Evaluating the ability of regional models to predict local avian abundance

TitleEvaluating the ability of regional models to predict local avian abundance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLeBrun, Jaymi J., Thogmartin Wayne E., and Miller James R.
JournalThe Journal of Wildlife Management
Pagination1177 - 1187
Date Published08/2012
KeywordsBayesian hierarchical model, blue-winged warbler, Breeding Bird Survey, driftless area, ecoregion, model evaluation, National Land Cover Dataset, Prairie–Hardwood Transition, Wood thrush

{Spatial modeling over broad scales can potentially direct conservation efforts to areas with high species-specific abundances. We examined the performance of regional models for predicting bird abundance at spatial scales typically addressed in conservation planning. Specifically, we used point count data on wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) and blue-winged warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera) from 2 time periods (1995–1998 and 2006–2007) to evaluate the ability of regional models derived via Bayesian hierarchical techniques to predict bird abundance. We developed models for each species within Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 23 in the upper midwestern United States at 800-ha, 8,000-ha, and approximately 80,000-ha scales. We obtained count data from the Breeding Bird Survey and land cover data from the National Land Cover Dataset (1992). We evaluated predictions from the best models, as defined by an information-theoretic criterion, using point count data collected within an ecological subregion of BCR 23 at 131 count stations in the 1990s and again in 2006–2007. Competing (Deviance Information Criteria