Spring is in the air. While birds are making plans for their breeding season,
conservation minded birders should consider participating in many of the
existing surveys for breeders as well as migrants.
This is my second request for volunteers leading up to the Breeding Bird Survey
season which starts in May. My earlier request in February resulted in many
people signing up for vacancies across the State. There are still 11
vacancies. They range from very remote areas in Hudspeth, Loving, Pecos and
Zapata counties to sites in Archer, Brazos, Harrison, Palo Pinto, San Augustine
and Wilbarger counties which are modest distances from cities with birders.
Information about the Breeding Bird Survey is provided below.
BREEDING BIRD SURVEY
This is my annual request for volunteer sign-up to
conduct roadside breeding bird surveys
(BBS) in Texas during 2016. There are 3
vacancies in West Texas, 3 in North Central Texas, 1 in Central Texas, 1 in
Texas, 1 in Southeast Texas, and 2 in South Texas. Read below for more details.
those not familiar with the survey methodology, the BBS is the National Survey
which is the primary source for breeding bird population trends in the
nation. This survey has about 3000
randomly located routes across the United States. Each route is 24.5 miles
long with 50 stops
spaced 0.5 miles apart. At each stop
during a 3 minute period, the observer tallies all birds seen within ¼ mile and
all birds heard. The route lasts from 30
minutes before sunrise until you finish which is normally about 11 a.m. The
route needs to be run ONCE each
year during the months of May or June; exact dates vary with each route. It
might require a pre-survey scouting trip
just to familiarize yourself with the route, and a little paper/computer work
after the route is done. The observer
needs to be able to identify most of the birds along the route by call and all
by sight. Along routes in agricultural
areas, this might only mean about 20 species by call, but in more complex
forested areas it might mean 70 species.
and local conservation organizations regularly use BBS data (see
in their analysis. They focus very
strongly on breeding bird population trends generated by YOUR DATA, and also
used bird density data
extensively. Partners In Flight has developed models to estimate breeding
density and distribution for all species they are tracking with BBS data.
and Wildlife Department has used the data when they developed a statewide
conservation plan for birds (see
. Conservation Joint Ventures across
the nation regularly use BBS data as they implement their new All Birds
management goals. It has been very
satisfying seeing the product of our works being used to influence national and
local decisions on avian conservation.
Texas has 196 BBS routes and 11 vacancies. The National Office has started
routes as vacant when they have not received data from a volunteer for two
years. If you see your route listed as
vacant, check your files and resubmit your data because the National Office has
not received it.
This seems like a lot of routes, but it is not
for a state our size. Due to the
variability of the data, we are trying to run at least 14 routes per ecological
area and there are 10 ecological areas in Texas. This should provide us a
sample of population trends of birds breeding near highways. We are getting
close to obtaining this sample
size in every bird region. We always have
problems getting qualified birders to do routes in the more rural parts of the
State. While there are plenty of good
birders in Texas, the birders are concentrated in urban areas and the birds are
spread throughout the State causing logistics problems of running routes in
remote parts of the Texas. A classic
example is West Texas and the Panhandle, lots of country and few birders.
When you volunteer, I will need your NAME, MAILING
ADDRESS, E-MAIL, TELEPHONE NUMBER and ROUTE of interest.
am listing below vacant routes by geographic areas. Species data for each
route can be obtained at
the link = https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/RouteMap/Map.cfm.
Those areas with the largest numbers of vacancies are the areas needing the
most help. If you are interesting in
helping, or would like more information, reply to this e-mail.
Congratulations. No vacancies!
111 Girvin Pecos County
343 Mentone Loving County
344 Salt Flat Hudspeth County
078 Grayback Wilbarger
352 Whitney Mountain Palo Pinto County
361 Megargel Archer
237 Carlos Brazos County
057 Crossroads Harrison County
334 Powell Park San Augustine County
Congratulations! No Vacancies.
Route 204 Guerra Zapata County
907 Padre Island NS Kleberg County
location of route maps
raw data online retrieval system link provides location of species totals by
route by year. Explore US Results and
Parks and Wildlife Department
N. Navarro, Suite 600B
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