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					         PARTNERS IN FLIGHT CONTINENTAL PRIORITIES AND OBJECTIVES
                         DEFINED AT THE STATE AND
                     BIRD CONSERVATION REGION LEVELS

                                              MONTANA




                                         Kenneth V. Rosenberg
                                PIF Northeast Regional Coordinator
                                    Cornell Lab of Ornithology
                                    159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
                                        Ithaca, NY 14850

                                             607-254-2412

                                           kvr2@cornell.edu

                                       Cornell Lab of Ornithology

                                                May 2004




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana   1
May 2004
                                          Part I: User’s Guide

Introduction and Background

Recognition that a cooperative, nonadversarial conservation approach was required to address bird
and habitat issues led to formation in 1990 of Partners in Flight (PIF). The PIF mission is expressed
through three related concepts:

                            Species exhibiting warning signs today must be conserved before they
    become imperiled. Allowing species to become threatened or endangered results in long-term and
    costly recovery efforts whose success often is not guaranteed.

                                     Native birds, both resident and migratory, must be retained in
    healthy numbers throughout their natural ranges.

                                                            A central premise of PIF is that the
    resources of public and private organizations throughout the Americas must be combined,
    coordinated, and increased in order to achieve success in conserving bird populations in this
    hemisphere.

Over the last seven years, PIF has engaged in a comprehensive planning effort, resulting in several
dozen regional bird conservation plans covering all states or physiographic areas in the U.S. (Pashley
et al. 2000). Similar regional efforts are underway in Canada and Mexico. These regional and state
PIF plans (see www.partnersinflight.org) identify priority species and habitats, set goals and
objectives, discuss local issues and opportunities, and outline strategies for local or regional partners
to implement bird conservation objectives. In 2004, PIF published its North American Landbird
Conservation Plan (Rich et al. 2004), which synthesized landbird priorities and objectives at a
continental scale and set forth a coordinated approach to landbird conservation among nations and
regions of North America. The North American Landbird Conservation Plan is a blueprint for
continental landbird conservation and, as such, is not intended to replace existing or developing
regional and state PIF plans. The conservation and management strategies required for several
hundred landbird species are far too complex and variable across North America to be treated only at
a continental scale. Implementation of on-the-ground bird conservation strategies must take place at
state, provincial, and local levels, guided by regional and continental planning.

Throughout the development of regional and continental bird conservation plans, PIF has followed a
stepwise planning approach, based on the best available scientific data and judgments from a broad
spectrum of bird conservation experts. Originally described as the PIF "Flight Plan" (Pashley et al.
2000), these steps include

       assessing conservation vulnerability among all native landbird species,
       identifying species most in need of conservation attention at continental and regional levels,
       setting quantitative population objectives for species of conservation importance,
       identifying conservation needs and recommended actions for priority species and their
        habitats,
       outlining an implementation strategy for meeting species and habitat objectives, and
       evaluating success, making revisions, and setting updated objectives for the future.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                           2
May 2004
An unprecedented opportunity to implement bird and habitat objectives identified by PIF and the
other bird-conservation initiatives exists with the State Wildlife Grants program. In order to make the
best use of the State Wildlife Grants program, Congress charged each state and territory with
developing a statewide Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (Strategies). These Strategies
will provide an essential foundation for the future of wildlife conservation and a stimulus to engage
the states, federal agencies, and other conservation partners to strategically think about their
individual and coordinate roles in prioritizing conservation efforts across the nation. In developing the
Strategies, the needs of bird species and their habitats will be considered along with needs for all
other taxa.

Our intent in this report is to summarize the detailed information from PIF bird conservation plans
that is most relevant to state planners and biologists as they develop the Strategies. The report is
broken into two parts—Part I is a user’s guide that explains the standardized set of procedures and
assumptions used to develop the data and information for each state. The data and information is
presented in Part II. This information includes

       priority species for each state, based on the PIF continental and physiographic area planning
        process;
       population estimates for each state, broken into portions of Bird Conservation Regions
        (BCRs) within each state;
       population objectives and numerical targets for each priority species, based on methods
        defined in the PIF North American Landbird Conservation Plan; and
       a cross referenced list of where relevant conservation issues, management recommendations,
        research and monitoring needs are found in the physiographic area and state PIF plans.

The priority species in each state, along with their state and BCR population estimates and targets, are
presented separately for each major habitat type within each state. These suites of species are similar
to the habitat-species suites presented in many physiographic area and state PIF plans and represent
groups of focal species that will benefit most from conservation actions within a given habitat type.
The priority species are listed within the species-habitat suite that is their primary breeding habitat.

The first table within each habitat-species suite contains the priority species that breed primarily in
that habitat, a population estimate within the portion of each BCR found within the states for each
species, the continental population objectives from the PIF North American Landbird Conservation
Plan for each species, and the state numerical population target for each species that is needed to meet
the continental objectives. The first table also contains two columns indicating the species priority tier
scores for breeding (B_Tier) and non breeding or wintering (N_Tier) species. The second table within
each habitat-species suite presents the numerical statewide population objectives for the priority
species using the information from the first table. The last section within each habitat-species suite is
a cross referenced list of where information on goals, objectives, strategies and individual species
accounts are located in the relevant PIF physiographic area and state plans.

The information described above is provided for every state, following a standardized set of
procedures and assumptions (detailed in Part I of this report), recognizing that states will vary in their
approach to developing the strategies and in their need for specific types of information from PIF
plans. The methods described below are adapted from several key sources, which should be consulted
for greater detail if needed. These sources include: Carter et al. (2000), for (now slightly out-of-date)
descriptions of the PIF species prioritization process; Pashley et al. (2000), for a summary of the PIF
physiographic area plans; Panjabi et al. (2001), for a handbook to using the PIF species assessment
database; the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory web site (www.rmbo.org/pif/pifdb.html



PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                           3
May 2004
                  www.partnersinflight.org




kvr2@cornell.edu

PIF priority species

Bird species may be of conservation importance in a state for several reasons, including rarity or high
threats to populations within the state, representation in rare or unique habitats within the state, or
because of larger regional or even global concerns for the species. PIF bird conservation plans
provide lists of species considered priorities for conservation action at continental, physiographic
area, or (in some cases) state levels. Providing PIF priority species lists to all states provides planners
with an assessment of which species may require coordinated regional (i.e. inter-state) actions, as well
as for which species their state can make the most significant regional or national conservation
contribution. In Part II of this report, we provide PIF priority lists for each state, partitioned according
to the status of each species in portions of BCRs overlapping each state.

The first step in PIF’s planning process is to identify species most in need of attention, based on a
conservation status assessment of each species throughout its range and annual cycle. PIF has
developed a process that evaluates several components of species vulnerability and provides an
overall conservation assessment of the species (Hunter et al. 1993, Carter et al. 2000, Panjabi et al.
2001). This process has been tested, reviewed, and updated, and its scientific credibility
acknowledged by the American Ornithologists’ Union (Beissinger et al. 2000).

Species assessment is based on the PIF North American Species Assessment Database, which
contains standardized data on the status of North American landbirds at the continental scale
(www.rmbo.org/pif/pifdb.html). During the development of the North American Landbird
Conservation Plan, the PIF Science Committee reviewed the data and consulted other appropriate
experts on all factors in the database to ensure that our assessment reflects the current state of
knowledge.

Each species was assigned "global" scores for six factors that assess distinct aspects of vulnerability
across the species' entire range: Population Size (PS), Breeding Distribution (BD), Nonbreeding
Distribution (ND), Threats to Breeding (TB), Threats to Nonbreeding (TN), and Population Trend
(PT). Scores for each factor reflect the degree of each species’ vulnerability (i.e., risk of significant
population decline or rangewide extinction) as a result of that factor. Scores ranged from ―1‖ for low
vulnerability to ―5‖ for high vulnerability. Complete descriptions, justifications, scoring criteria, and
definitions for each factor can be found in Panjabi et al. (2001), available at the Rocky Mountain Bird
Observatory web site (www.rmbo.org/pif/pifdb.html .

