[CT Birds] Breeding Bird Survey - CT route vacancies

Dasinger, Andrew M UTRC dasingam at utrc.utc.com
Fri Mar 20 18:22:42 EDT 2015

***Please help collect valuable data on breeding bird populations in CT by participating in the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)!

A lot of us participate in Christmas Bird Counts, willingly spending a full day counting winter birds from dawn (or earlier) to dusk in sometimes challenging weather conditions. But only 10 birders in CT are official observers for BBS routes in the state. As the BBS coordinator for CT, I am looking for observers on 4 survey routes: Woodstock, Mystic (new opening this year), Westbrook and Southington. Route locations are available here: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBS/RouteMap/Map.cfm

The commitment is roughly 5-6 hours on a morning of your choosing in June or early July (plus a little up-front prep in the 1st year).  That’s less time than an all-day CBC, you can select the date for optimal weather (in fact, you’re not supposed to do it if it’s raining or windy), and it’s during a time of year when things are quiet for migratory birds.

Some considerations are (1) the survey starts at 4:45 a.m., so most people would want to live within reasonable distance of the starting point, (2) you need to be able to get in and out of the car 50 times (each route has 50 observation points spread over the 25-mile route), (3) you must be capable of identifying all species by sight and sound, (4) you would benefit from having a buddy to drive and/or maybe write down numbers, (5) you need to be able to concentrate for 3 minutes (precisely) at each stop, and (6) it’s really important to collect this data annually to support bird conservation at the state, regional, and national levels.

Visit the BBS web site for more details at https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBS/index.cfm.

We have only 16 routes to cover in CT. From roughly 1972 to 1992, 14 to 16 of the routes were surveyed every year (all 16 for 9 of those years). In the past 4 years we’ve averaged about 12, partly from lack of observers and partly from people sometimes missing a year.  Looking at surrounding states, we’re doing OK but we’re not best-in-class (i.e. New Hampshire has 100% of 23 routes covered, New Jersey has only 2 vacancies out of 27).

Please email me to claim or inquire about a route, or if you have any questions.

Andrew Dasinger
South Glastonbury

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