resources needed to sustain birds and their habitats. The National Audubon Society and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program collaborated to analyze a 21-year data set of bird counts for subsets of areas and habitat types surveyed at Great Salt Lake and its associated wetlands. The talk will explain the analyses, revealing areas of increasing, decreasing, and stable counts for individual species across the surveyed areas, and future studies will examine what habitat factors, such as water inflows, are correlated with these patterns. Gaining an understanding of habitat factors affecting bird counts, active habitat conservation and management, and continued monitoring will be required to ensure that counts remain generally stable or increasing in surveyed areas. Sustaining bird populations at Great Salt Lake will require also recognizing connections between the lake and other wetland habitats across the Great Basin.