Membership in this Committee is limited to amateur and professional ornithologists with representation from around the state. This Committee produced "Chapter 5 - Birds" in Species of Special Concern in Pennsylvania. Members include college professors, museum curators, private consultants, non-profit conservation organization biologists, state employees, skilled amateur ornithologists, and state and federal biologists.
Since 1986, the major objective of the OTC has been the revision of the list of Special Concern Birds. The revised Endangered and Threatened species list was formally adopted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1990. A number of standing and ad hoc committees reflect the current activities of the OTC: (1) Species Status - a subcommittee that evaluates proposals to add, delete, or change the designated status of the state's special concern girds; (2) Bird Checklist - an ad hoc committee formed to develop and publish an annotated checklist of Pennsylvania's birds; (3) PGC Advisory - a subcommittee that develops agenda items for an annual meeting with the Game Commission consonant with the directions of a joint PGC/PABS Memorandum of Understanding (signed November 6, 1989); (4) A Biodiversity Subcommittee was formed to develop the ornithological content for the PABS Biodiversity 2000 Project; and (5) the Records Committee developed an official state bird list in 1991, and evaluates the authenticity of rare bird sightings.
The OTC serves as the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Important Bird Areas, a bird habitat conservation project administered by the National Audubon Society. For the list of 85 PA IBA sites, see the map on the NAS web site (http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/page9.html). A copy of the PA Important Bird Areas book can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Audubon Society 717-213-6880.
The Ornithological Technical Committee members are:
- Charles Bier
- Margaret Brittingham (Chair)
- Rob Criswell
- Laurie Goodrich
- Doug Gross
- Denise Johnson
- Todd Katzner
- Matt Marshall
- Terry Master (Secretary/Treasurer)
- Bob Mulvihill
- Brad Nelson
- Bob Ross
- Aura Stauffer
- Kim Vanfleet
photograph courtesy of Merlin Benner
BIRDS: REVIEW OF
STATUS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Douglas A. Gross
Ecology III, Inc.
Since the advent of the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds in 1932, birdwatching has grown as a popular avocation across a broad spectrum of American society. As a result, public participation in the study of birds is enthusiastic and considerable. Volunteers are critical to the success of bird inventory and monitoring efforts.
Many bird observers (or "birders") that engage in friendly competition to find rare birds have increased our understanding of Pennsylvania's bird diversity. The great dispersal ability of birds provides many opportunities to observe species that are peripheral to the state or visit it only occasionally. The taxonomy also has changed, adding species formerly considered subspecies. The American Ornithological Union (AOU) has split several species in recent years, adding to the potential state list (AOU 1983, 1997). The Official List of Pennsylvania Birds (Appendix) is maintained by the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (PORC), a subcommittee of the Ornithological Technical Committee (OTC). The high level of documentation necessary for verifying rare birds gives credibility to the state list (Kwater 1994).
Observers have identified 394 wild bird species in Pennsylvania (AOU 1997, Pulcinella 1997). The Official Pennsylvania Bird List, as of June 1997, is presented in the Appendix. This includes 186 species that regularly nest in the state and others that are winter residents, transients, or occasional visitors. At least 20 species have a history of nesting occasionally in the state, but have not been documented nesting in recent years with regularity. The high mobility and resourcefulness of birds make it difficult to make concrete classifications of species. State lists and categorizations are dynamic by nature.
Five of Pennsylvania's native bird species are presumed to be extirpated as breeding species: greater prairie-chicken, piping plover, olive-sided flycatcher, Bewick's wren, and Bachman's sparrow (scientific names are given in Appendix). Only one nesting species, the passenger pigeon, is known to be extinct. The common tern has not nested successfully in the state for several years, but attempted to nest at Presque Isle as late as 1995. Of those species never known to nest in Pennsylvania, the Eskimo curlew and the brown-headed nuthatch are extirpated, and the Carolina parakeet is extinct. These 3 species were regular migrants or occasional visitors to what is now Pennsylvania.
The OTC proposes the list of Endangered and Threatened birds to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), and the OTC and PGC list only species that breed regularly in the state. As of December 1997, the OTC has proposed 11 species as Endangered in the state: American bittern, least bittern, great egret, yellow-crowned night-heron, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, king rail, common tern, black tern, short-eared owl, and loggerhead shrike. Another 5 species are proposed as Threatened: osprey, upland sandpiper, yellow-bellied flycatcher, sedge wren, and dickcissel. Only 2 Pennsylvania breeding bird species are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act: peregrine falcon is Endangered and bald eagle is Threatened.
The OTC also lists Candidates to the Pennsylvania Endangered and Threatened bird species list. The Breeding Bird Species of Special Concern list (SSC) comprises the Endangered and Threatened species list and the Candidates to that list. It includes only species with a regular history of nesting in the state. The Candidate list has no legal authority, but serves as an indication of species that deserve attention for inventory, management, research, and conservation efforts. Most Candidate species have declining or low populations that merit concern for their continued existence in the state. The status and reasons for listing these species are reviewed in a paper written by the OTC members (Brauning et al. 1994). Fifty-six percent of the SSC list are wetland obligates and an even higher percentage of these species use wetlands a significant part of their life cycle (Brooks and Croonquist 1990). Most birds on the SSC list are relatively large with substantial feeding ranges or specialized foraging or nesting requirements. Many SSC birds need extra efforts for population monitoring and are not currently tracked for population trends by standardized surveys.
