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The use of mist nets as a tool for bird population monitoring


E.H. Dunn



Publication type:

Miscellaneous Publication

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Studies in Avian Biology 29:1?6


Mist nets are an important tool for population monitoring, here defi ned as assessment of species composition, relative abundance, population size, and demography. We review the strengths and limitations of mist netting for monitoring purposes, based on papers in this volume and other literature. Advantages of using mist nets over aural or visual count methods include ease of standardized sampling, low observer bias, ability to detect species that are often missed using other count methods, and opportunity to examine birds in the hand (providing information on condition, age, sex, and capture history). The primary limitation of mist netting, in common with most other survey methods, is from potential bias in sampling. However, there are many approaches to reducing or adjusting for bias, including standardization of netting methods, combining mist-net sampling with other survey types, and using mark?recapture techniques. Mist netting is an essential tool for species inventory, provides useful indices of relative abundance, and can be used to track temporal trends in abundance. It is also one of the most efficient methods of capture for mark?recapture studies.


Dunn, E.H.; Ralph, C. John. 2004. The use of mist nets as a tool for bird population monitoring. Studies in Avian Biology 29:1?6

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