To determine species of conservation importance at the continental scale, we calculated a Combined
Score, which is a single metric of a species’ relative conservation importance. The Combined Score is
calculated as (highest of TB or TN scores) + (highest of BD or ND scores) + PT + PS. This score can
range from 4 for a widespread, relatively secure species for which we have few concerns, to 20 for a

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                             4
May 2004
species of the very highest concern. The most vulnerable species are those with a combination of
small and declining populations, limited distributions, and deteriorating habitats. Species were placed
on PIF's Continental Watch List if they had a Combined Score ≥ 14, or a Combined Score = 13 with
Population Trend score = 5 (the latter representing a 50% decline over 30 years).

In addition to species on the Continental Watch List, we identified species of regional importance in
each BCR, following methods used in many PIF physiographic area plans (e.g. Rosenberg and Wells,
in press, www.partnersinflight.org). Species of regional importance were identified based on four
―global‖ factors (PS, BD, ND, TN), as well as threats to breeding populations (TB), population trend
(PT), and area importance (AI) scores, which are specific to each BCR. Area Importance is scored
according to the relative abundance of a species in a BCR (based on BBS abundance or equivalent),
relative to the maximum abundance that species achieves across all BCRs. Categories of priority
status are determined by examining combinations of factor scores, as well as the total rank score,
which is a measure of overall conservation priority. For more information about how scores are
assigned see the PIF Handbook of Species Prioritization at
http://www.rmbo.org/pubs/downoads/Handbook.pdf.

Species of conservation importance identified for each state, therefore, represent a combination of
species on the PIF Continental Watch List, and additional species that meet criteria for regional
importance in BCRs that overlap each state. The resulting "priority tiers" listed for each state are
defined specifically as follow:

     Tier I. High Continental Importance. -- Species on the PIF Continental Watch List, which are
     typically of conservation concern throughout their range. These are species showing high
     vulnerability in a number of factors, expressed as any combination of high global parameter
     scores, with AI ≥ 2 (so that species without manageable populations in the region are omitted).
     High level conservation attention warranted.

     Tier II. High Regional Priority. Species that are of moderate continental priority (not on
     Continental Watch List), but are important to consider for conservation within a region because
     of various combinations of high parameter scores, as defined below; total of 7 parameter scores
     = ≥ 19.

     Tier IIA. High Regional Concern. Species that are experiencing declines in the core of their
     range and that require conservation action to reverse or stabilize trends. These are species with a
     combination of high area importance and declining (or unknown) population trend; total of 7
     parameters ≥ 19, with AI + PT ≥ 8.

     Tier IIB. High Regional Responsibility. Species for which this region shares in the
     responsibility for long-term conservation, even if they are not currently declining or threatened.
     These are species of moderate overall priority with a disproportionately high percentage of their
     total population in the region; total of 7 parameters ≥ 19, with AI = 5 or % population >
     threshold (see http://www.rmbo.org/pubs/downoads/Handbook.pdf).

     Tier IIC. High Regional Threats. Species of moderate overall priority that are uncommon in a
     region and whose remaining populations are threatened, usually because of extreme threats to
     sensitive habitats. These are species with high breeding threats scores within the region (or in
     combination with high nonbreeding threats outside the region); total of 7 parameters ≥ 19 with
     TB + TN > 6, or local TB or TN = 5.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                          5
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Scores for all breeding and wintering species in each BCR, as well as priority tiers assigned to each
species, may be found at: http://www.rmbo.org/pif/pifdb.html.

Population estimates

As part of the development of the North American Landbird Conservation Plan (Rich et al 2004), PIF
estimated the ―current global‖ population size for each of 448 landbird species. These estimates give
an impression of the size of the landbird resource, and more importantly they emphasize the
magnitude of the task of attaining landbird population objectives. Continental (U.S. and Canada)
population estimates provide a starting point for estimating population sizes in states, provinces or
BCRs, and an understanding of the magnitude of attaining objectives regionally. In Part II of this
report we provide population estimates for all continental and regionally important bird species
presented by habitat-species suite in each state, listed by the portions of BCRs within that state.

The following methodology is excerpted from Rich et al (2004); Appendix B, which provides
additional details. We used Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data from the 1990s as the basis for
population estimates across the U.S. and across Canada south of the arctic (i.e., excluding BCR 3, see
next section). BBS-based estimates of abundance were calculated according to the following steps:

     1) For each BBS route run within acceptable weather conditions, counts were averaged across
        years to give a single average count for the 1990s for each species recorded on each route.

     2) Species counts were averaged across all BBS routes in each geo-political polygon defined by
        the intersection of a BCR and a state.

     3) Indices of abundance were calculated for each geo-political polygon by multiplying average
        counts per BBS route times area of the geo-political polygon, and dividing by the theoretical
        area covered by a BBS route (25.1 km2, assuming 400-m radius around each of the 50 count
        circles). For example, the index of abundance for Wood Thrushes in the BCR 28 portion of
        New York equals 10.71 birds/route (29 routes sampled in 1990s) x 37,872 km2 (area of New
        York) / 25.1 km2 (area per BBS route) equals approximately 16,000.

     4) State-wide indices of abundance were calculated by simple addition across all polygons
        making up each state, thus giving a population index for Wood Thrushes in all of New York
        of approximately 52,000. BCR-wide indices of abundance were calculated in the same
        manner.

     5) State-wide indices of abundance were converted to population estimates by applying three
        correction factors (see Rosenberg and Blancher, in press, for more detail on these correction
        factors):

                        Indices were multiplied by two on the assumption that typically a single
        member of a breeding pair is observed during BBS tallies;

                                    Each species was placed into one of five detection distance
        categories, based on presumed effective detection during 3-minute BBS counts: 80m, 125m,
        200m, 400m and 800m. Because area of detection increases as the square of detection
        distance, the detection area correction is then simply the square of the ratio between 400m
        (theoretical BBS count circle) and species-specific effective distance. For example for Wood
        Thrush, placed in the 200m class, the population index is multiplied by a detection area
        correction of 4 (square of 400/200). Note that effective detection distances are intended to

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                         6
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        incorporate not only the distance at which a species is normally heard and seen, but also the
        distance the species moves during a 3-min count period – this is why some wide-ranging
        species have been assigned an 800-m detection distance despite being counted within a 400-
        m BBS circle.

                                  Almost all species show a temporal change in detection across the
        50 BBS stops, some declining from a dawn chorus, others peaking after sunrise or later in the
        morning. A time of day correction is applied to the population index to adjust counts to the
        maximum time of detection. This adjusts for birds not detected at other times of the morning.
        The correction factor is the ratio of counts at the peak of detection (calculated using a
        polynomial curve fit to smooth out stop-by-stop variance) relative to the average count over
        whole BBS routes. Time of day correction factors were calculated from survey-wide BBS
        stop-by-stop data. For Wood Thrush, whose detectability declines from a peak at BBS stop
        1, the time of day correction is 2.30.

For Wood Thrushes, the population estimate for New York = 52,000 (index from step 4) x 2 (pair
correction) x 4 (detection area correction) x 2.30 (time of day correction) = roughly 960,000 breeding
individuals.

For a variety of reasons, the population estimates presented in Part II are rough estimates and will
need to be improved over time, especially for use at smaller scales. Two main assumptions of the
approach are mentioned here (see Rosenberg and Blancher, in press).

Assumption: Habitats are sampled in approximate proportion to their occurrence in the regional
landscape. Although BBS is designed to provide a random sample of the landscape, limitations of a
road-based survey mean that the landscape sampled is a biased representation of available habitat –
for example species characteristic of high elevation habitats are likely to be undersampled by BBS
simply because roads tend to follow valley bottoms in mountainous regions. In northern BCRs, there
is a geographic bias, with most BBS data available from the southern portions of those BCRs.
Checklist and Breeding Bird Census sites are determined by individual scientists and volunteers, so
are not a random sample of arctic regions. We have not accounted for habitat bias in our continental
estimates, in part because it will differ from region to region, and because the magnitude of bias has
not yet been estimated in many regions or at a continental scale. Correction for habitat bias should be
considered when using the methods described above at smaller scales.

Assumption: Birds present but not detected during BBS counts are accounted for, on balance, by one
or more of the three density corrections applied above (pair, detection area, and time of day
corrections). Species that have a peak of detection outside of the BBS sampling window (e.g., early-
season breeders, most nocturnal species) are likely to have been underestimated. Pair corrections may
result in over-estimation of population size, if a high proportion of counts involve either both
members of a pair, or unmated birds.

