Summary of a 14 month bird survey on Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, undertaken on request from US Fish & Wildlife Service. Principal goal was to document areas of the wetlands that hosted large concentrations of birds at various seasons; these areas were called ‘hotspots’ of bird activity.
A secondary goal was a rough comparison of present bird abundances with those recorded on in-house USFWS surveys by Cain et al. (1988), using slightly different methods.
A third goal, which emerged as we were conducting the bird surveys, was a synopsis of bird phenology on the wetlands, showing seasonal patterns of use. Looking towards the future, this report also addresses concerns about habitat use and encroachment along the fringes of the Wetlands. Funding for printing and distribution of our full report came from Juneau Audubon Society and Taku Conservation Society.
Later, in 2009, with support from the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, we distilled much of the information in Hotspots into a less technical 82-page book titled The Mendenhall Wetlands: a globally recognized Important Bird Area. While the newer version is more lavishly illustrated, full of Bob’s lovely bird photography, serious naturalists will also want Hotspots in their library. For example, the extraordinary seasonal bird checklist is broken down by month in the IBA book, whereas in Hotspots (above), bird abundances are reported by week.