There have been many attempts to introduce exotic birds in the state, especially by sportsmen and those who emulated European birdlife. However, only 5 exotic bird species regularly nest in Pennsylvania. Three of these are abundant and widespread pests: rock dove (pigeon), European starling, and house sparrow. The remaining exotics are mute swan, an ornamental waterfowl, and ring-necked pheasant, an upland gamebird. Starlings and house sparrows compete with native birds for cavities and prey on eggs and nestlings. Mute swans can alter wetlands to the disadvantage of native waterfowl and other water birds.
There are many factors that have decreased the number and diversity of Pennsylvania's birds, but the loss of habitat has been the most pervasive and persistent cause of population declines. The birds on the SSC list include species occupying ecosystems that are diminishing in Pennsylvania. This is especially true of wetlands. It is estimated that since 1790, Pennsylvania has lost 56% of its wetlands (Dahl 1990). The decrease in the number, size, and variety of wetlands has had a strong negative effect on Pennsylvania's bird diversity, including birds that migrate through or winter in the state. The large-scale loss of wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic states has far-reaching negative consequencies for a wide variety of birds including those currently considered rare in the state (Tiner 1987). Many marshes and bogs have been either destroyed or flooded by impoundments. The decline in the number and size of emergent wetlands has had the greatest effect on king rail and other species that prefer extensive marshy areas (Brauning 1992). The ranges of species such as American bittern and common snipe have become diminished and fragmented as a result of wetland destruction. Some wetland-associated species, such as the least bittern, black tern, and sedge wren, have narrow habitat requirements. These species will be adversely affected by the loss of the state's wetlands (Schneider and Pence 1992). The loss of emergent wetlands is one of the greatest factors in the decrease in Pennsylvania's bird diversity and the cause of the decline of many of its most imperiled species.
Some species of special concern such as the black-crowned night-heron, the bald eagle, and the yellow-bellied flycatcher, depend on a mixture of wetlands and forest. Black-crowned night-herons nest in trees on islands and along lowland streams; dams flood nesting and foraging areas, whereas development reduces riparian woods where they nest. Bald eagles select large-scale riparian or wetland areas with tree cover and limited human activity. Yellow-bellied flycatchers nest in the deep sphagnum moss of forested peatlands with a high density of ground cover and shrub/sapling sub-canopy (D.A. Gross, unpubl. data).
Since early this century, birds associated with conifer forests and swamps have declined in number. For instance, the olive-sided flycatcher, once readily found in high elevation and northern forests, has not been known to nest in Pennsylvania for several decades. Red crossbills nest in the state only occasionally. Timber practices, pests, and diseases have diminished the state's conifer forests. There has been some recovery of populations but not as much as has been experienced by birds which favor deciduous forests. This is also true of conifer swamps found on high plateaus. Timbering, impoundments, development, and peat mining have reduced the habitat available to this and other conifer swamp birds. It has been found, however, that conifer swamps and forests can recover from considerable human effects and support rare breeding species such as yellow-bellied flycatcher and blackpoll warbler along with their more common associates.
Most bird populations in the deciduous forest are relatively healthy compared to the period of massive cutting in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There is, however, some evidence for declines in species that overwinter in neotropical forests. Most of these species are forest-area sensitive birds and may be declining due to nest predation, social parasitism, and habitat destruction that accompanies forest fragmentation. The productivity of common birds such as wood thrush and ovenbird can be severely hampered by the fragmentation of forest into small blocks easily invaded by nest predators (Porzeluni et al. 1993, Hoover et al. 1995). Research with ovenbirds reveals that leaf litter, forest core size, and other parameters may have significant effects on food abundance and other aspects of habitat quality which affect reproductive success (Burke and Nol 1998). Habitat factors are complex and multi-dimensional, not lending themselves to simple or short-term study. Forest health may be a serious factor for the continued population size and reproduction of the state's forest-dependent birds.
The Commonwealth has a relatively large percentage of forest birds in the Northeast, including scarlet tanager, worm-eating warbler, and wood thrush (Rosenberg and Wells 1995). Recent research has indicated that some species like brown creeper, Swainson's thrush (Candidate-Rare), magnolia warbler, blackburnian warbler, and black-throated green warbler have high densities and productivity in old growth forests (Haney 1996). The economic value of the state's forests will force greater cutting pressure than in the recent past. Some forest management practices benefit bird species typical of early successional forest, at least in the short term, to the detriment of forest interior species (Brittingham 1989, Yahner 1997). Some of the early successional forest species have declined regionally apparently because of forest maturization (Hagan 1993). It remains to be seen whether the state can maintain its preeminence as a home to forest birds in the future. Historically, some of Pennsylvania's birds were lost or their populations reduced from over hunting. Populations of upland sandpiper, piping plover, and wild turkey were severely affected by over hunting in the 19th century, but modern wildlife management practices brought some species, such as the wild turkey, back from the brink of extinction. Others, like the Eskimo curlew, have not fared as well. The extinction of the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird on the continent, is often cited as evidence for the toll that unrestricted market hunting had on our wildlife populations, but large-scale habitat destruction may also have been a major factor in its demise. The passenger pigeon may have been dependent on old growth forests with their great mast production and massive nest-supporting trees (Bucher 1992).
Bird populations have shown some resilience to human alterations to native ecosystems. The passenger pigeon may be the exception to the rule, but also serves as a reminder of how abundant species can disappear at a confounding rate. Most birds have reestablished populations where human-altered habitat was allowed to recover most of its natural attributes.
INVENTORY AND MONITORING METHODS
Birds and other charismatic vertebrates act as umbrella species for the protection of organisms with less popular appeal. Since bird populations depend on the health and diversity of their habitats, when we monitor birds we also monitor the health of our native ecosystems. There are several current standardized methods for inventorying and monitoring birds in Pennsylvania, each with their strengths and uses. The major ongoing bird inventory and monitoring programs are summarized in Table 1.
The Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas (1983-1989) provided a foundation for current knowledge of the state's nesting birds and a basis for selecting the Pennsylvania Breeding Birds of Special Concern, including Endangered and Threatened species (Brauning 1992). If inventories are snapshots and monitoring programs are videos of biodiversity, then the Atlas was a picture taken with the shutter held down for 7 years. The Atlas used a grid of blocks based on the US Geological Survey topographic maps, dividing each quadrant into 6 blocks for a total of 4,928 blocks in the state. Atlas maps provided distribution maps with a finer definition than any previous effort and revised the ranges of several species. Common merganser, yellow-bellied sapsucker, common raven, and yellow -rumped warbler are examples of birds with larger documented ranges in the state as a result of the Atlas.
The Atlas united, focused, and enlivened the state’s birding community as never before. This unity persists in the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology (PSO) and the state's bird journal, Pennsylvania Birds. Through correspondence with Pennsylvania Birds, hundreds of birders report phenological data, population extremes, and rare bird occurrences.
Various census techniques provide estimates of population size and trend. The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) administrated by the Biological Resources Division of the US Geological Survey (formerly part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service) is the primary source of quantitative breeding population data (Robbins, Bystrak, and Geissler 1986). Over 90 routes are run by volunteers each year. Each route has 50 stops spaced at 0.5 mile intervals. Participation is somewhat limited by the high skill level required to run routes. BBS routes yield frequency and abundance data for each species which are used to measure trends over time. Ecological groups of birds can be sorted for analysis of habitat- or trophic-related changes in bird populations. BBS route data can also be mapped for geographical abundance analyses that supplement Atlas distribution maps. BBS data are now posted on the World Wide Web, allowing wide use of this valuable data (Sauer et al. 1997).
Other inventory and monitoring methods provide data on breeding birds and locations that are not served well by the BBS. The Breeding Bird Census (BBC) provides high-quality bird density data at off-road study plots (I.B.C.C. 1970, Lowe 1996). BBCs are intensive and time-demanding (at least eight trips each season), but produce breeding bird density data at discrete locations with fairly uniform habitat. The strip-map census method has been used successfully on a small scale to obtain songbird population data (Emlen 1984).
Table 1. Pennsylvania bird inventory and monitoring programs.
Expertise Number of Expertise Number of
Project Name Contact* Season Level Locations
Birds in Forested Landscapes CLO Breeding High New
Breeding Bird Atlas PGC Breeding Variable Inactive
Breeding Bird Census CLO Breeding High < 10
Breeding Bird Survey BRD Breeding High > 90
Cavity Nester PGC Breeding Low > 10
Christmas Bird Count NAS Winter Medium > 40
Colonial Bird Survey PGC Breeding Low > 50
Grassland Survey PGC Breeding Medium 40
Internatl. Migratory Bird Day ABC Migration Medium > 30
Monitoring Avian Productivity IBP Breeding High < 5
Nest Record Cards CLO Breeding Medium Variable
Project Feederwatch CLO Winter Medium > 20
Project Tanager CLO Breeding Medium > 20
Raptor Migration HMA Migration Medium > 10
Shorebird Survey MBO Migration High < 10
Special Areas Project PSO All Year Medium > 80
Wetland Bird Survey PGC Breeding Medium 5
Winter Bird Census CLO Winter Medium Variable
* Contacts / Sponsoring Organizations: BRD - Biological Resources Division of the Department of the Interior; CLO - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; HMA - Hawk Migration Association; IBP - Institute for Bird Population; MBO - Manomet Bird Observatory; NAS - National Audubon Society; PGC - Pennsylvania Game Commission; PSO - Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology population data (Emlen 1984).
Pennsylvania has a tradition of participation in the Cavity Nester Survey and Colonial Bird Registry that also provide population data on specific groups of birds. The Wetland Bird Survey is a new method directed at a habitat that is poorly surveyed. The Pennsylvania Game Commission maintains records on breeding success of selected Endangered and Threatened species and annual monitoring of colonial waterbirds.
The PSO Special Areas Project (SAP) has inventoried over 80 management areas on public lands with various levels of detail (Gross 1991, and subsequent Raven Reporter columns in the PSO Newsletter). Most SAPs are conducted in State Parks, Game Lands, or Natural Areas. Volunteers count birds during each visit and record evidence of breeding. SAP volunteers obtain data on baseline relative abundance, seasonal occurrence, and breeding status. SAP data will be used to produce checklists for educational and management purposes. Its relative ease and straight forward design introduces birders to quantitative surveys.
The lack of demographic data is perhaps the biggest gap in knowledge about Pennsylvania birds. Nesting productivity data are lacking for most species. National programs like Nest Record Cards, Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS), and Breeding Bird Inventory (BBIRD) have limited participation in the state. MAPS and BBIRD require intense participation and training (DeSante 1991, Martin 1994). Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has launched a series of "Citizen Science" programs that organize volunteers to collect bird data that partially fill these gaps. Project Tanager is commendable because it includes a quantitative habitat component to bird population study. The Birds in Forested Landscapes is an expansion of Project Tanager that includes forest thrushes and hawks in location-specific surveys (Intemann 1997, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology 1997).
Outside the breeding season, there are several programs which inventory or monitor birds in migration. Our state is world-famous for its annual hawk flights. The Hawk Migration Association coordinates several hawk watch sites along raptor migration corridors. These hawk watches were inspired by Hawk Mountain, a world leader in raptor inventory, monitoring, education, and conservation. Many birders cite their first trip to Hawk Mountain as their inspiration to a lifetime commitment to bird study. Hundreds of birders participate in the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, the primary winter bird population census. Project Feederwatch and the International Migratory Bird Day are very popular methods for introducing more people to volunteer projects. A few dedicated individuals monitor plovers and sandpipers in the International Shorebird Surveys. In a program parallel to the BBC, Winter Bird Censuses provide data.
