ProjectsMountainsMountain BirdwatchCitizen Scientist Materials

Materials for Mountain Birdwatch Citizen Scientists

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? Then check out this page. Each citizen scientist 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. 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 and join the Mountain Birdwatch group on Yahoo Groups to stay informed.



This summer, 2019, my interns and I will be filming some training videos in the field–no more PowerPoint training videos! I promise those future videos to be more concise and more enjoyable to watch. Until then, you’re best choice is to carefully read the updated training materials above or to contact the MBW Coordinator, Jason Hill, with any questions. Check out the online data entry tutorial below for a demonstration of entering survey data into the online database.



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. 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.
  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 (coming mid-May, 2019) 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 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 our seasonal interns can proof your data.
  5. Treat yourself to a maple creemee. Well done.