Now that you’ve adopted a Mountain Birdwatch route, you’re ready to start preparing for your June adventure! Don’t have a route yet? Then check out this page. Each citizen scientist receives data forms in the mail in May, along with information specific to your route(s). If you’re new to Mountain Birdwatch, then you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to start learning the birds and the protocols–April is a great time to kick things into high gear. If this is your first year counting for Mountain Birdwatch, then you’ll want to peruse all of the materials listed in the next section, especially the first time observer guide.
TRAINING DOCUMENTS & BLANK DATASHEETS (updates for 2020 coming soon)
- Is this your first year doing Mountain Birdwatch?! Then please read this.
- The complete Mountain Birdwatch manual for 2020
- The condensed version of the Mountain Birdwatch manual for 2020 (you’ll receive this document in the mail in May)
- Blank datasheets (we’ll mail you these in May, but in case you need to print more)
- ID cheat sheet for our 10 monitored bird species & red squirrel
- Detailed maps and information for your routes in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine.
- Click here to scroll to the bottom for data entry instructions.
AUDIO TRACKS & BIRD SONG QUIZ
Check out these helpful narrated audio tracks (1-18) below. Once you’re ready, try a mock series of point counts–print out some datasheets and take the audio quiz (track 20) a few times and then look at the key (provided below). Don’t worry about estimating distance to the birds in this audio track–just practice filling out the datasheet and becoming more familiar with these species’ vocalizations. There are long stretches of silence in this audio track–that’s normal–just like what you’ll experience in the mountains in June!
- Track 1: Introduction
- Track 2: Bicknell’s Thrush
- Track 3: Swainson’s Thrush
- Track 4: Hermit Thrush
- Track 5: White-throated Sparrow
- Track 6: Fox Sparrow
- Track 7: Winter Wren
- Track 8: Blackpoll Warbler
- Track 9: Black-capped Chickadee
- Track 10: Boreal Chickadee
- Track 11: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
- Track 12: Red Squirrel
- Track 13: Compare Bicknell’s Thrush, Veery
- Track 14: Compare Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Track 15: Compare Blackpoll Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler
- Track 16: Compare Blackpoll Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco
- Track 17: Compare Lincoln’s Sparrow, Fox Sparrow
- Track 18: Compare Least Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
- Here’s a simulated 20-minute point count audio file (click the black play bar). All of the vocalizations in this file were included in the above 18 tracks. If there’s a vocalization that you don’t recognize, then take a moment to re-listen to the above tracks. Once you’re feeling good about your bird ID ability–proceed to the quiz (tracks 19 and 20).
- Track 19: Instructions for the quiz (track 20)
- Track 20: Quiz and the Quiz Identification Key (no peeking until after you listen to Track 20!)
How did you do? Listen to the audio tracks as many times as needed until you have a good grasp on these species’ vocalizations. Then check out the protocol video, where we’ll walk you through a mock point count and fill out the data sheet together. Bird and squirrel vocalizations generously provided by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Congratulations! You have survived the black flies, arrived at your mountain route before the sun, located your survey stations, and maybe even heard a Bicknell’s Thrush or a Winter Wren. There are just a few more steps to complete your Mountain Birdwatch citizen scientist commitment.
- Notify the MBW director that your survey is complete– As soon as you complete your survey, please email Jason Hill (jhill ‘at’ vtecostudies.org) to notify him that you were able to survey your route.
- Double-check your data–Make sure to double-check to ensure you have accurately tallied the number of individuals of each species at each distance class.
- Submit your data online–Our incredible colleagues at the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative have made this experience as easy as pie. The database is incredibly intuitive, but check out the video tutorial (below) on how to enter your data online. Please enter your data online by July 15th so our interns have time to proof your data before they leave us in early August.
- Mail in your data sheets–Please photocopy your data sheets for your records and mail the originals to Jason Hill at Vermont Center for Ecostudies, PO Box 420, Norwich, VT 05055. Please mail in your data by July 15th so that our seasonal interns can proof your data.
- Treat yourself to a maple creemee. Well done.
ONLINE DATA ENTRY VIDEO
Check out the online data entry tutorial for a demonstration of entering survey data into the online database. A few tiny things have changed for 2020, but they will be quite obvious to you.