Table 2. Pennsylvania breeding birds in need of systematic surveys.
These birds are not well covered by standard population monitoring programs. Other species with similar characteristics are also under-represented by current monitoring efforts. There is a need to invent new techniques and make extra efforts to inventory and monitor these birds who often represent diminished habitats or suites of Threatened species.
Species PA Status Reasons for Inadequate Coverage
pied-billed grebe; Candidate-Rare Large-scale wetlands; shy, secretive
American bittern Endangered Large-scale wetlands; shy, elusive
least bittern Endangered Densely vegetated wetlands; shy, elusive
green-winged teal Candidate-Rare Densely vegetated wetlands; quiet, elusive
northern shoveler Secure Erratic breeder in protected wetlands
American wigeon Secure Large-scale protected wetlands
hooded merganser Secure Unpolluted swamps and ponds; elusive
ruddy duck Secure Large-scale wetlands; elusive
northern harrier Cand.-At Risk Large-scale wetlands and grasslands
sharp-shinned hawk Secure Large-scale forests, off-road areas; secretive
Cooper's hawk Secure Large-scale forests, off-road areas; secretive
northern goshawk Candidate-Rare Large-scale forests; remote areas; secretive
red-shouldered hawk Secure Large forests and swamps; elusive
black rail Secure Marshes; secretive and elusive, calls at night
king rail Endangered Large protected marshes; secretive
Virginia rail Secure Marshes, off-road wetlands
sora Secure Marshes, off-road wetlands
common moorhen Secure Large-scale wetlands, off-road areas
American coot Candidate-Rare Large-scale wetlands, off-road areas
spotted sandpiper Secure Streams away from roads; non-vocal
upland sandpiper Threatened Grasslands, off-road reclaimed strip mines
common snipe Candidate-Rare Large peatlands, off-road wetlands; elusive
black tern Endangered Large marshes, remote off-road wetlands
barn owl Cand.- At Risk Private holdings away from roads; nocturnal
barred owl Secure Large-scale forests, remote areas; nocturnal
long-eared owl Cand.-Undet. Forests; nocturnal, secretive, early season
short-eared owl Endangered Large wetlands and grasslands; secretive
n. saw-whet owl Cand.-Undet. Remote areas; nocturnal, short calling season
common nighthawk Secure Urban or remote areas; crepuscular, nocturnal
(Peripheral) Localized distribution; nocturnal
whip-poor-will Secure Nocturnal; calling season limited; off-road
yellow-bellied Threatened Remote areas; quiet, identification flycatcher problems
Swainson's thrush Candidate-Rare Large-scale forests, remote, off-road areas
sedge wren Threatened Large marshes, grasslands; erratic; late season
marsh wren Candidate-Rare Large marshes, off road locations; elusive
loggerhead shrike Endangered Scattered distribution; private lands
Nashville warbler Secure Low density, widely distributed, specialized habitat
prothonotary warbler Candidate-Rare Swamps, off-road areas
n. waterthrush Secure Northern forested wetlands
Henslow's sparrow Secure Grasslands, reclaimed strip mines; clustered
red crossbill Cand.-Undet. Remote forests; odd breeding season, erratic
on densities of birds that can be used for winter population trend analysis for specific locations (Lowe 1996).
Many Pennsylvania breeding birds are discussed in Partners In Flight working groups and the OTC because of the lack of quantitative data to assess population levels and trends (Table 2). It is difficult to understand management and conservation needs of species or guilds if basic population information is lacking. Although the list is long, common threads unite several species of different legal and taxonomic categories. There are 2 main sources of sample deficiency: (1) The birds use habitats that are not easily accessed by humans (off-road, large-scale, or physically difficult to travel), and (2) the birds are elusive, quiet, or detectable for only a limited time. The OTC emphasizes the need to inventory large-scale wetlands, including protected ones, and remote forest-interior areas. Knowledge of the bald eagle, osprey, yellow-bellied flycatcher, and loggerhead shrike has greatly increased in recent years because they have received concentrated attention as part of funded research or recovery projects. Other species would benefit from supported inventory and monitoring efforts, including those that are part of research projects.
One of the greatest challenges is to "read between the lines" of the BBS routes in space and time in order to obtain baseline population and trends for species not well served by diurnal road routes. Birds that are secretive, nocturnal, or inhabit areas that are generally inaccessible are poorly represented by the BBS and other popular methods. This includes species of large wetlands, islands, and deep forests. Species with spotty distributions are also poorly studied. A list of species that need more inventory and monitoring efforts (Table 2) includes many Species of Special Concern (SSC) birds.
The point count has become a popular monitoring method for land birds. It is especially useful in forested areas both on and off-roads (Ralph et al. 1993). Point counts are being conducted in the Allegheny National Forest to monitor bird populations (B. Nelson, US Forest Service, pers. comm.), but there are few examples of this technique being used for documenting bird populations in a continuous monitoring program. The birding public is probably more familiar with this technique than it realizes; the BBS could be said to be a point-count on wheels. Mini-routes were used to rapidly survey birds in Atlas blocks, but could also provide abundance data on a finer scale than is now available (Robbins 1996). Variations of the point-count and mini-route method could be adopted to address particular gaps in our knowledge of bird populations and ranges.
It is difficult for ornithologists and ecologists to link bird abundance, trends, and productivity with habitat since there is little or no habitat component to most bird monitoring programs. This information gap should be addressed in future bird monitoring programs and some current ones.
