Marsh Bird Monitoring

The Waterbird Conservation for the Americas group is working on the development of a continental monitoring scheme for marsh dwelling birds. Their progress in developoing these surveys is documented in a series of workshops which can be accessed at the website above.

Migration Monitoring

A group of Canadian and US ornithologists have joined together to design and implementmonitoring systems for birds during migration. Counts taken during migration suffer from high variability in counts and captures. However, for boreal zone migrants, such as Gray-cheeked Thrush, Cape May Warbler, and Bay-breasted Warblers, counts during migrationare the only real opportunity to track population changes.

To fill that information gap we have initiated anew program to count birds as they migrate north and south. The program consists of a networkof migration monitoring stations (e.g., bird observatories, migration banding stations, and dailymigrant counts) and a more extensive program to collect daily field checklists from birders.

Checklist report and recommendations.
Checklist programsalready exist in Quebec (1955), Wisconsin (1982), Alberta (1994), New Brunswick (?), NWT(1995).

Bird observatories, migration stations, and other intensive monitoring sites.
Canada has now implemented a national Migration Monitoring Network.
The United States has no network in place and there are no current plans to implement one. One would hope that somebody will, at some point, fill this gap and coordinate the existing U.S. stations.

We encourage those interested in starting a checklist program to get in touch with Ricky Dunn at .

We also present (fall and spring) maps and tables for 48 common neotropical migrants, showing the general patterns of abundance for these birds on their routes north and south.

Information on the Quebec Checklist Project through the Les oiseaux du Quebec/Birds ofQuebec (WWW) , click on É.P.O.Q. Étude des populations d'oiseaux du Québec .

As part of the process of building a network of migration monitoring programs, the Council is cataloging the existing programs and sites. If you would like to register your site please use the following (non-web)form. [Form no longer available]

Info on the Long Point Bird Observatories' migration monitoring programs in Canada. 

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship

The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship Program (MAPS ) is a volunteer based program that uses the standardized mistnetting of birds during the Breeding Season to track the changes and patterns in the number of young produced and the survivorship of adults and young .

Winter Bird Survey

The Winter Bird Survey technique was developed in Maryland by Danny Bystrak Danny's goal was to create standardized maps of the relative abundance of wintering birds in Maryland. Rather than using >Atlas, which are often difficult to interpret because of problems with observer bias and unequal distribution of effort, transects were used.

The project was systematically completed over the course of 6 winters, resulting in thepublication of both contoured winter distribution maps and atlas style dot maps. To learn moreabout these techniques you can go to the Winter Bird Survey site . We feel that this technique provides anaccurate picture of the winter distribution of birds in a region and will work well in areas with high volunteer labor pools.

Urban Bird Monitoring (Project Birdscape)

The North American Breeding bird Survey, National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count,and the International Shorebird Survey are large scale census efforts designed to monitor birdpopulations over broad geographical and mostly rural areas. Smaller scale regional efforts alsoexist for national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many sate and private landholdings. There appear to be few monitoring programs that concentrate on urbanized landscapes. In summer 1993 a cooperative effort called, "D.C. Birdscape" was started to monitor breedingbirds in Washington D.C. This pilot project is coordinated by the Audubon Naturalist Society,the U.S. National Park Service and the National Biological Survey. A PC-driven GIS(Geographical Information System program was used to generate a matrix of more than 750census points spaced at 500 meter intervals across the entire city (note: this can also be doneusing regular city book maps, no need for a GIS system to do a Birdscape project). Eighty-nine volunteers participated in the first year's census conducted between May 28 and June 30. approximately 90% of all census points were visited once for a five-minute count of all birdsseen or heard. The data were assembled in a format compatible with retrieval and analysis on theGIS, and presence/absence and contour maps were drawn for each species. Of the theeighty-eight species tallied, the ten most frequently encountered were European Starlings, House Sparrows, Chimney Swifts, American Crows, Rock Doves, House Finches, Northern Mockingbirds, American robins, Northern Cardinals, and Song Sparrows. Maps were also produced of estimated species richness for Neotropical migrants, woodpeckers, urban-tolerantspecies and total population size. Bird community composition varied significantly with urbanland use class. this program of point counts carried out by trained and experienced volunteerscan produce cost-effective, landscape-level estimates of bird population changes for other urbanareas.

Jump Here to travel to a summary report of the first year's efforts.

Jump Here to see the 1994 instructions and protocol for observers.

Colonial Waterbird Inventory and Monitoring Program

The USFWS, NBS, and state agencies are collaborating to create a system of periodic inventories of colonial waterbirds in the U.S. An effort will be made to complete a thorough census of colonial waterbirds in each state on a 5-10 year rotating basis. Data is being stored ina standardized and consildated database, making data from all states available and in the sameformat. Data collection has begun on the East Coast and will move westward in the following years. Protocols for the collection of these data are available at this web site.

Those of you interested in more information can contact John Trapp (FWS) or Mike Erwin (USGS)

International Shorebird Survey

Be prepared for a big push to expand this quietly effective volunteer monitoring program. Youcan read a general overview of the ISS from Manomet Bird Observatory or you can read the 1995 report .

Waterfowl and Gamebird Monitoring

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service jointly run andmaintain one of the world's most extensive monitoring programs for any group of birds. They have breeding and wintering surveys for waterfowl and gamebirds that range from the arctic islands down into northern Mexico. Population estimates and annual indices are available for most species of waterfowl, doves, and woodcock.

Hawk Migration Monitoring

Hawk counting stations and observatories dot the ridge crests and migratory funnels of NorthAmerica. Most of these sites are linked through membership in the Hawk Migration Associationof North America. A site maintained by Wallace Coffey has information on many hawk migration stations along with their results via his Hawk Watch Network (currently offline -9/10/96) . Hawk Mountain has built another web site with good general information on raptor monitoring and biology.

Forest Bird Monitoring Program

The Ontario Forest Bird Monitoring Program tracks songbirds as an indicator of the health of Ontario's forests, monitors changes in bird populations in non-random forest interior plots, and helps toidentify species in decline.

For more information contact the program coordinator:

Mike Cadman, Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
75 Farquhar St.
Guelph, ON. N1H 3N4

More on Canadian Bird Monitoring Programs

Bird Monitoring
Monitoring in General

Go forth under the open sky, and listen
to Nature's teachings.
    Bryant - Thanatopsis