Lack of standardization in the use of road counts for surveying raptors

We review past methods used to perform road counts of raptors and present revised recommendations to aid collaboration, data transfer, and interpretation of results across monitoring programs

Christopher J W McClure; Aaron Carignan; Ralph Buij


Scholarcy highlights

  • Raptors, or birds of prey, serve as environmental sentinels and indicators while providing ecosystem services
  • We suggest that road count practitioners should emphasize the collection of data, such as speed, number of observers, and distance to observed raptors, which would allow for the calculation of detection-corrected estimates
  • Studies returned by our search used road counts to research several aspects of raptor biology
  • Uses of Road Counts Our results show that road counts have been employed globally for decades with substantial variation in methodology
  • Most of the studies employing road counts were conducted in North America, supporting Wuczynski’s assertion that road counts were historically most popular in the United States
  • Estimating and Controlling for Detection Rates Across studies returned by our literature search, detection probability was only controlled for 16% of the time
  • That road counts are used to monitor raptors around the globe, and their use has increased since the 1970s, highlights the importance of critically examining road count application and methodology
  • Methods for pooling data across road count surveys, correcting for myriad sources of heterogeneity in detection, and integrating road counts with other sources of population information will allow researchers to better monitor raptor populations into the future

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