For over a decade, hundreds of adventurers have combined their passions for birds with their love of the mountains in New York and New England. They've become Mountain Birdwatch citizen scientists, and you can too by counting birds at a mountain near you on any day in June.
The protocol is simple: observers conduct repeated point counts for just 10 bird species at long-term sampling stations located along high-elevation hiking trails. The short list of monitored species means that almost any birder who likes to hike can participate, and the results provide powerful insight into the health of our montane bird populations.
An Innovative & Influential Monitoring Project
Mountain Birdwatch is our long-term mountain bird monitoring program, with nearly 750 sampling stations located in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York. Since 2010 alone, several hundred Mountain Birdwatch citizen scientists have conducted 18,636 point counts in the mountains, recording detections of Blackpoll Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Winter Wren, Bicknell’s Thrush—species usually missed during traditional roadside counts.
Analyzed annually using cutting-edge statistical models, Mountain Birdwatch provides the only region-wide source of population information on these high-elevation breeding birds. For example, using Mountain Birdwatch data we recently estimated the population size and state-specific trends of Bicknell’s Thrush and created a fine-scale abundance map for this species that anyone can use on the web. Each year, we make these data openly available online to other researchers at the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity and eBird. Check out our State of the Mountain Birds report to learn about the population status of all 10 montane bird species monitored by Mountain Birdwatch.
So if you like to hike and wake up to the sound of bird song from a mountainside, then the birds and us could use your help this June.