Songbirds, woodpeckers and vegetation were surveyed in the Bulson and Sydney watersheds of Vancouver Island, British Columbia using established RIC standards. Total richness was moderate (23 species), but 4 species (Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Winter Wren, Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Varied Thrush) accounted for >70% of all detections. Three woodpecker methods produced uncorrelated estimates of relative abundance in a simple community comprised of common Hairy Woodpeckers and rare Pileated Woodpeckers and Red-breasted sapsuckers. Forest stand measurements were poor predictors of relative abundance for any of the common songbirds. Overall, Bulson and Sydney watersheds shared most species with other stands on Vancouver Island. Bird abundance was relatively high, but evenness was lower. In general, old growth forest bird communities on Vancouver Island are dominated by a few species which are abundant. Most between-watershed differences were attributable to presence/absence of uncommon species. Continued reliance upon community-level songbird surveys may not help elucidate which old-growth habitats should be protected, simply because similar abundance of few species produces high between-watershed similarity. More work is needed to a) determine which rare species are of management concern, b) develop and test inventory methods for these groups, and c) develop methods to link presence/absence data with information concerning demographic success, and use of patchily-distributed resources.
Bryant, Andrew A.. 1996. Breeding Songbirds and Woodpeckers in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. BC Ministry of Environment