Rare and sensitive species of songbirds, such as Swainson’s thrush and yellow warbler, are vulnerable to environmental changes, both within Yosemite and beyond. Early research shows songbirds have declined in Yosemite by approximately 19 percent during the past 20 years.

This program builds on two decades of data collected through bird banding, much of which has been funded by Yosemite Conservancy. This information provides clues for scientists as to why some populations are declining.

In 2014, visitors and volunteers shared their love for songbirds by participating in bird-banding demonstrations, where they experienced the joys of holding a delicate thrush or warbler. Student interns also learned bird-banding skills and the importance of songbird conservation. Additionally, park biologists placed tiny GPS tags onto black-headed grosbeaks, with the goal of studying the birds’ migratory routes and providing information to inform efforts to protect these and other songbirds not only within Yosemite, but also when they leave the park for their winter homes.

Working together, partners and supporters can keep Yosemite’s meadows alive with these birds’ vibrant colors and sweet songs.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park, Institute for Bird Populations, U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory, and NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program for the Sierra Nevada Network.

Sarah Stock

Wildlife Biologist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

The joy of holding a songbird in your hand,€” to feel its heartbeat, sense the warmth of its body and really see it up close,€” inspires a career-long commitment to environmental conservation.