In addition to stating assumptions behind this population estimation procedure, PIF has assessed the
accuracy and precision of population estimates for each species. Overall, about two-thirds of the
―global‖ population estimates presented in the North American Landbird Conservation Plan are rated
as having fair to moderate accuracy, expected to be within and usually well within an order of
magnitude of the correct breeding population. Estimates are least accurate for wide-ranging species
with large populations in northern Canada or south of the U.S.; for many of these species our
estimates for the U.S. population and that of many states, will be more accurate than our ―global‖
estimate. For species estimates based largely on BBS abundance, we also assessed the precision of
these estimates, a measure of how repeatable the estimate is given the variance among counts. Results

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                          7
May 2004
show that most estimates are repeatable within 10% or 20%; i.e., repeatability of the estimate is
generally high or very high, even when accuracy was rated as fair to moderate (summarized in Rich et
al, 2004; Appendix B).

Population objectives

For each state, we list the population objective and numerical population targets for the continental
and regionally important species by habitat-species suite, within the portions of BCRs that overlap
that state (See Part II). Population objectives are based on rangewide population trends of species, as
described below, and targets are based on population estimates described above.

Setting population objectives requires knowledge of population size and trends, as well as agreement
on historic baselines to which present-day populations can be compared. As a starting point, the target
for PIF priority species is to maintain current populations, or to return declining populations at least to
their numbers in the late 1960s. This date was selected because we believe that target is achievable
and realistic for most species of conservation importance. Acceptance of this baseline recognizes that
the extensive losses and modifications of habitat since the European settlement of North America are
historical realities that are not likely to be reversed to a significant extent at the continental level. It
also recognizes that prior to 1966 and the start of the Breeding Bird Survey, there were no consistent
data for most landbird species upon which to base measurable population objectives.

Population objectives were determined for each species based on degree of population change since
1966, according to the trend data used in the species assessment process. However, we recognize that
trend estimates are not exact. Rather than proposing population objectives that represent estimates of
the actual number of birds in 1966 (which would generate a different target for each species), we
assigned each species to one of four population objective categories, as described below. For now,
these objectives are based on trends at the continental level, and defined for each state to help meet
continental targets. Refinement of this process and comparison with local and regional data and
targets, may dictate more or less aggressive objectives than for the species continental targets. For
regionally important species not on the Continental Watch List, continental estimates of trends are
used to determine objectives and targets, as with Watch List species described in Rich et al (2004).
For species that are the subject of legally mandated Recovery Plans, we defer to the objectives of
those plans.

                      For all species that have undergone severe declines of 50% or more over 30
years (i.e., those with Population Trend scores of 5), the objective is to double the current population
over the next 30 years. Reversing declines and doubling present-day populations is warranted for
nearly a third of the 100 species on PIF's Continental Watch List.

                              For species that have undergone moderate declines (15-50% over 30
years, as indicated by Population Trend scores of 4), the objective is to increase the population by
50% over the next 30 years. This objective is warranted for 23 Continental Watch List Species.

                                               Species with uncertain or unknown past trend
(Population Trend scores of 3) may be seriously declining without our knowledge. Our conservative
objective for these species, therefore, is to maintain or increase current populations in the next 30
years while simultaneously improving our knowledge of population status. This is the objective for
33 Continental Watch List Species.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                             8
May 2004
                      For species with stable or increasing populations, PIF’s objective is to at least
maintain current populations.

By combining the suggested population objectives with our initial estimates of population size, a first
approximation of a numerical population target for each species at the continental, regional and state
levels can be determined. These are listed separately for each species in each BCR polygon within a
state. For example, the North American Landbird Conservation Plan calls for a doubling of present-
day Brewer’s Sparrow populations over the next 30 years to restore a range-wide population of
roughly 32 million breeding individuals. The portion of that target suggested for Idaho, therefore
would be to double the present-day population of 1.2 million Brewer's Sparrows, with 83% of that
target being met in the BCR-9 portion of the state.

Comparing and refining estimates

Numerous experts and many rounds of review have helped to make the process of estimating
populations as accurate as possible, and we hope that it will become a valuable tool in landbird
conservation. But we realize that these estimates provide a starting point, not a final answer.
Significant discussions have already taken place and current efforts are underway to refine the
process and assumptions of our methodology for calculating population estimates and assigning
population objectives. For example, our correction factors are being reviewed and revised by
regional PIF groups, and additional correction factors are being proposed and developed (e.g., a
habitat bias correction factor). Regional and local population objectives are being proposed based on
data and knowledge at that scale to cumulatively support the continental population objective (see
Appendix A). Additionally, a Science Review Team not involved in the process of developing this
methodology has been created and will be meeting soon to provide an independent review of the
population estimation process with recommendations. Please consult with your state PIF
representative and/or your BCR or JV Coordinator to determine the status of these efforts and how
they may apply to the State Wildlife planning process. We look forward to the outcome of all these
efforts and anticipate substantial improvements with every North American Landbird Conservation
Plan update as data, analysis and concepts improve.
Therefore, it is important for users of these estimates to understand the following:

   All species assessment scores have a degree of uncertainty in the underlying information and
    professional judgments were made in setting each score. See Carter et al. 2000 and Panjabi et al.
    2001 for details.

   The ―global‖ population size estimates rely on several assumptions and have a level of error that
    can only be approximated. Estimates will be revised as data improve and as the estimation
    process is refined. Revised estimates will be posted annually on the PIF web site
    (www.partnersinflight.com).

   Rule sets were used to select Species of Continental Importance and to assign those species to
    categories for Conservation Action and Monitoring Need. Different rule sets would produce
    different lists, but the ones used here are the result of exhaustive discussion and analysis by
    landbird experts.

   Population objectives are based on past population trend and are independent of population size
    estimates. Changes in population size estimates will have no effect on objectives, but improved
    trend information could have large effects. Objectives will be revised as appropriate.
At the Population Objectives workshop in Texas (February, 2004), and at several regional workshops,
the process of comparing our "top-down" BBS-derived population estimates (see Part II) with locally

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                          9
May 2004
derived "bottom-up" estimates was begun. We urge that additional comparisons be made wherever
local data for priority bird species exist. These comparisons have produced "mixed" results to date,
with some species well within expected ranges and other estimates based on different approaches not
yet very close.

Disparity or similarity between estimates derived from the process described in this report vs. a
bottom-up (local/regional) approach does not necessarily mean that one or both estimates are wrong.
In all cases, the assumptions of each approach need to be carefully evaluated. Initial comparisons
have suggested that one or more correction factors for some species may need revision, resulting in
comparisons that are much closer. In some cases, re-thinking of local density information with respect
to what constitutes suitable habitat has also resulted in closer comparisons. Ultimately, population
estimates based on accurate habitat-suitability and -availability models will be needed to evaluate the
accuracy and utility of the process described in this report.

Issues and recommendations by habitat-species suites

For each habitat-species suite, we provide a cross referenced list where information on conservation
issues, management recommendations, research and monitoring needs, and individual species
accounts most relevant to that habitat or group of species are located. The list will direct the reader to
specific pages within the relevant sections of PIF physiographic area and state plans. Our aim is
simply to provide a link to information from the bird conservation plans. We therefore have not added
new information or filled in gaps where information for a particular species or habitat is lacking at
present.

Next Step: Deriving habitat objectives

In most (but not all) cases, conservation actions aimed at maintaining or restoring healthy populations
of landbirds will be directed at habitat. It is desirable, therefore, to set explicit habitat objectives and
targets for species or suites of priority bird species. Deriving quantitative habitat objectives for birds
requires an additional set of assumptions (for example, that habitat is limiting for a given species),
knowledge of local or habitat-specific densities, knowledge of habitat-related limiting factors, and
often a complex GIS-based modeling approach. Such analyses are beyond the scope of this report. A
standardized five-step approach to modeling habitat requirements for meeting PIF landbird objectives
was discussed at the recent Population Objectives Workshop in Port Aransas, TX (February, 2004).
After further discussions a detailed description of the five-step, long term process will be
disseminated.