In spite of their appeal, nocturnal birds are among the most poorly known. Some projects have used tape-playback to inventory owls and nightjars (Cooper 1981, Morell et al. 1991, Brinker 1992), but examples are few and discontinuous. It has been suggested that the Calling-Amphibian Survey (Mac 1996) might be adopted for a broad-based, low-impact nocturnal breeding bird survey technique. Standardized techniques with duplicatable protocol would allow distribution and trend analyses of some night birds that are now conducted with diurnal songbirds.
The SSC list is replete with examples of birds poorly monitored due to their habitat or behavior. Species that are quiet in summer months when BBS routes are run are under-represented by this survey. The early breeding season of many species makes them difficult targets for birders who devote time during summer months to breeding bird projects. The sedge wren's erratic movements and breeding make it a particularly difficult species for censusing. A few species like the barn owl are evasive not only because they are noctural but they generally use private lands not easily accessible to volunteers. The dense vegetation and inaccessibility of wetlands prevent detection of a wide variety of birds by humans. Rails are notoriously difficult to census because of their secretive manner and inaccessible habitat. Herons and egrets usually nest on islands, often out-of-sight from roads. Without concerted efforts, most uncommon ducks are not easily observed during the breeding season. Most of the waterfowl species in Table 2 would also be listed on the SSC if they had a documented regular pattern of nesting in the state. Inventory and monitoring programs for a variety of wetland birds should be considered a high priority for future ornithological censusing. Programs directed at target species and locations should be implemented to document breeding activity or lack of it in the state's remaining wetlands.
There are many methods for inventorying and monitoring birds not mentioned here which might be useful for academic classes or biomonitoring projects. Some of the most useful standard methods are described in texts such as Bird Census Techniques (Bibby et al. 1992) and the Handbook of Field Methods for Monitoring Landbirds (Ralph et al. 1993).
This chapter has grown out of discussions held by the Ornithological Technical Committee and Inventory - Monitoring Committee of the Pennsylvania Partners In Flight. The Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee is responsible for the state bird list and deserves our gratitude for its work. I thank all members of these groups for providing information on which this paper is based, and for their unselfish dedication to Pennsylvania ornithology. The errors and omissions found here are my responsibility, not theirs. I am particularly grateful to Dan Brauning for providing early drafts of the Appendix and Table 1. R.H. Yahner, D. Brauning, and G. L. Storm improved this paper by reviewing it.
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Schneider, K.J., and D.M. Pence. 1992. Migratory nongame birds of management concern in the Northeast. U.S. Dept. Inter., Fish and Wildl. Serv. Region 5, Newton Corner, Mass.
Tiner, R.W., Jr. 1987. Mid-Atlantic wetlands: A disappearing natural treasure. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Env. Prot. Agency. Wash. D.C.
Yahner, R.H. 1997.
Long-term dynamics of bird communities in a managed forested landscape.
Wilson Bull. 109:595-613.
Official list of the birds of Pennsylvania as of June 1997
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Status||SSC|
|red-throated loon||Gavia stellata||N|
|Pacific loon||Gavia pacifica||A|
|common loon||Gavia immer||N|
|pied-billed grebe||polilymbus podiceps||B||R|
|horned grebe||Podiceps auritus||N|
|red-necked grebe||Podiceps grisegena||N|
|eared grebe||Podiceps nigricollis||N|
|northern fulmar||Fulmarus glacialis||A|
|black-capped petrel||Pterodroma hasitata||A|
|Leach's storm petrel||Oceanodroma leucorhoa||A|
|northern gannet||Sula bassanus||A|
|American white pelican||Pelecanus erythrorhynchos||A|
|brown pelican||Pelecanus occidentalis||A|
|great cormorant||Phalacrocorax carbo||A|
|double-crested cormorant||Phalacrocorax auritus||I|
|magnificent frigatebird||Frigata magnificens||A|
|American bittern||Botaurus lentiginosus||B||E|
|least bittern||Ixobrychus exilis||B||E|
|great blue heron||Ardea herodias||B|
|great egret||Ardea alba||B||E|
|snowy egret||Egretta thula||B||A|
|little blue heron||Egretta caerulea||N|
|tricolored heron||Egretta tricolor||N|
|cattle egret||Bubulcus ibis||I|
|green heron||Butorides virescens||B|
|black-crowned night-heron||Nycticorax nycticorax||B||A|
