Avian response to mountain pine beetle epidemic


A study of small land birds was conducted in the Elkhorn Mountains in the Helena National Forest from 2003 to 2011. From 2003-2006, these birds were observed with the intention of performing prescribed burns to observe changes in occupancy of these birds. However, litigation in 2006 prevented the prescribed burns. Unbeknownst to the researchers, a mountain pine beetle epidemic was about to ravage the Rocky Mountain forests. These observations from 2003-2006 were valuable observations of pre-epidemic bird presence. Researchers continued bird observations from 2009 through 2011.


The objective is to find differences in the occupancy


Brittany Mosher

Vicki Saab


  1. Saab, V., Mosher, B., Lerch, M., Rotella, J., and Higgs, M.D. (October 2012). Occupancy Dynamics of Avian Species in Relation to a Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic. Montana Chapter - Society for Conservation Biology, October 24-26, 2012, Bozeman, MT, USA.