Avian use of the alpine during autumn migration

1996 – 2005
K. Martin, principal investigator

We began this project in 1996. Initially, we collected data on the use of the alpine by migrating birds in the course of other alpine field work. In 1998-2000 we conducted a more focussed study on alpine use by birds during fall migration in south-central British Columbia. Fall migrants were intensively captured and banded in the Vancouver area from 2001 through 2005.

During fall migration, the alpine provides rich food resources. In three years of surveys in mainland BC, we have observed over 110 bird species. We observed a peak in avian diversity during early- to mid-September.

A report on our observations during 1996 and 1997, on Vancouver Island, can be found here (PDF, 627 KB). A report on our observations from 1998-2000 can be found here (PDF, 228 KB)


Many bird enthusiasts are aware that migratory birds are found in the alpine during autumn migration. However, this phenomenon has not been well-documented in the ornithological literature. We have been conducting research on the use of alpine habitat by migratory birds.

The alpine experiences a period of intense productivity in late summer and autumn.


photo by Steve Ogle

Insects emerge in late summer, and the alpine meadows flower in August and September.


photo by Steve Ogle

We have compiled tables of species that use the alpine and subalpine, and a report on avian use of the alpine during migration. Links are found on the documents page.


photo by Steve Ogle

Download a bird checklist to make your own observations in montane, subalpine and alpine habitat.


photo by Steve Ogle


study site at Manning Park
photo by Steve Ogle


photo by Steve Ogle


dry alpine grassland, Crater Mountain
photo by Steve Ogle


rocky alpine tundra, Wells Grey Basin
photo by Steve Ogle