|yellow-crowned night-heron||Nyctanassa violacea||B||E|
|white ibis||Eudocimus albus||A|
|glossy ibis||Plegadis falcinellus||N|
|wood stork||Mycteria americana||A|
|black vulture||Coragyps atratus||B|
|turkey vulture||Cathartes aura||B|
|black-bellied whistling duck||Dendrocygna autumnalis>||A|
|tundra swan||Cygnus columbianus||N|
|mute swan||Cygnus olor||B||O|
|greater white-fronted goose||Anser albifrons||N|
|snow goose||Chen caerulescens||N|
|Ross' goose||Chen rossii||N|
|Canada goose||Branta canadensis||B|
|wood duck||Aix sponsa||B|
|green-winged teal||Anas crecca||B||R|
|American black duck||Anas rubripes||B|
|northern pintail||Anas acuta||B|
|blue-winged teal||Anas discors||B|
|cinnamon teal||Anas cyanoptera||A|
|northern shoveler||Anas clepeata||N|
|Eurasian wigeon||Anas penelope||N|
|American wigeon||Anas americana||N|
|ring-necked duck||Aythya collaris||N|
|tufted duck||Aythya fuligula||A|
|greater scaup||Aythya marila||N|
|lesser scaup||Aythya affinis||N|
|king eider||Somateria spectabilis||A|
|harlequin duck||Histrionicus histrionicus||A|
|black scoter||Melanitta nigra||N|
|surf scoter||Melanitta perspicillata||N|
|white-winged scoter||Melanitta fusca||N|
|common goldeneye||Bucephala clangula||N|
|Barrow's goldeneye||Bucephala islandica||A|
|hooded merganser||Lophodytes cucullatus||B|
|common merganser||Mergus merganser||B|
|red-breasted merganser||Mergus serrator||N|
|ruddy duck||Oxyura jamaicensis||B|
|masked duck||Oxyura dominica||A|
|swallow-tailed kite||Elanoides forficatus||A|
|Mississippi kite||Ictinia mississippiensis||A|
|bald eagle||Haliaeetus leucocephalus||B||E|
|northern harrier||Circus cyaneus||B||A|
|sharp-shinned hawk||Accipiter striatus||B|
|Cooper's hawk||Accipiter cooperii||B|
|northern goshawk||Accipiter gentilis||B||R|
|red-shouldered hawk||Buteo lineatus||B|
|broad-winged hawk||Buteo platypterus||B|
|Swainson's hawk||Buteo swainsoni||N|
|red-tailed hawk||Buteo jamaicensis||B|
|rough-legged hawk||Buteo lagopus||N|
|golden eagle||Aquila chrysaetos||N|
|American kestrel||Falco sparverius||B|
|peregrine falcon||Falco peregrinus||B|
|ring-necked pheasant||Phasianus colchicus||B||O|
|ruffed grouse||Bonasa umbellus||B|
|greater prairie-chicken||Tympanuchus cupido||X|
|wild turkey||Meleagris gallapavo||B|
|northern bobwhite||Colinus virginianus||B||R|
|yellow rail||Coturnicops noveboracensis||A|
|black rail||Laterallus jamaicensis||A|
|clapper rail||Rallus longirostris||A|
|king rail||Rallus elegans||B||E|
|Virginia rail||Rallus limicola||B|
|spotted rail||Pardirallus maculatus||A|
|purple gallinule||Porphyrula martinica||A|
|common moorhen||Gallinula chloropus||B|
|America coot||Fulica americana||B||R|
|sandhill crane||Grus canadensis||B|
|black-bellied plover||Pluvialis squatarola||N|
|American golden-plover||Pluvialis dominica||N|
|snowy plover||Charadrius alexandrinus||A|
|Wilson's plover||Charadrius wilsonia||A|
|semipalmated plover||Charadrius semipalmatus||N|
|piping plover||Charadrius melodus||A|
|American oyster||Haematopus palliatus||A|
|black-necked stilt||Himantopus mexicanus||A|
|American avocet||Recurvirostra americana||A|
|greater yellowlegs||Tringa melanoleuca||N|
|lesser yellowlegs||Tringa flavipes||N|
|solitary sandpiper||Tringa solitaria||N|
|spotted sandpiper||Actitis macularia||B|
|upland sandpiper||Bartramia longicauda||B||T|
|Eskimo curlew||Numenius borealis||X|
|black-tailed godwit||Limosa limosa||A|
|Hudsonian godwit||Limosa haemastica||N|
|marbled godwit||Limosa fedoa||N|
|ruddy turnstone||Arenaria interpres||N|
|red knot||Calidris canutus||N|
|semipalmated sandpiper||Calidris pusilla||N|
|western sandpiper||Calidris mauri||N|
|least sandpiper||Calidris minutilla||R|
|white-rumped sandpiper||Calidris fuscicollis||N|
|Baird's sandpiper||Calidris bairdii||N|
|pectoral sandpiper||Calidris malanotos||N|
|purple sandpiper||Calidris maritima||N|
|stilt sandpiper||Calidris himantopus||N|
|buff-breasted sandpiper||Tryngites subruficollis||N|
|short-billed dowitcher||Limnodromus griseus||N|
|long-billed dowitcher||Limnodromus scolopaceus||N|
|common snipe||Gallinago gallinago||B||T|
|American woodcock||Scolopax minor||B|
|Wilson's phalarope||Phalaropus tricolor||N|
|red-necked phalarope||Phalaropus lobatus||N|
|red phalarope||Phalaropus fulicaria||N|
|parasitic jaeger||Stercorarius parasiticus||A|
|pomerine jaeger||Stercorarius pomarinus||A|
|laughing gull||Larus atricilla||N|
|Franklin's gull||Larus pipixcan||A|
|little gull||Larus minutus||A|
|black-headed gull||Larus ridibundus||A|
|mew gull||Larus canus||A|
|Bonaparte's gull||Larus philadelphia||A|
|ring-billed gull||Larus delawarensis||B|
|herring gull||Larus argentatus||B|
|Thayer's gull||Larus thayeri||A|
|Iceland gull||Larus glaucoides||A|
|lesser black-backed||Larus fuscus||N|
