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Forest Bird Habitat Assessments

Forest Bird Habitat Assessment

  • Sample Assessment

    Sample Assessment

    File size: 2 MB
    This is one example of a Forest Bird Habitat Assessment, created by Audubon Vermont for a Woodlots participant.

Landowners truly appreciate getting a Forest Bird Habitat Assessment for their land. Cold Hollow to Canada's close partnership with Audubon Vermont has allowed assessments to be offered to all Woodlots participants.

During the first year of a new Woodlots Program, CHC reaches out to landowners to ask if they would like an assessment. Rarely to people turn this down, and when they accept, we send Audubon staff a list of landowners and contact information.

Audubon reaches out to each landowner to set up a time for a woods walk and obtain a copy of the landowner's management plan. These visits can occur anytime from spring to fall; because the assessment is focused on habitat, it is not important that the biologist encounterthe birds themselves during a visit, but it is important that they can accurately assess canopy cover. We encourage landowners to be present for the woods walk if possible; they generally learn a lot by joining the biologist in the forest! Clearly, an Audubon biologist can't assess the presence of habitat for every possible species, so they focus their work on "Responsibility Birds."  These are species that have a substantial proportion of their population breeding in our area. Together, they cover the habitats that would be important for a much larger variety of species.

    Once the field season is over, the Audubon biologist creates a report for each landowner. The report covers the variety of bird habitats noted on each property and also suggests possibilities for enhancing habitat for particular bird species.  

    Because Audubon Vermont is performing these assessments for a group of landowners, opportunities open up. Birds don't recognize property boundaries, but landowners are generally limited by them in their management strategies! The Woodlots program provides a unique opportunity for Audubon biologists to work with many landowners at once, to consider and discuss ways to provide forest bird habitat for a wide array of species across the entire region. By providing a group overview report alongside reports for individual landowners, Audubon can work with the group to think about cross-boundary management strategies. 

    It is worth noting that this is part of Audubon Vermont's broader Forest Bird Initiative. The program is active across the state (not just in the CHC region!).

    Funding for this partnership has been raised by both CHC and Audubon Vermont to ensure its continuation. Sources have included:

    • Landscape Scale Restoration Grant (US Forest Service)
    • High Meadows Fund
    • New England Forest and Rivers Fund