An example of the 1994 instructions to participants.
- The census period starts on May 28 and ends on June 26, 1994.
- Starting time is sunrise and no counts should be made after 8:30 a.m.(weekend is more quiet).
- The length of each point count is exactly 5 minutes. The counter should not move during the 5- minute counting period, but should stand in the same location. Pishing or bird tapes are not allowed.
- Birders are encouraged to go out in teams of 2 or 3. Only one person, however, will actually count birds during each point count. This person is the "leader" or "expert." Other team members may assist by recording species numbers on the data sheet, by locating the census point by using the map, or by keeping an eye on the local scene to avoid disturbances by dogs, kids, threatening situations, etc.
- The leader should begin the count as soon as possible after arriving at the census point. Other team members joining the leader should be prompt. The leader should not wait for latecomers to begin the count.
- Census points shall be assigned to leaders in groups of nine points. A leader should attempt to do all nine points in one morning.
- All species identified by call, song or visually will be tallied on the data sheet. This means identifying each species and estimating the number of individuals of each species. All birds seen or heard, no matter what the distance from the point, will be tallied. Birds encountered before or after the 5-minute count period will not be tallied on the data sheet, although they can be entered in marginal notes or on a separate sheet of paper. For the purposes of analysis, only those species identified and counted during the 5-minute period will be entered in the database.
- In the event that a census point shown on the map is difficult to locate accurately or is not accessible (a restricted area, in a private backyard, etc.), the team leader should choose an alternate census point as close as possible to the mapped point and must record carefully on the data sheet the exact location of the new point from which the count was made.
- Counts should not be done during heavy rain or strong winds. Weather conditions (wind, overcast, rain, etc.) During the count period should be entered on the data sheet. If loud noises like trucks, cars or airplanes occur during the count, the count should be ended and started over. - If the noise is incessant, complete count anyway and make a note of the noise disturbance on the data sheet.
Send completed data sheets to: Carolyn Williams (Coordinator)
4204 Forest Court
Fairfax, VA 22032-1038
Tel. (703) 273-1961
DATA SHEETS: Fill out using black ink (typed would be even better) and return along with a map(s) to the address above within a week after your count date. Please make a copy of the data sheets (and maps, if you've made any changes on them) before mailing them back to me. Keep one copy. This will provide a back up just in case the mail is "misplaced" by our postal system. That didn't happen last year, but let's not push or luck. Also, try to avoid using Post-It-type "stick-ons." They are difficult to copy, and they don't always stay on in spite of what 3M says.
VERY IMPORTANT: If, for any reason, you are unable to do some or all of your census points, please let me know immediately so I will have ample time to reassign them.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me at 703-273-1961 or Jane Huff at 301-652-9188.
Carolyn D. Williams
P.S. It would be nice if we could get some photos of the brave and fearless DC-Birdathon volunteers in the field, so consider taking a camera.
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