|glaucous gull||Larus hyperboreus||N|
|great black-backed||Larus marinus||N|
|black-legged kittiwake||Rissa tridactyla||A|
|Sabine's gull||Xema sabini||A|
|gull-billed tern||Sterna nilotica||A|
|Caspian tern||Sterna caspia||N|
|royal tern||Sterna maxima||A|
|roseate tern||Sterna dougallii||A|
|common tern||Sterna hirundo||N||E|
|Arctic tern||Sterna paradisaea||A|
|Forster's tern||Sterna forsteri||N|
|least tern||Sterna antillarum||A|
|sooty tern||Sterna fuscata||A|
|black tern||Sterna niger||B||E|
|black skimmer||Rynchops niger||A|
|thick-billed murre||Uria lomvia||A|
|ancient murrelet||Synthliboramphus antiquus||A|
|rock dove||Columba livia||B||0|
|band-tailed pigeon||Columba fasciata||A|
|mourning dove||Zenaida macroura||B|
|passenger pigeon||Ectopistes migratorius||X|
|common ground-dove||Columbina passerina||A|
|Carolina parakeet||Conuropsis carolinensis||X|
|black-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus erythropthalmus||B|
|yellow-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus americanus||B|
|barn owl||Tyto alba||B||A|
|eastern screech-owl||Otus asio||B|
|great horned||Bubo virginianus||B|
|snowy owl||Nyctea scandiaca||N|
|northern hawk||Surnia ulula||A|
|barred owl||Strix varia||B||C|
|great gray||Strix nebulosa||A|
|long-eared owl||Asio otus||B||U|
|short-eared owl||Asio flammeus||B||E|
|boreal owl||Aegolius funereus||A|
|northern saw-whet||Aegolius acadicus||B||U|
|common nighthawk||Chordeiles minor||B|
|chimney swift||Chaetura pelagica||B|
|ruby-throated hummingbird||Archilochus colubris||B|
|rufous hummingbird||Selasphorus rufus||A|
|belted kingfisher||Ceryle alcyon||B|
|red-headed woodpecker||Melanerpes erythrocephalus||B|
|red-bellied woodpecker||Melanerpes carolinus||B|
|yellow-bellied sapsucker||Sphyrapicus varius||B|
|downy woodpecker||Picoides pubescens||B|
|hairy woodpecker||Picoides villosus||B|
|black-backed woodpecker||Picoides arcticus||A|
|northern flicker||Colaptes auratus||B|
|pileated woodpecker||Dryocopus pileatus||B|
|olive-sided flycatcher||Contopus cooperi||B||X|
|eastern wood-pewee||Contopus virens||B|
|yellow-bellied flycatcher||Empidonax flaviventris||B||E|
|acadian flycatcher||Empidonax virescens||B|
|alder flycatcher||Empidonax alnorum||B|
|willow flycatcher||Empidonax traillii||B|
|least flycatcher||Empidonax minimus||B|
|Pacific-slope flycatcher||Empidonax difficilis||A|
|eastern phoebe||Sayornis phoebe||B|
|Say's phoebe||Sayornis saya||A|
|vermilion flycatcher||Pyrocephalus rubinus||A|
|great crested||Myiarchus crinitus||B|
|western kingbird||Tyrannus verticalis||A|
|eastern kingbird||Tyrannus tyrannus||B|
|scissor-tailed flycatcher||Tyrannus forficatus||A|
|northern shrike||Lanius excubitor||N|
|loggerhead shrike||Lanius ludovicianus||B||E|
|white-eyed vireo||Vireo griseus||B|
|blue-headed vireo||Vireo solitarius||B|
|yellow-throated vireo||Vireo flavifrons||B|
|warbling vireo||Vireo gilvus||B|
|Philadelphia vireo||Vireo philadelphicus||N|
|red-eyed vireo||Vireo olivaceus||B|
|blue jay||Cyanocitta cristata||B|
|American crow||Corus brachyrhynchos||B|
|fish crow||Corus ossifragus||B|
|common raven||Corus corax||B|
|horned lark||Eremophila alpestris||B|
|purple martin||Progne subis||B|
|tree swallow||Tachycineta bicolor||B|
|violet-green swallow||Tachycineta thalassina||A|
|northern rough-winged||Stelgidopteryx serripennis||B|
|bank swallow||Riparia riparia||B|
|cliff swallow||Hirundo pyrrhonota||B|
|barn swallow||Hirundo rustica||B|
|Carolina chickadee||Poecile carolinensis||B|
|black-capped chickadee||Poecile atricapillus||B|
|boreal chickadee||Poecile hudsonicus||A|
|tufted titmouse||Baeolophus bicolor||B|
|red-breasted nuthatch||Sitta canadensis||B|
|white-breasted nuthatch||Sitta carolinensis||B|
|brown-headed nuthatch||Sitta pusilla||A|
|brown creeper||Certhia americana||B|
|Carolina wren||Thryothorus ludovicianus||B|
|Bewick's wren||Thryomanes bewickii||A||X|
|house wren||Troglodytes aedon||B|
|winter wren||Troglodytes troglodytes||B|
|sedge wren||Cistothorus platensis||B||T|
|marsh wren||Cistothorus palustris||B||R|
|golden-crowned kinglet||Regulus satrapa||B|
|ruby-crowned kinglet||Regulus calendula||N|
|blue-gray gnatcatcher||Polioptila caerulea||B|
|northern wheatear||Oenanthe oenanthe||A|
|eastern bluebird||Sialia sialis||B|
|mountain bluebird||Sialia currucoides||A|
|Townsend's solitaire||Myadestes townsendi||A|
|gray-checked thrush||Catharus minimus||N|
|Bicknell's thrush||Catharus bicknelli||A|
|Swainson's thrush||Catharus ustulatus||B||R|
|hermit thrush||Catharus guttatus||B|
|wood thrush||Hylocichla mustelina||B|
|American robin||Turdus migratorius||B|
|varied thrush||Ixoreus naevius||A|
|northern mockingbird||Mimus polyglottos||B|
|brown thrasher||Toxostoma rufum||B|
