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1 April 2001 USING POINT COUNTS TO ESTABLISH CONSERVATION PRIORITIES: HOW MANY VISITS ARE OPTIMAL?
Rodney B. Siegel, David F. Desante, M. Philip Nott
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Abstract

We conducted point counts three times during the 1994 breeding season at 48 stations across the northwestern United States, and used cumulative totals from the three visits to rank the sites by two potential indices of conservation value: species richness and overall abundance of birds. We then recalculated each of the indices (1) using data from only a single visit to each site and (2) using data from only two visits. Rankings based on only one or two visits revealed that eliminating one, and even two of the visits had relatively minor effects on species richness rankings but affected rankings based on overall abundance more substantially. We also evaluated how effectively one or two visits to each site detected particular species of management concern. We conclude that when resources are limited, species richness based on point counts conducted during just one or two visits to potential conservation sites may provide a reliable index for prioritizing conservation efforts. When the primary objective is to determine the presence or absence of a particular species, however, at least two visits may be warranted. Finally, we conclude that, in general, researchers must be careful when using overall abundance as an index for establishing conservation priorities, as values may fluctuate substantially throughout the season.

Rodney B. Siegel, David F. Desante, and M. Philip Nott "USING POINT COUNTS TO ESTABLISH CONSERVATION PRIORITIES: HOW MANY VISITS ARE OPTIMAL?," Journal of Field Ornithology 72(2), 228-235, (1 April 2001). https://doi.org/10.1648/0273-8570-72.2.228
Received: 10 November 1999; Accepted: 1 March 2000; Published: 1 April 2001
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