Western Hummingbird Partnership

WHY HUMMINGBIRDS?

There are indications that at least some hummingbird populations are declining. Partners in Flight (PIF) has identified three of the 13 neotropical migrants that breed in the USA and Canada and over-winter in Mexico as Watch List Species—Costa’s (Calypte costae), Calliope (Stellula calliope), and Rufous (Selasphorus rufus)—and a fourth—Lucifer (Calothorax lucifer)—as a Stewardship Species (Rich et al 2004). Based upon data from the Breeding Bird Survey since the mid-1960s, Rufous Hummingbird has an estimated 63% population loss and is considered a common species in steep decline by both PIF (Berlanga et al. 2010) and Audubon (National Audubon 2008). The USFWS 2008 Birds of Conservation Concern also listed Costa’s, Calliope, Lucifer, and Rufous as well as Allen’s (Selasphorus sasin), Blue-throated (Lampornis clemenciae), and Buff-bellied (Amazilia yucatanensis); seven species in total nationally. In the recently released PIF Tri-national Vision, eight additional Mexican species are identified as species of high conservation concern in North America (Berlanga et al. 2010). They are Shortcrested Coquette (Lophornis brachylophus), Mexican Woodnymph (Thalurania ridgwayi), Blue-capped Hummingbird (Eupherusa cyanophrys), White-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa poliocerca), Mexican Sheartail (Doricha eliza), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Garnet-throated Hummingbird (Lamprolaima rhami), and Wine-throated Hummingbird (Atthis ellioti).

In PIF’s Tri-national Vision, the most steeply declining species in temperate forests are birds dependent on disturbed and early successional habitat. Managing a mosaic of age classes of forests, as well as maintaining natural disturbance regimes such as fire, will be necessary to reverse declines of many forest birds (Berlanga et al. 2010). Since hummingbirds depend upon a variety of age classes of forests for nesting and foraging, addressing their conservation needs could provide land managers with a way to develop the needed mosaics of forest age classes and do this with the valuable support of a diversity of conservation professionals and volunteers. Thus, the WHP can also contribute to an agency’s, a land manager’s, and/or a landowner’s ability to meet their greater goals/priorities for conservation of ecosystems in general.

REFERENCES

Berlanga, H., J. A. Kennedy, T. D. Rich, M. C. Arizmendi, C. J. Beardmore, P. J. Blancher, G. S. Butcher, A. R. Couturier, A. A. Dayer, D. W. Demarest, W. E. Easton, M. Gustafson, E. Iñigo-Elias, E. A. Krebs, A.O. Panjabi, V. Rodriguez Contreras, K. V. Rosenberg, J. M. Ruth, E. Santana Castellón, R. Ma. Vidal, T. C. Will. 2010. Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation. Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Ithaca, NY

National Audubon [online]. The 2007 Audubon Watchlist. <http://web1.audubon.org/science/species/watchlist> (March 2008)

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