About IBP
Staff List
Research Programs
Internships & Training
Memberships & Donations
PO Box 1346
Point Reyes Station
CA 94956

The Institute for Bird Populations
© 2011


Esta página en español

IBP winter monitoring projects include the MoSI (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal) program across the northern Neotropics and the MAWS (Monitoring Avian Winter Survival) program in temperate North America.

MoSI: Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal


Support the MoSI Program with a tax-deductible donation to IBP

Download the MoSI Manual and data sheets

Cape May Warbler
(photo by Kasey Krum and Mark Konop)

About half of the bird species that breed in the temperate forests of North America over-winter in the northern Neotropics. Although these species spend more than half the year on their tropical wintering grounds, little is known about their habitat needs while there. IBP and partners across the northern Neotropics initiated the MoSI program in the winter of 2002-03 to begin to provide information on the habitat needs of migrant birds in the tropics. Through winter 2010-11, more than 60 cooperators have contributed data from > 170 stations to the program. These stations have been operated in 14 countries stretching from Mexico to Colombia (see figure below).



Distribution of banding stations that have registered with the MoSI program through winter 2010-11.


MoSI Program Goals

MoSI is designed to address monitoring, research, and management goals.

The monitoring goal of MoSI is to provide estimates of overwintering apparent survival rates, annual apparent survival rates, and indices of physical condition for migratory landbird species in a variety of habitats and geographic regions.

Research goals of MoSI include (1) relating survival and physical condition to habitat, weather, and climate variables, (2) linking winter and breeding (from MAPS) population parameters, and (3) developing predictive population models.

Management goals of MoSI are to (1) use research results to inform habitat conservation and management, and (2) evaluate management applications.


Migratory Connectivity

In addition, to primary MoSI goals (above), biological samples and measurements collected at MoSI stations contribute to our knowledge of migratory connectivity - i.e., the determination of where local populations of breeding migratory birds spend the winter (and vise versa). MoSI cooperators have contributed thousands of cloacal swab and feather samples to the Center for Tropical Ecology at UCLA for genetic and stable isotope analyses aimed at linking breeding and wintering populations (read more here). Wing measurements taken at MoSI (and MAPS) stations also show patterns of spatial variation in body size that can lend insight into migratory connectivity.




MoSI Field Protocol

The MoSI field protocol is outlined in DeSante et al. (2005) and described in detail in the MoSI Manual. Briefly, the basic field protocol calls for five monthly (November through March) pulses of mist net operation on a 20-ha study area (the MoSI station) established in a habitat of interest where at least one MoSI target species can be captured in substantial numbers. Each pulse of mist netting consists of operating about 16 nets for 2-3 days, yielding 10-15 days of netting during the five-month winter period.


MoSI Capacity Building and Outreach

IBP and MoSI collaborators build capacity for avian monitoring, research, and conservation in the Neotropics by (1) securing grants and private donations to help offset costs of MoSI station operation, and (2) organizing and leading training workshops that cover field and analytical techniques used in bird monitoring. Through 2011, we have held 23 workshops in 8 countries that have involved > 300 participants.


Learning About Tropical Residents

Although MoSI goals focus on migratory species, many birds captured and banded at MoSI stations are Neotropical resident species. The MoSI program has enabled collaborators to begin to learn more about the natural history, molt and plumage patterns, and habitat needs of these species as well. Indeed, many MoSI stations are now operated year-round, to address questions about resident bird species.

ALAS: A call for digital images of open wings to study molt and age-determination in Neotropical birds


Read more about MoSI:

  • 2005 paper describing MoSI program in PIF Asilomar proceedings
  • 2007 feature article about MoSI Nicaragua stations in Living Bird

  • 2008 MoSI report submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service

  • 2009 paper on MAPS and MoSI in PIF McAllen proceedings

  • Selected reports, theses, and publications by MoSI collaborators

    For more information, please contact:

    James Saracco, MoSI Program Director, IBP

    Peter Pyle, MoSI Program Coordinator, IBP

    José Luís Alcántara, MoSI México Coordinator, Área de Fauna Silvestre, Ganadería, Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico

    Leticia Andino, MoSI Central America Coordinator, SalvaNatura, El Salvador

    Support the MoSI Program with a tax-deductible donation to IBP


    MAWS: Monitoring Avian Winter Survival

    The MAWS program was initiated in 2003 as a four-year pilot project on four southeastern U. S. military installations. MAWS shares goals and protocols with MoSI but targets short-distance migrants and species that are year-round residents of temperate North America. In addition to the MAWS stations operated on military installations, several independent MAWS station operators have contributed data to the MAWS program.

    View the 2008 MAWS report submitted to the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program