A simple, first-cut estimate of habitat requirements for bird populations can be attempted, however,
using population estimates and habitat-specific density information. These estimates may be derived
using the equation: Habitat Area = Population Estimate X Density (birds/unit area). These habitat
objectives have been used in some PIF physiographic area plans (primarily in Northeast Region), but
their acceptance is far from widespread. Nevertheless, these numerical estimates have proven
extremely valuable for conveying region-wide habitat conservation needs, such as in the Wildlife
Management Institute's Farm Bill report, How Much is Enough? (WMI 2001). For example, we
estimated that roughly 4.5 million acres of suitable grassland habitat are required across the Northeast
U.S. to support 1.6 million pairs of nesting Bobolinks -- these numbers were translated into specific
goals for Farm Bill programs.
These simple habitat estimates may be most reasonable for birds with simple habitat requirements,
such as grassland species. For many forest birds, however, local density-derived habitat estimates are
not considered reasonable, because species are patchily distributed within a matrix of potentially



PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                            10
May 2004
suitable habitat. For these birds, defining "suitable" habitat is critical, and more complex habitat-
modeling techniques are required.


References

Carter, M. F., W. C. Hunter, D. N. Pashley, and K. V. Rosenberg. 2000. Setting conservation
 priorities for landbirds in the United States: The Partners in Flight Approach. Auk 117:541–548.




Panjabi, A., C. Beardmore, P. Blancher, G. Butcher, M. Carter, D. Demarest, E. Dunn, C. Hunter, D.
  Pashley, K. Rosenberg, T. Rich, and T. Will. 2001. The Partners in Flight Handbook on Species
  Assessment and Prioritization. Version 1.1. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Brighton,
  Colorado.

Pashley, D. N., C. J. Beardmore, J. A. Fitzgerald, R. P. Ford, W. C. Hunter, M. S. Morrison, and K.
  V. Rosenberg. 2000. Partners in Flight: Conservation of the Land Birds of the United States.
  American Bird Conservancy. The Plains, Virginia.

Rich, T.D., C.J. Beardmore, H. Berlanga, P.J. Blancher, M.S.W. Bradstreet, G.S. Butcher, D.W.
  Demarest, E.H. Dunn, W.C. Hunter, E.E. Inigo-Elias, J.A. Kennedy, A.M. Martell, A.O. Panjabi,
  D.N. Pashley, K.V. Rosenberg, C.M. Rustay, J.S. Wendt, T.C. Will. 2004. Partners in Flight North
  American Landbird Conservation Plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ithaca, NY.

Rosenberg, K. V., and P. J. Blancher. In press. Setting numerical population objectives for priority
 landbird species. Pages xx–xx in Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight
 Conference (C. J. Ralph and T. D. Rich, Eds.). USDA Forest Service General Technical Report
 PSW-GTR-191. Albany, California.

Rosenberg, K. V., and J.V. Wells. In press. Conservation priorities for terrestrial birds in the
 northeastern United States. Pages xx–xx in Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight
 Conference (C. J. Ralph and T. D. Rich, Eds.). USDA Forest Service General Technical Report
 PSW-GTR-191. Albany, California.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                           11
May 2004
PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana   12
May 2004
                                             Part II: MONTANA

This report is Part II of a two-part report. Part I is a user’s guide that explains the
standardized set of procedures and assumptions used to develop the data and information for
each state. Part II presents the PIF priority species data and information by habitat-species
suites. The priority species are listed within the species-habitat suite that is their primary
breeding habitat. Please see Part I for a detailed explanation of the standardized process used
to develop Part II of this report.

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) addresses conservation issues and
opportunities at the non-habitat and habitat level. Non-habitat cross-references are listed
here. Habitat cross-references are listed in each habitat section below.

Conservation Issues and Opportunities in Montana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 22
Non-habitat (Across Habitat) Issues and Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234



                                                GRASSLAND

Priority bird species that breed primarily in grassland. The Montana Bird Conservation Plan
(Casey 2000) recognizes two types of grassland in the state: mixed-grass prairie and
intermountain grasslands. They are combined here for the purposes of this report.

                                                                      Estimated Continental Target
Species                                 BCR       B_Tier       N_Tier Population Objective Population
Northern Harrier                         10        II.c.                    8,200   1.5         12,000
Northern Harrier                         11        II.a.                   29,000   1.5         44,000
Northern Harrier                         17        II.a.                   21,000   1.5         32,000
Ferruginous Hawk                         10        II.a.                      940   1.0            940
Ferruginous Hawk                         11        II.a.                    2,300   1.0          2,300
Ferruginous Hawk                         17        II.a.                    1,700   1.0          1,700
Golden Eagle                             10                     II.a.       1,100   1.0          1,100
Golden Eagle                             11                                 1,300   1.0          1,300
Golden Eagle                             17          II.a.                  1,800   1.0          1,800
Prairie Falcon                           10          II.c.                    850   1.0            850
Prairie Falcon                           11                                   430   1.0            430
Prairie Falcon                           17          II.a.                  1,200   1.0          1,200
Sharp-tailed Grouse                      10                                15,000   1.0         15,000
Sharp-tailed Grouse                      11          II.a.      II.a.      63,000   1.0         63,000
Sharp-tailed Grouse                      17          II.a.      II.a.      87,000   1.0         87,000
Upland Sandpiper                         11          II.a.                      ?    ?                ?
Upland Sandpiper                         17          II.a.                      ?    ?                ?
Burrowing Owl                            10                                   270   1.5            410
Burrowing Owl                            11          II.c.                  7,700   1.5         12,000
Burrowing Owl                            17          II.c.                  7,900   1.5         12,000

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                    13
May 2004
                                                                 Estimated Continental Target
Species                              BCR      B_Tier      N_Tier Population Objective Population
Short-eared Owl                       10         I.         I.        12,000   2.0         24,000
Short-eared Owl                       11         I.         I.        31,000   2.0         62,000
Short-eared Owl                       17         I.         I.        41,000   2.0         82,000
Sedge Wren                            11       II.b.                       ?   1.0               ?
Sprague's Pipit                       10                               2,600   2.0          5,200
Sprague's Pipit                       11           I.                 53,000   2.0        110,000
Sprague's Pipit                       17           I.                 64,000   2.0        130,000
Lark Bunting                          10         II.c.                37,000   1.5         56,000
Lark Bunting                          11         II.c.             2,100,000   1.5      3,200,000
Lark Bunting                          17         II.a.             5,300,000   1.5      8,000,000
Grasshopper Sparrow                   10                              64,000   2.0        130,000
Grasshopper Sparrow                   11         II.a.               330,000   2.0        660,000
Grasshopper Sparrow                   17         II.a.               200,000   2.0        400,000
Baird's Sparrow                       11           I.                110,000   2.0        220,000
Baird's Sparrow                       17           I.                 18,000   2.0         36,000
McCown's Longspur                     10           I.                 81,000   1.0         81,000
McCown's Longspur                     11           I.                210,000   1.0        210,000
McCown's Longspur                     17           I.                 40,000   1.0         40,000
Chestnut-collared Longspur            11         II.a.             1,200,000   1.5      1,800,000
Chestnut-collared Longspur            17         II.a.               360,000   1.5        540,000
Dickcissel                            17           I.                  2,500   1.5          3,800
Western Meadowlark                    10                             550,000   1.5        830,000
Western Meadowlark                    11         II.a.               880,000   1.5      1,300,000
Western Meadowlark                    17         II.a.             2,200,000   1.5      3,300,000



State Population Objectives.

Species                            Statewide population objectives for grassland species
Northern Harrier                   Increase the statewide population from 58,000 individuals to
                                   87,000 individuals.
Ferruginous Hawk                   Maintain the current statewide population of 4,900 individuals.
Golden Eagle                       Maintain the current statewide population of 4,200 individuals.
Prairie Falcon                     Maintain the current statewide population of 2,500 individuals.
Sharp-tailed Grouse                Maintain the current statewide population of 170,000 individuals.
Upland Sandpiper                   Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Burrowing Owl                      Increase the statewide population from 16,000 individuals to
                                   24,000 individuals.
Short-eared Owl                    Double the statewide population from 84,000 individuals to
                                   170,000 individuals.
Sedge Wren                         Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
                                   are unavailable at this time.

