eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 39, No. 1
March 2008
Western Field Ornithologists

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Extirpation of the Willow Flycatcher from Yosemite National Park
Rodney B. Siegel, Robert L. Wilkerson, and David F. DeSante

ABSTRACT: The Willow Flycatcher has been declining throughout the Sierra Nevada and within Yosemite National Park since at least the middle of the 20th century. More recently, the number of Willow Flycatchers captured at a bird-banding station in Yosemite declined during the 1990s, with none captured since 2002. We used historical records and digital maps based on remote sensing to identify and survey Yosemite’s most likely breeding habitat for the species. Over the 2006 and 2007 breeding seasons we visited 71 sites, which accommodated 1709 call stations. We detected no territorial Willow Flycatchers, and we conclude that the species no longer breeds in Yosemite National Park. The extirpation of this species from Yosemite, where so much protected, apparently high-quality habitat remains, suggests that causes in addition to direct effects of recent land-management practices have contributed substantially to the decline of the species across the Sierra Nevada.

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