Migratory Landbird Stopover Habitats in Southern Idaho: A GIS and Geostatistical Approach

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Biology



Major Advisor

James C. Munger


Stopover habitats used by migrating landbirds may be a critical component for the overall conservation of both temperate and Neotropical migrant species; however, habitats used by migrants en route have received far less attention than those habitats used for breeding and wintering. Modeling and mapping habitats over large geographic areas has widespread applications for land and wildlife management. There is improved efficiency in using technology and landcover data to model and map habitats, survey areas, and sample points prior to the initiation of field sampling. Moreover, the relatively new application of geostatistics in biological research statistically analyses spatial data. In this study, I used a Geographic Information System (GIS) and a discrete set of landcover variables to model and map the habitats of interest in a study of autumn landbird migration in southern Idaho. For two autumn migration seasons, unlimited-radius point sampling methodology was used to collect abundance and species richness data for mountain ranges in southern Idaho. Subsequently, a GIS and geostatistics were used to validate the initial habitat model and to analyze migrant abundance across the habitats in one of these mountain ranges, the Owyhee Mountains. This study helps establish the benefit of using a GIS and landcover data to identify understudied stopover habitats for future investigation across the west. Furthermore, both the power of GISs and of linking the GIS with the statistical analyses were confirmed.

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