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Breeding Bird Survey


Below you'll see an email from Mark Johns. Happy spring birding!

Karen Bearden
Raleigh, NC

FYI...Please also pass this information on to people you feel would be
qualified to run BBS....

The 2003 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) field season will soon be upon us
The BBL office in Patuxent has worked up a package of new routes to give
state better overall strata coverage for the outer Coastal Plain, Inner
Coastal plain, Piedmont and Southern Blue Ridge areas. At the National
meeting in August 2001, it was decided to try and get better overall
coverage for specific lat/long blocks in each strata. As a result, North
Carolina has some of the best overall route coverage in the lower 48.
will just make BBS data an even more useful and important tool in bird
conservation efforts in the 21st century.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey started in 1966 to monitor bird
populations over large geographic areas. BBS is a long-term, continental
avian monitoring program designed to track the status and trends of
American bird populations. The USGS Patuxent Research Center and
Wildlife Service jointly coordinate the BBS.

Each year during the height of the avian breeding season ( in June for
of the U.S. and Canada), participants skilled in avian identification by
sight and sound collect bird population data along roadside survey
Each survey route is 24.5 miles long, with stops at 0.5 mile intervals.
each stop a 3-minute point count is conducted, and during the count
bird seen within 0.25-mile radius or heard is recorded. Surveys start
one-half hour before local sunrise and take about 4-5 hours to complete.
Before running your route, you would also need to do a quick "scouting
to check for road construction problems, bridges out, etc. and to avoid
confusion when running the route. Over 4100 survey routes are located
the continental U.S. and southern Canada.

BBS data provide an index of population abundance, that can be used to
estimate population trends and relative abundances at various geographic
scales. Declining population trends can act as an early warning system
galvanize research and management action to determine causes of avian
declines and reverse them before populations reach critically low
Currently there are trend estimates provided for 420 bird species via
web, plus raw and summarized data provided for over 650 species. Both
the US
Fish and Wildlife Service and the Partners in Flight Program use BBS
(along with other indicators) to access species management priorities.
data were instrumental in focusing research and management action on
neotropical migrant species in the late 1980's, and on grassland species
the mid-1990's. More than 270 scientific publications have relied
heavily on
BBS data. Also, some Breeding Bird Atlas projects and State Natural
programs use BBS data to enrich their species databases.

Dedicating a morning, or two, each year to the BBS is a great way to
give a
little back to the birds by insuring the wildlife managers and
have the information needed to manage bird populations effectively. If
are very familiar with the birds of your area by sight and especially
consider becoming part of the BBS team in North Carolina. The BBL will
provide you with data sheets, maps and instructions. You provide the
vehicle, birding skills and time. You can now also submit findings via
BBS website. Contact me if you are interested in running a route, or
on another route. Those of you already running routes should not give
route up to start a new one, since  BBS data is at its most valuable
after a
route has been run for several years.  Please also forward this e-mail
others that you feel are qualified AND motivated enough to participate

A brief methods test will need to be taken via the BBS website for new
runners in 2003. It is merely a formality, but should help you
more about why BBS is importnat and how to do the routes. If you and I
decide you want to run a route in 2003, I will let you know what you
to do to get ready for running your route.

You can access the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center via the web at:

North Carolina routes now open:

203 Cypress Creek: starts near border of Onslow County and Duplin County
western Onslow County and runs along lower Duplin County north of Angola

207 Hamlet: runs along the lower part of Richmond County near the SC
and ends a bit inside Scot County

230 Hertford (starts near here): begins in mid-western Perquimons County
heads northwest crossing Chowan County and ending in lower Gates County

232 Bullock: starts in northern Vance County and runs acorss Granville
County to end in Person County

234 Mount Airy (starts near here): starts in northeast Surry County and
heads east into Stokes County

302 Siloam: Starts in southeast Surry County and runs south through
County to end just over the Davie County line

305 Rheasville: starts in northern Halifax County and runs to the bottom
Nash county

306 Old Trap: Starts in lower Pasquotank County and runs mostly north to
finish in  mid-Camden County

314 Lake Surf: starts near the east border of Moore County and Hoke
and runs across top part of Hoke County curving upward to end in lower
Harnett County

316 Cypress Lakes: Starts in lower Cumberland and ends in mid-Robeson

329 Jarvisburg 2: starts near Jarvisburg in Currituck County near 158
heads south to cross sound and head north on Highway 12 to end near
Duck, NC

Contact me via email if you feel you are qualified and able to run one
these routes.....

Mark E. Johns
Certified Wildlife Biologist
NC Wildlife Resources Commission
NC Coordinator, Partners in Flight and Breeding Bird Survey
PO Box 564
Cary, NC  27512