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                  14
May 2004
Species                    Statewide population objectives for grassland species
Sprague's Pipit            Double the statewide population from 120,000 individuals to
                           240,000 individuals.
Lark Bunting               Increase the statewide population from 7,400,000 individuals to
                           11,000,000 individuals.
Grasshopper Sparrow        Double the statewide population from 590,000 individuals to
                           1,200,000 individuals.
Baird's Sparrow            Double the statewide population from 130,000 individuals to
                           260,000 individuals.
McCown's Longspur          Maintain the current statewide population of 330,000 individuals.
Chestnut-collared Longspur Increase the statewide population from 1,600,000 individuals to
                           2,400,000 individuals.
Dickcissel                 Increase the statewide population from 2,500 individuals to
                           3,800 individuals.
Western Meadowlark         Increase the statewide population from 3,600,000 individuals to
                           5,400,000 individuals.


Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

Mixed-grass prairie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 34
Mixed-grass prairie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Intermountain grasslands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Intermountain grasslands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following grassland priority species:

Northern Harrier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 59
Ferruginous Hawk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Burrowing Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Short-eared Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Sprague's Pipit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Lark Bunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Grasshopper Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Baird's Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
McCown's Longspur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Chestnut-collared Longspur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                         15
May 2004
Additional grassland species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000).

Mountain Plover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 38
Long-billed Curlew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Bobolink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63


                                                          SHRUBLAND

Priority bird species that breed primarily in shrublands. The Montana Bird Conservation
Plan (Casey 2000) recognizes two types of shrubland in the state: sagebrush shrubsteppe and
montane shrubland. They are combined here for the purposes of this report.

                                                                           Estimated Continental Target
Species                                          BCR         B_Tier N_Tier Population Objective Population
Greater Sage-Grouse                               10            I.    I.             ?    ?                ?
Greater Sage-Grouse                               17            I.    I.             ?    ?                ?
Calliope Hummingbird                              10            I.              89,000   1.0         89,000
Say’s Phoebe                                      10                            26,000   1.0         26,000
Say’s Phoebe                                      11                            56,000   1.0         56,000
Say’s Phoebe                                      17          II.a.            164,000   1.0        164,000
Loggerhead Shrike                                 11          II.c.             48,000   2.0         96,000
Loggerhead Shrike                                 17                            84,000   2.0        168,000
Black-billed Magpie                               10          II.a.            130,000   1.0        130,000
Black-billed Magpie                               11          II.a.             24,000   1.0         24,000
Black-billed Magpie                               17                            30,000   1.0         30,000
Mountain Bluebird                                 10                           320,000   1.0        320,000
Mountain Bluebird                                 11                               990   1.0            990
Mountain Bluebird                                 17          II.a.            150,000   1.0        150,000
Sage Thrasher                                     10          II.b.             71,000   1.0         71,000
Sage Thrasher                                     11                             3,200   1.0          3,200
Sage Thrasher                                     17                            14,000   1.0         14,000
Brown Thrasher                                    10                             1,200   1.5          1,800
Brown Thrasher                                    11          II.a.             33,000   1.5         50,000
Brown Thrasher                                    17                            51,000   1.5         77,000
Green-tailed Towhee                               10          II.a.             32,000   1.0         32,000
Green-tailed Towhee                               17                            16,000   1.0         16,000
Clay-colored Sparrow                              10                            37,000   1.5         56,000
Clay-colored Sparrow                              11          II.b.            300,000   1.5        450,000
Clay-colored Sparrow                              17                            85,000   1.5        130,000
Brewer's Sparrow                                  10            I.             470,000   2.0        940,000
Brewer's Sparrow                                  11                            61,000   2.0        120,000
Brewer's Sparrow                                  17            I.             420,000   2.0        840,000
Sage Sparrow                                      10          II.a.                  ?   1.0               ?
Sage Sparrow                                      17                             3,500   1.0          3,500


PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                           16
May 2004
                                                                        Estimated Continental Target
Species                                       BCR         B_Tier N_Tier Population Objective Population
Lazuli Bunting                                 10          II.b.             61,000   1.0         61,000
Lazuli Bunting                                 11                               840   1.0            840
Lazuli Bunting                                 17                            52,000   1.0         52,000


State Population Objectives.

Species                                    Statewide population objectives for shrubland species
Greater Sage-Grouse                        Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Calliope Hummingbird                       Maintain the current statewide population of 89,000 individuals.
Say’s Phoebe                               Maintain the current statewide population of 250,000 individuals.
Loggerhead Shrike                          Double the statewide population from 130,000 individuals to
                                           260,000 individuals.
Black-billed Magpie                        Maintain the current statewide population of 180,000 individuals.
Mountain Bluebird                          Maintain the current statewide population of 470,000 individuals.
Sage Thrasher                              Maintain the current statewide population of 88,000 individuals.
Brown Thrasher                             Increase the statewide population from 85,000 individuals to
                                           130,000 individuals.
Green-tailed Towhee                        Maintain the current statewide population of 48,000 individuals.
Clay-colored Sparrow                       Increase the statewide population from 420,000 individuals to
                                           630,000 individuals.
Brewer's Sparrow                           Double the statewide population from 950,000 individuals to
                                           1,900,000 individuals.
Sage Sparrow                               Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
                                           are unavailable at this time.
Lazuli Bunting                             Maintain the current statewide population of 110,000 individuals.


Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

Sagebrush shrubsteppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 71
Sagebrush shrubsteppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Montane shrubland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Montane shrubland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following shrubland priority species:

Greater Sage-Grouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 72

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                    17
May 2004
Calliope Hummingbird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82
Loggerhead Shrike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Sage Thrasher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Green-tailed Towhee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Clay-colored Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
Brewer's Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Lazuli Bunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

Additional shrubland species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000).

Common Poorwill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 85
Nashville Warbler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Lark Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77



                                                             FOREST

Priority bird species that breed primarily in forests. The Montana Bird Conservation Plan
(Casey 2000) recognizes nine general forest types in the state: dry forest (ponderosa
pine/Douglas-fir), cedar-hemlock, burned forest, moist Douglas-fir/grand fir, whitebark pine,
aspen, wet subalpine fir (spruce/fir), limber pine/juniper, and dry subalpine fir/lodgepole
pine. They are combined here for the purposes of this report.

                                                                         Estimated Continental Target
Species                                        BCR         B_Tier N_Tier Population Objective Population
Northern Goshawk                                10          II.a.              7,600   1.0          7,600
Northern Goshawk                                17                               820   1.0            820
Ruffed Grouse                                   10          II.a.  II.a.     290,000   1.5        440,000
Blue Grouse                                     10            I.     I.        4,100   2.0          8,200
Blue Grouse                                     17                             1,700   2.0          3,400
Flammulated Owl                                 10            I.                   ?   1.0               ?
Northern Saw-whet Owl                           10          II.a.              7,600   1.0          7,600
Vaux's Swift                                    10          II.b.              9,400   1.0          9,400
Lewis's Woodpecker                              10            I.               3,000   1.0          3,000
Williamson's Sapsucker                          10          II.a.              7,700   1.0          7,700
Red-naped Sapsucker                             10          II.a.            140,000   1.0        140,000
Red-naped Sapsucker                             17                             6,200   1.0          6,200
Black-backed Woodpecker                         10          II.c.                  ?   1.0               ?
Black-backed Woodpecker                         17          II.c.                  ?   1.0               ?
Olive-sided Flycatcher                          10            I.              21,000   2.0         42,000
Dusky Flycatcher                                10          II.a.            350,000   1.5        530,000
Dusky Flycatcher                                11                             1,200   1.5          1,800
Dusky Flycatcher                                17                            19,000   1.5         29,000
Cassin's Vireo                                  10          II.b.            280,000   1.0        280,000
Pinyon Jay                                      10            I.     I.       46,000   2.0         92,000

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                        18
May 2004
                                                            Estimated Continental Target
Species                              BCR      B_Tier N_Tier Population Objective Population
Pinyon Jay                            17         I.     I.       27,000   2.0         54,000
Pygmy Nuthatch                        10              II.a.      34,000   1.0         34,000
Townsend's Solitaire                  10       II.a.             45,000   1.0         45,000
Townsend's Warbler                    10       II.b.            810,000   1.0        810,000
Cassin's Finch                        10       II.a.  II.a.     120,000   1.5        180,000
Cassin's Finch                        11                            430   1.5            650
Cassin's Finch                        17                          4,900   1.5          7,400


State Population Objectives.

