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Join Mountain Birdwatch

Hike mountains. Count birds. Be merry.

Conducting a songbird survey. © Wendy Cole

Conducting a songbird survey. © Wendy Cole

Mountain Birdwatch features a short list of 10 birds to survey, a simple protocol, and extensive training materials for participants, so just about any birder can join. Surveys take place on any morning in June, staring 45-minutes before sunrise. Observers must have excellent hearing (the vast majority of detections are made by ear, not by sight) and the ability to navigate the steep trails of our region.

Interested? Of course you are. Here’s how to get started with 3 easy steps.

UPDATE (June 2018): The 2018 survey season is over–phew. Our citizen scientists and interns, Tara and Alex, knocked it out of the park this June. We’re still waiting to hear from a few folks who attempted surveys during the last couple of days of June, but our citizen scientists likely surveyed >120 out of 129 routes–incredible! That would be a Mountain Birdwatch record, and would mean that observers completed ~2800 point counts for the spruce-fir bird community.

The map below (in step 1) will get a complete overhaul for 2019, and the colors are currently not reflective of availability for 2019. That will change soon, and you’ll see a new message here when that happens. If you’re interested in a route, regardless of the color in the map below, email me (Jason Hill, jhill “at” vtecostudies.org) and let me know.

Step 1: Choose at least one available route to survey from the 129 routes shown on the map below. Each route contains 3-6 sampling stations (more info in Step 2). This interactive map for the 2018 Mountain Birdwatch season updates every day: green markers are likely available for 2018, blue dots are already taken this year. Click on a marker to learn more about that route. Once you adopt a route, it’s yours until you no longer want it. You can always switch routes in subsequent years.

Step 2: On the map below, zoom in to your desired route to see the exact location of all sampling stations on that route. You can also download these data as a Google Earth file here (routes are listed by route number in this file). You can see photos and read descriptions of the sampling stations for your desired route by following the corresponding link to its state: New YorkVermontNew Hampshire, or Maine.

Step 3: Feeling good about your route(s)? Great! Now just email Mountain Birdwatch Coordinator Jason Hill (jhill “at” vtecostudies.org) and tell him you want to adopt that route. Jason will answer any questions that you might have, and he will walk you through the training materials.

Still wondering if you can do this? It’s only 10 bird species and one morning in June. You don’t have to be an expert–just enthusiastic. You can do it–we’d love to have you join the MBW team!