Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Migratory Birds

By avoiding or minimizing the impact of Laboratory activities on migratory bird populations, LANL can reduce or eliminate the biological significance of any potential violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
February 2, 2015
A bird of the Pacific Northwest, the Townsend's Warble

A bird of the Pacific Northwest, the Townsend's Warbler nests in coniferous forests from Alaska to Oregon. It winters in two distinct areas: in a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast, and in Mexico and Central America.


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  • Los Alamos, NM 87545
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Best management practices provide mitigation measures for projects to reduce risks to migratory birds.

Protecting migratory birds

In the biological sense, a migratory bird is a bird that has a seasonal and somewhat predictable pattern of movement.

For LANL lands, the most significant risks to migratory birds include the following:

  • Loss, alteration, or fragmentation of habitat
  • Mortality resulting from collisions with building windows and guyed towers
  • Collisions and electrocutions on power lines
  • The potential take of eggs and nestlings during operations that disturb vegetation during the breeding season
  • Exposure of birds to contaminants, particularly in ponded or wetland environments

Under the auspices of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, LANL mitigates these risks by integrating migratory bird conservation principles, measures, and best management practices (pdf) into Laboratory activities, including:

  • Identifying affected migratory bird populations or habitats, focusing on species of concern, their habitats, and key risk factors associated with LANL activities, such as:
    • Installation of power poles and transmission lines
    • Construction projects
    • Invasive weed species eradication
    • Waste treatment that utilizes retention and evaporation ponds
  • Developing and using principles, standards, and practices that lessen impacts, such as:
    • Avian-friendly transmission lines and power poles
    • Scheduling construction activities around migratory bird nesting seasons
    • Using netting covers on wastewater retention and evaporation ponds