Species                            Statewide population objectives for forest species
Northern Goshawk                   Maintain the current statewide population of 8,400 individuals.
Ruffed Grouse                      Increase the statewide population from 290,000 individuals to
                                   440,000 individuals.
Blue Grouse                        Double the statewide population from 5,800 individuals to
                                   12,000 individuals.
Flammulated Owl                    Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
                                   are unavailable at this time.
Northern Saw-whet Owl              Maintain the current statewide population of 7,600 individuals.
Vaux’s Swift                       Maintain the current statewide population of 9,400 individuals.
Lewis's Woodpecker                 Maintain the current statewide population of 3,000 individuals.
Williamson's Sapsucker             Maintain the current statewide population of 7,700 individuals.
Red-naped Sapsucker                Maintain the current statewide population of 150,000 individuals.
Black-backed Woodpecker            Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
                                   are unavailable at this time.
Olive-sided Flycatcher             Double the statewide population from 21,000 individuals to
                                   42,000 individuals.
Dusky Flycatcher                   Increase the statewide population from 370,000 individuals to
                                   560,000 individuals.
Cassin’s Vireo                     Maintain the current statewide population of 280,000 individuals.
Pinyon Jay                         Double the statewide population from 73,000 individuals to
                                   150,000 individuals.
Pygmy Nuthatch                     Maintain the current statewide population of 34,000 individuals.
Townsend's Solitaire               Maintain the current statewide population of 45,000 individuals.
Townsend’s Warbler                 Maintain the current statewide population of 810,000 individuals.
Cassin’s Finch                     Increase the statewide population from 130,000 individuals to
                                   190,000 individuals.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                  19
May 2004
Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

Dry forest (ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 88
Dry forest (ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Cedar-hemlock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Cedar-hemlock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Burned forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Burned forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131
Moist Douglas-fir/grand fir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132
Moist Douglas-fir/grand fir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145
Whitebark pine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Whitebark pine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Aspen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Aspen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Wet subalpine fir (spruce/fir) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Wet subalpine fir (spruce/fir) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Limber pine/juniper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Dry subalpine fir/lodgepole pine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164


Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following forest priority species:

Northern Goshawk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 138
Ruffed Grouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156
Blue Grouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Flammulated Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Vaux’s Swift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114
Lewis's Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Williamson's Sapsucker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Red-naped Sapsucker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Black-backed Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123
Olive-sided Flycatcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Plumbeous/Cassin’s Vireos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144
Townsend's Solitaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130
Townsend’s Warbler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144
Cassin’s Finch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104

Additional forest species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000).

Sharp-shinned Hawk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 143
Great Gray Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                           20
May 2004
Boreal Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Three-toed Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Pileated Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Clark’s Nutcracker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Chestnut-backed Chickadee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Brown Creeper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Winter Wren . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Golden-crowned Kinglet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
Varied Thrush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118
Ovenbird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159
Chipping Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
Red Crossbill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104



                                                            RIPARIAN

Priority bird species that breed primarily in riparian habitats. The Montana Bird
Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) recognizes four types of riparian habitat in the state:
riparian deciduous forest (cottonwood/aspen), riparian shrub, hardwood draws, and riparian
coniferous forest. They are combined here for the purposes of this report.

                                                                                              Continent
                                                                                  Estimated      al     Target
Species                                        BCR          B_Tier         N_Tier Population Objective Population
Swainson's Hawk                                 10             I.                       9,600    1.0         9,600
Swainson's Hawk                                 11             I.                      25,000    1.0        25,000
Swainson's Hawk                                 17             I.                       9,900    1.0         9,900
Killdeer                                        11           II.a.                          ?     ?               ?
Killdeer                                        17           II.a.                          ?     ?               ?
Black-billed Cuckoo                             10                                        310    1.5           470
Black-billed Cuckoo                             11             II.a.                      920    1.5         1,400
Black-billed Cuckoo                             17             II.a.                    8,900    1.5        13,000
Rufous Hummingbird                              10               I.                    68,000    2.0       140,000
Red-headed Woodpecker                           17               I.                     2,900    2.0         5,800
Willow Flycatcher                               10               I.                   300,000    1.5       450,000
Willow Flycatcher                               11               I.                     3,700    1.5         5,600
Willow Flycatcher                               17               I.                    10,000    1.5        15,000
Hammond's Flycatcher                            10             II.a.                  750,000    1.0       750,000
American Dipper                                 10             II.a.        II.a.     100,000    1.0       100,000




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                         21
May 2004
State Population Objectives.

Species                                       Statewide population objectives for riparian species
Swainson's Hawk                               Maintain the current statewide population of 45,000 individuals.
Killdeer                                      Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Black-billed Cuckoo                           Increase the statewide population from 10,000 individuals to
                                              15,000 individuals.
Rufous Hummingbird                            Double the statewide population from 68,000 individuals to
                                              140,000 individuals.
Red-headed Woodpecker                         Double the statewide population from 2,900 individuals to
                                              5,800 individuals.
Willow Flycatcher                             Increase the statewide population from 310,000 individuals to
                                              470,000 individuals.
Hammond's Flycatcher                          Maintain the current statewide population of 750,000 individuals.
American Dipper                               Maintain the current statewide population of 100,000 individuals.


Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

Riparian deciduous forest (cottonwood/aspen) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 166
Riparian deciduous forest (cottonwood/aspen) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
Riparian shrub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182
Riparian shrub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187
Hardwood draws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187
Hardwood draws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189
Riparian coniferous forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .191
Riparian coniferous forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .196


Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following riparian priority species:

Swainson's Hawk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 189
Killdeer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175
Black-billed Cuckoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171
Rufous Hummingbird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184
Red-headed Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Willow Flycatcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184
Hammond's Flycatcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .194
American Dipper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

Additional riparian species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000).

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                           22
May 2004
Barrow’s Goldeneye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 169
Hooded Merganser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Harlequin Duck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193
Bald Eagle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
Interior Least Tern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Yellow-billed Cuckoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171
Western Screech-Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177
Eastern Screech-Owl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .176
Downy Woodpecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177
Least Flycatcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Cordilleran Flycatcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
Warbling Vireo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .185
Red-eyed Vireo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175
Veery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174
Gray Catbird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
American Redstart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
MacGillivray’s Warbler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Song Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Orchard Oriole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180


                                                            WETLANDS

Priority bird species that breed primarily in wetlands. The Montana Bird Conservation Plan
(Casey 2000) recognizes five types of wetland in the state: prairie pothole, intermountain
valley wetlands, irrigation reservoirs > 640 acres, irrigation reservoirs < 640 acres, and high
elevation wetlands. They are combined here for the purposes of this report.

                                                                                Estimated Continental Target
Species                                              BCR          B_Tier N_Tier Population Objective Population
Yellow Rail                                           11            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Virginia Rail                                         11            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Virginia Rail                                         17            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Sandhill Crane                                        10            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Sandhill Crane                                        11            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Black Tern                                            11            II.a.                 ?    ?                ?
Le Conte’s Sparrow                                    10                                630   1.0            630
Le Conte’s Sparrow                                    11            II.a.                 ?   1.0               ?
Le Conte’s Sparrow                                    17            II.c.                 ?   1.0               ?
Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow                         11             I.                   ?   1.0               ?
Yellow-headed Blackbird                               10                            590,000   1.0        590,000
Yellow-headed Blackbird                               11           II.b.            200,000   1.0        200,000
Yellow-headed Blackbird                               17                            180,000   1.0        180,000




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                            23
May 2004
State Population Objectives.

Species                                      Statewide population objectives for wetland species
Yellow Rail                                  Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Virginia Rail                                Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Sandhill Crane                               Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Black Tern                                   Population numbers are unavailable at this time.
Le Conte’s Sparrow                           Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
                                             are unavailable at this time.
Nelson’s Sharp-tailed                        Maintain the current statewide population. Population numbers
Sparrow                                      are unavailable at this time.
Yellow-headed Blackbird                      Maintain the current statewide population of 970,000 individuals.


Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

Prairie pothole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 199
Prairie pothole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212
Intermountain valley wetlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Intermountain valley wetlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
Irrigation reservoirs > 640 acres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220
Irrigation reservoirs > 640 acres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223
Irrigation reservoirs < 640 acres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223
Irrigation reservoirs < 640 acres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226
High elevation wetlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227


Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following wetland priority species:

Black Tern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 205
Le Conte’s Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211
Yellow-headed Blackbird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .219

Additional wetland species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000).