|European starling||Sturnus vulgaris||B||O|
|American pipit||Anthus rubescens||N|
|Bohemian waxwing||Bombycilla garrulus||A|
|cedar waxwing||Bombycilla cedrorum||B|
|blue-winged warbler||Vermivora pinus||B|
|golden-winged warbler||Vermivora chrysoptera||B|
|Tennessee warbler||Vermivora peregrina||B|
|orange-crowned warbler||Vermivora celata||N|
|Nashville warbler||Vermivora ruficapilla||B|
|northern parula||Parula americana||B|
|yellow warbler||Dendroica petechia||B|
|chestnut-sided warbler||Dendroica pensylvanica||B|
|magnolia warbler||Dendroica magnolia||B|
|Cape May||Dendroica tigrina||N|
|black-throated blue||Dendroica caerulescens||B|
|yellow-rumped warbler||Dendroica coronata||B|
|black-throated gray||Dendroica nigrescens||N|
|Townsend's warbler||Dendroica townsendi||A|
|black-throated green||Dendroica virens||B|
|blackburnian warbler||Dendroica fusca||B|
|yellow-throated warbler||Dendroica dominica||B|
|pine warbler||Dendroica pinus||B|
|Kirtland's warbler||Dendroica kirtlandii||A|
|prairie warbler||Dendroica discolor||B|
|palm warbler||Dendroica palmarum||N|
|bay-breasted warbler||Dendroica castanea||N|
|blackpoll warbler||Dendroica striata||B|
|cerulean warbler||Dendroica cerulea||B|
|black-and-white warbler||Mniotilta varia||B|
|American redstart||Setophaga ruticilla||B|
|prothonotary warbler||Protonotaria citrea||B||R|
|worm-eating warbler||Helmitheros vermivorus||B|
|Swainson's warbler||Limnothlypis swainsonii||A|
|northern waterthrush||Seiurus noveboracensis||B|
|Louisiana waterthrush||Seiurus motacilla||B|
|Kentucky warbler||Oporornis formosus||B|
|Connecticut warbler||Oporornis agilis||N|
|mourning warbler||Oporornis philadelphia||B|
|common yellowthroat||Geothlypis trichas||B|
|hooded warbler||Wilsonia citrina||B|
|Wilson's warbler||Wilsonia pusilla||N|
|Canada warbler||Wilsonia canadensis||B|
|yellow-breasted chat||Icteria virens||B|
|summer tanager||Piranga rubra||B||R|
|scarlet tanager||Piranga olivacea||B|
|western tanager||Piranga ludoviciana||A|
|northern cardinal||Cardinalis cardinalis||B|
|rose-breasted grosbeak||Pheucticus ludovicianus||B|
|black-headed grosbeak||Pheucticus melanocephalus||A|
|blue grosbeak||Guiraca caerulea||B|
|lazuli bunting||Passerina amoena||A|
|indigo bunting||Passerina cyanea||B|
|painted bunting||Passerina ciris||A|
|green-tailed towhee||Pipilo chlorurus||A|
|eastern towhee||Pipilo erythrophthalmus||B|
|spotted towhee||Pipilo maculatus||A|
|Bachman's sparrow||Aimophila aestivalis||A||X|
|American tree||Spizella arborea||N|
|chipping sparrow||Spizella passerina||B|
|clay-colored sparrow||Spizella pallida||N|
|field sparrow||Spizella pusilla||B|
|vesper sparrow||Pooecetes gramineus||B|
|lark sparrow||Chondestes grammacus||A|
|lark bunting||Calamospiza melanocorys||A|
|Savannah sparrow||Passerculus sandwishensis||B|
|grasshopper sparrow||Ammodramus savannarum||B|
|Henslow's sparrow||Ammodramus henslowii||B|
|LeConte's sparrow||Ammodramus leconteii||A|
|saltmarsh sharp-tailed||Ammodramus caudacutus||A|
|Nelson's sharp-tailed||Ammodramus nelsoni||A|
|seaside sparrow||Ammodramus maritimus||A|
|fox sparrow||Passerella iliaca||N|
|song sparrow||Melospiza melodia||B|
|Lincoln's sparrow||Melospiza lincolnii||N|
|swamp sparrow||Melospiza georgiana||B|
|white-throated sparrow||Zonotrichia albicollis||B|
|Harris' sparrow||Zonotrichia querula||A|
|white-crowned sparrow||Zonotrichia leucophrys||N|
|golden-crowned sparrow||Zonotrichia atricapilla||A|
|dark-eyed junco||Junco hyemalis||B|
|lapland longspur||Calcarius lapponicus||N|
|snow bunting||Plectrophenax nivalis||N|
|red-winged blackbird||Agelaius phoeniceus||B|
|eastern meadowlark||Sturnella magna||B|
|western meadowlark||Sturnella neglecta||A|
|yellow-headed blackbird||Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus||N|
|rusty blackbird||Euphagus carolinus||N|
|brewer's blackbird||Euphagus cyanocephalus||N|
|common grackle||Quiscalus quiscula||B|
|brown-headed cowbird||Molothrus ater||B|
|orchard oriole||Icterus spurius||B|
|Baltimore oriole||Icterus galbula||B|
|Bullock's oriole||Icterus bullockii||A|
|pine grosbeak||Pinicola enucleator||N|
|purple finch||Carpodacus purpureus||B|
|house finch||Carpodacus mexicanus||B|
|red crossbill||Loxia curvirostra||B||U|
|white-winged crossbill||Loxia leucoptera||N|
|common redpoll||Carduelis flammea||N|
|hoary redpoll||Carduelis hornemanni||A|
|pine siskin||Carduelis pinus||B|
|American goldfinch||Carduelis tristis||B|
|evening grosbeak||Coccothraustes vespertinus||B|
|house sparrow||Passer domesticus||B||O|
|Status Codes: A - Accidental,
B - Breeding, N - Non-breeding, X - Extinct
|Special Concern Codes: E - Endangered, T - Threatened, A - Candidate-At Risk, R - Candidate-Rare, U - Candidate-Undetermined, X - Extirpated, O - Established Exotic.|