ProjectsMountainsMountain BirdwatchVolunteer Materials

Materials for Mountain Birdwatch Volunteers

Congratulations on adopting a route! Now prepare for your high-elevation adventure.

Congratulations on adopting a route! Now prepare for your high-elevation adventure.

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? Check out this page to see a map of available routes and sampling locations, photos for each route, and simple step-by-step instructions to adopt your own route. Each volunteer receives data forms in the mail in May, along with information specific to your route(s) which you can survey on any morning in June. If you’d like to get a head start (of course you do), all of these materials can be found on this page.


Check back in mid-April (2019) for an updated volunteer manual and data forms


Jason will be posting several new short videos here in mid-April (2019): they’ll be shorter and more concise than the current video below. Until then, check out the video below about why you need to scout your route, how to conduct the count and fill in the datasheets, and tips for practicing point counts.


Check out these helpful narrated audio tracks (1-18) below. Once you’re ready, try the audio quiz (track 20) a few times and then look at the key (provided below). Next, try a practice point count–print out some blank datasheets and listen to the 20-minute audio track 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!

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 volunteer commitment. If you weren’t able to survey your route, let Jason Hill (jhill ‘at’ know as soon as possible–he may be able to find someone to survey this route for you this summer.

  1. Notify the MBW director that your survey is complete– As soon as you complete your survey, please email Jason Hill (jhill ‘at’ to notify him that you were able to survey your route.
  2. Tally your data–Transfer your survey data from the bulls-eye diagram to the tally boxes on each sheet. Make sure to double-check to ensure you have accurately tallied the number of individuals of each species at each distance class.
  3. 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 this quick video tutorial on how to enter your data online. Please enter your data online by July 15th so our interns have time to proof your data.
  4. Mail hard copy 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 our seasonal interns can proof your data.
  5. Treat yourself to a maple creemee. Well done.