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Subject:Names for migratory bird habitat
From:Douglas H Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Douglas H Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 1 Mar 2011 10:03:51 -0600

I think some of the terms suggested for a migration stopover site can be 
misleading.  An ?Important Bird Area,? for example is a semi-official 
designation given by the American Bird Conservancy or National Audubon 
Society to a site, which may not even be a migrational use area.  It could 
be important as a breeding site or wintering area.

?Migration stations? or ?waysides? sound like possibly human-established 
sites along designated bird ?highways.?

The term ?oasis? has a distinct meaning, which often does not apply to a 
migrational use area.

?Critical migration stopover? implies something that is generally not 
known; certainly not all stopover sites are critical.  And, if they are 
critical, to whom?  Determining that a particular site is critical would 
be an enormous feat.

Even ?migration stopover? is usually considered an action, rather than a 

The term ?staging area? is used when masses of birds concentrate during 
migration, such as sandhill cranes along the Platte River in Nebraska 
during spring, but it is not applicable to most migration use areas.

I have been using here the term ?migrational use area,? so I must like it. 
 ?Migrational stopover site? is good, too.  Perhaps too bland for some 
tastes, but reasonably accurate.

Thanks to Pastor Al for proposing another thought-provoking question!

Douglas H. Johnson
Research Statistician
USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
204 Hodson Hall
1980 Folwell Ave.
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN  55108
Phone:    612-624-4716
Fax:      612-625-5299

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