American White Pelican . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 222
American Bittern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .219
Black-crowned Night-Heron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208
White-faced Ibis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Trumpeter Swan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                        24
May 2004
Clark’s Grebe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Horned Grebe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Common Loon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Transient shorebirds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Piping Plover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199
Black-necked Stilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208
Willet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209
Marbled Godwit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Wilson’s Phalarope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210
Franklin’s Gull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Common Tern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .218
Forster’s Tern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Caspian Tern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .221


                                                  CLIFFS/ROCKS/TALUS

Priority bird species that breed primarily on cliffs, rock outcrops, or talus.

                                                                                     Estimated Continental Target
Species                                         BCR           B_Tier          N_Tier Population Objective  Population
Black Swift                                      10              I.                            ?    1.5               ?
White-throated Swift                             10              I.                         590     2.0          1,200
Rock Wren                                        10            II.a.                     90,000     1.5       140,000
Rock Wren                                        11                                       6,100     1.5          9,200
Rock Wren                                        17                                      54,000     1.5         81,000
Black Rosy-Finch                                 10                I.           I.             ?     ?                ?

State Population Objectives.

Species                                       Statewide population objectives for cliff, rock, or talus species
Black Swift                                   Increase the statewide population. Population numbers are
                                              unavailable at this time.
White-throated Swift                          Double the statewide population from 590 individuals to
                                              1,200 individuals.
Rock Wren                                     Increase the statewide population from 150,000 individuals to
                                              230,000 individuals.
Black Rosy-Finch                              Population numbers are unavailable at this time.

Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has detailed goals, objectives, and
strategies for the following habitats.

None



PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                             25
May 2004
Individual Species Accounts

The Montana Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) has individual species accounts for the
following cliff, rock outcrop, or talus priority species:

Black Swift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 229
Black Rosy-Finch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

Additional cliff, rock outcrop, or talus species covered in the Montana Bird Conservation
Plan (Casey 2000).

Peregrine Falcon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 229
White-tailed Ptarmigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231



                                                 LITERATURE CITED

Casey, D. 2000. Partners in Flight Draft Bird Conservation Plan Montana, Version 1.0.
Montana Partners in Flight.




PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                                                     26
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                                              Appendix A

   Establishing Regional and Local Population Objectives
      to support the Continental Population Objectives
    of the North American Landbird Conservation Plan

Bob Altman, American Bird Conservancy
Northern Pacific Rainforest BCR Coordinator


The Partners in Flight (PIF) North American Landbird Conservation Plan (Continental Plan)
established criteria for setting a Continental Population Objective for each high priority
landbird species. This objective was to be ―stepped-down‖ and applied similarly to smaller-
scales (e.g., Bird Conservation Region [BCR], State) within the range of the species. We
propose that regional (e.g., BCR, Physiographic Area) and/or local (e.g., State) population
objectives not be automatically stepped-down from the continental objective, but be based on
regional and/or local population trends or other factors, with the caveat that regional and
local population objectives across a species range cumulatively support the continental
population objective.

The premise for setting regional and/or locally derived population objectives in addition to
the continental population objective is that the continental objective may not be appropriate
at smaller scales if significant differences are occurring in the species population trends at
those scales, or if there are other local or regional factors that preclude the feasibility of
adopting the continental population objective at those smaller scales. Using regional or
locally-derived population objectives is more biologically and politically justifiable, and
more practical and efficient in directing and prioritizing conservation with limited resources.
Conversely, not basing bird conservation objectives on regional or local science opens land
managers and biologists to criticism and threatens the credibility of the PIF Initiative,
specifically that of the value of population objectives.

Process
The process for establishing regional and/or local population objectives uses available
regional or local population trend data along with consideration of other factors that affect
the potential or appropriateness of a population objective. The process uses available data or
professional knowledge on three factors (below), each of which has to be subjectively
weighed as to its degree of importance to a species to come up with a single numerical
population objective.

Assess Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) or other population trend data. Evaluate BBS or
other trend data that are available at the State or Physiographic Area level. For now, use the
same source (i.e., long-term [1966-2000] BBS trend data) and criteria used in the Continental
Plan:


PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                 27
May 2004
        ● 2.0 – double the species population in the next 30 years for species with a
        population trend score of 5 (i.e., significantly declining at a high rate, e.g., >2.36%
        per year)
        ● 1.5 – increase the species population by 50% in the next 30 years for species with a
        population trend score of 4 (i.e., significantly declining but at a lesser rate than above)
        ● 1.0 – maintain the current population over the next 30 years for all species not
        captured above

Apply any habitat-related factors that affect the potential for meeting a population
objective. All of the factors below may be occurring to some degree for many species, but
for the factor to be considered in this exercise, it should significantly affect a species habitat.
Some examples include the following:
        ● Permanent Habitat Loss. In the last 30-40 years (BBS time period), some habitats,
        particularly those within or at the fringe of developing cities and towns, have been
        significantly affected by permanent habitat loss. For some species, this may be an
        impediment to increasing populations, especially if opportunities for creating new
        habitat are limited. In some places, permanent habitat loss has been calculated, and if
        significant should be considered when establishing a regional population objective.
        ● Projected Future Habitat Loss. There are some habitats, particularly those within or
        at the fringe of developing cities and towns, which will likely suffer significant loss
        with projected population growth. For some species, this may be an impediment to
        increasing or even maintaining populations, especially if opportunities for creating
        new habitat are limited. In some places, future scenarios for population growth have
        been modeled, and the effects on habitats can be quantified. If not, a subjective
        evaluation will have to be made.
        ● Current and Potential Future Habitat Management. Applying this factor requires
        some knowledge of land management policy and politics. One of the best examples
        is when a BBS regional population trend indicates the need to increase or maintain a
        species population, but this conflicts with broader objectives for the habitat that
        species is associated with. This is particularly true for broad-scale habitat restoration
        initiatives (e.g., short-grass prairie, ponderosa pine). The conflicting scenarios
        between the regional BBS trend objective and the habitat initiative objective can
        result in a species continental population objective that is either unrealistic or
        insufficient at the regional scale. Two examples include:
                 • The continental objective to double the population of loggerhead shrikes is
                 not likely to be possible in states where there is an emphasis on restoration of
                 short-grass prairie to historic conditions (e.g., Colorado), because loggerhead
                 shrikes currently use the degraded short-grass prairie.
                 • The continental objective to maintain the population of white-headed
                 woodpecker is insufficient in states where there is an emphasis on restoration
                 of ponderosa pine habitats for species like white-headed woodpecker (e.g.,
                 Idaho, Washington).

Apply any range-wide “political” factors for high priority species. For some relatively
rare or high priority species with significantly declining population trends (e.g., Cerulean
Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Henslow’s Sparrow), it may be appropriate to ignore
regional or local trend data, and apply the continental population objective to double the

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                    28
May 2004
population across the species range (provided the habitat is available or there is sufficient
potential habitat). These species often are ―high profile‖ and there is a sense of conservation
urgency and significant ―political‖ emphasis on their conservation. Thus, it may be
important for these species to consider political factors as drivers of the regional or local
population objectives.

Additional Process Guidance
Establishing regional and/or local population objectives should be done at the same time
throughout the species range to ensure cumulative compatibility with the continental
population objective. The objectives can be drafted by a single individual or group of
individuals, but the rationale for all decisions should be documented and receive review and
agreement by all appropriate partners within the species range and the PIF Science Team.

In working through the process of establishing regional and local objectives across the
species range, it is essential that the continental population objective be the cumulative
target. Deficiencies and opportunities to meet that objective within regional and/or local
scales of the species range can be quantitatively calculated to ensure the continental target is
met.

There may be some species, where after completely evaluating population trends and issues
related to habitat across the range of the species, it is apparent that the continental population
objective cannot be met. An example would be for species where the habitat loss has been so
pervasive and permanent that there is minimal or no opportunity for restoration. In these
instances, regional and/or local objectives should be established that best reflect the
opportunities at those scales, and these should be stepped-up to establish a new continental
objective in conjunction with the PIF Science Team.

                          Pacific-slope Flycatcher: An Example

The Pacific-slope Flycatcher, a Species of Continental Importance in the Continental Plan,
provides a good example of the need for regional or local population objectives because of
significant differences in population trend occurring across its range. Additionally, Pacific-
slope Flycatcher is well-monitored by BBS protocol (highly distinctive with peak
vocalization in June), and is common enough to be well-surveyed with good sample sizes in
most sub-units of its range (e.g., physiographic areas, states/provinces). Thus, there is good
coverage and confidence in the BBS trend data.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher BBS Population Trends
High confidence BBS trend data are available for Pacific-slope Flycatcher at continental,
national, BCR, and most Physiographic Areas within the species range (Table 1). The
following Physiographic Areas occur as subunits within two of the three BCRs in which
Pacific-slope Flycatcher occurs:
        ● BCR 5 Northern Pacific Rainforests Bird Conservation Region
               • Northern Pacific Rainforests Physiographic Area
               • Southern Pacific Rainforests Physiographic Area
        ● BCR 32 Coastal California Bird Conservation Region
               • Southern California Ranges Physiographic Area

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                   29
May 2004
                 • California Foothills Physiographic Area

Additionally, state/province trends for Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and British Columbia
can be used because the species range is entirely within BCR 5 for these states provinces.
(Note: This required an arbitrary decision to exclude a few small populations of the ―western
flycatcher complex‖ outside this area because there is debate about their species status).

Table 1. Pacific-slope Flycatcher Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) population trends at
several scales.

   Years               1966-2002                 1966-1980               1980-2002
Location       Trend         P        n     Trend     P       n     Trend     P        n
CONT          -0.4 (h)    0.46     416      -1.0    0.34 142        -0.7   0.18      382
 US           -1.3 (h)    0.02     351      -1.6    0.13 116        -1.1   0.04      325
 CAN          2.3 (h)     0.04     65       8.1     0.20 26         0.3    0.79      57
  BCR 5       -0.6 (h)    0.52     116      -1.8    0.23 56         -1.2   0.11      111
   NPR        3.0 (h)     0.03     25       6.1     0.46 12         0.4    0.79      22
     AK
     BC       2.2 (h)     0.05     61       8.1     0.19 26         0.3    0.77      53
   SPR        -2.5 (h) 0.01        71       -2.3    0.13 39         -2.4   0.00      70
     CAS      -0.9 (h)    0.30     25       -0.4    0.96 7          -1.2   0.29      23
     WL       2.9 (l)     0.66     6        7.2     0.82 2          4.3    0.26      6
     WA       -2.1 (h)    0.23     52       0.4     0.90 19         -2.2   0.00      49
     OR       -3.1 (h)    0.04     57       -3.1    0.41 18         -3.3   0.08      54
  BCR 32      -0.3 (h)    0.77     54       -0.3    0.92 30         -0.5   0.72      48
   SCR        27.4 (l)    0.08     5        39.0    0.09 3          29.9   0.10      4
   CF         0.3 (h)     0.87     45       -0.4    0.88 26         0.4    0.83      42
  BCR 15      3.1 (h)     0.20     18       3.6     0.85 7          0.9    0.83      17
   SN         0.4 (l)     0.87     12       -4.7    0.74 6          -2.7   0.32      11
  CAL         -0.5 (h)    0.52     101      -2.0    0.08 60         -0.5   0.50      91
(h) = high confidence in the trend; (l) = low confidence in the trend

Highly significant declining trend              P <0.01
Moderately significant declining trend          P = 0.01-0.05
Significantly declining trend                   P = 0.05-0.10
Moderately significant increasing trend         P = 0.01-0.05

CONT = Continental
 US = United States
 CAN = Canada
  BCR 5 = Northern Pacific Rainforest Bird Conservation Region
   NPR = Northern Pacific Rainforests Physiographic Area
   SPR = Southern Pacific Rainforests Physiographic Area
   CAS = Cascades Physiographic Area
   WL = Willamette Lowlands Physiographic Area
   BC = British Columbia

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    WA = Washington
    OR = Oregon
    AK = Alaska
   BCR 32 = Coastal California
    SCR = Southern California Ranges
    CF = Coastal Foothills
   BCR 15 = Sierra Nevada Bird Conservation Region
    SN = Sierra Nevada Physiographic Area

Establishing Regional and Local Population Objectives for Pacific-slope Flycatcher
There are no known issues related to habitat or politics (see Process above) that would affect
the potential for meeting regional population objectives for Pacific-slope Flycatcher. For
example, there is no broad-scale regional objective for habitat management that conflicts
with Pacific-slope Flycatcher habitat associations. A high percent of its habitat is on
managed public land or industrial forest land where management can occur to support its
habitat associations. Thus, population trend data, which is adequate, provides the best tool
for setting regional and/or local population objectives.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher has contrasting BBS population trends within its range. In
California, the statewide population trend and the trend in all subunits are relatively stable
with no statistically significant trends at any scale (except for a low confidence, small sample
size significant increase in the Southern Coastal Ranges). In western Oregon and
Washington (and perhaps northwestern California) there are significantly declining trends.
The opposite is occurring in British Columbia, where there is a significantly increasing trend.

The Continental Population Objective for Pacific-slope Flycatcher is 1.0 (maintain current
levels) based on the non-significant continental BBS trend. However, spatial differences in
population trend quickly appear at the next level (i.e., national) with significantly increasing
trends in Canada and significantly decreasing trends in the United States. The Continental
Objective to maintain current population levels is appropriate within BCRs 32 and 15 and all
the subunits therein because of non-significant BBS trends.

For BCR 5, which includes both Canada and the United States, the Continental Objective to
maintain current population levels is appropriate because the trend is non-significant,
although there is a nearly significant recent (1980-2002) declining trend for BCR 5 (p = 0.11)
that bears watching and indicates the BCR-level population may be on a declining trajectory.
Within BCR 5, there are both significantly declining and increasing trends in multiple
subunits that would warrant different population objectives. A Regional Objective of 1.0 to
maintain the current population is appropriate in British Columbia and Alaska because of the
significantly increasing population trends at the Physiographic, Province, and State (?) scales.
However, significantly decreasing trends at the Physiographic Area scale that covers
Washington, Oregon, and northwestern California, and at the State scale for Oregon warrants
objectives to increase the population. Because of overlap in the coverage of some of those
subunits, the Continental Plan objective setting rules were modified, and California and
Washington within BCR 5 were assigned a regional population objective of 1.5 because they
are within and apparently contributing to the Southern Pacific Rainforest Physiographic Area
significantly declining trend, but don’t warrant a 2.0 objective because at the State level they

PIF Priorities and Objectives Defined at the State and BCR Level: Montana                 31
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don’t have population trends with a score of 5. However, the recent (1980-2202)
significantly declining trend in Washington is likely putting that subunit on a trajectory of a
population objective of 2.0. Our recommendations for Regional Population Objectives for
Pacific-slope Flycatcher are:
        ● BCR 5 Northern Pacific Rainforest – 1.0
                • BCR 5 California – 1.5
                • BCR 5 Oregon – 2.0
                • BCR 5 Washington – 1.5
                • BCR 5 British Columbia – 1.0
                • BCR 5 Alaska – 1.0
        ● BCR 32 Coastal California – 1.0
        ● BCR 15 Sierra Nevada – 1.0

If implemented, these recommendations would exceed the continental objective to maintain
the population. We feel the objectives to increase the population in northwestern California,
Oregon, and Washington, and thus exceed the continental objective are appropriate. Inaction
in those states, simply because the continental objective is to maintain the population, would
be to ignore not only a potential problem with the species in those states, but also potentially
a problem with a habitat(s) type or habitat conditions within the type.

Planning to Meet the Objectives
Implementation of the population objectives for this and all species should be done within the
context of a regional plan for all priority species. This is likely to be driven by the
conservation needs of the highest priority species first, followed by an assessment of what, if
anything, is needed to meet the habitat needs of the remaining priority species. Thus, our
example species, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, may or may not be driving the planning process,
but if not, would still be part of a regional plan to meet population objectives for priority
species.

Planning to meet the regional population objectives is most likely to be a habitat-driven
process that sets specific quantitative habitat objectives for priority or suites of priority birds.
The process will require use of both population estimates (see PIF Continental Plan) and
population objectives, along with GIS-based modeling. A description of the process is
beyond the scope of this paper, but there is considerable interest and momentum to conduct
this work. Regionally-driven population objectives as described in this paper will be one of
the essential components of the planning process.




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