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Doing a Bird Survey

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How does Chris Spray do his bird surveys?   Here's his description of the method.

I walk exactly the same route each time, and the whole survey takes about one hour (unless I stop to accurately count the rook nests - but I usually do that another day).   I do it in the early morning (finish by 10am in winter, earlier in summer) and so usually meet very few folk or at most a couple of dog walkers.   I do not do surveys if it is raining or blowing too hard a wind, but otherwise cold or heat are no problem.   Actually I have only once had to abandon a survey as the weather became too bad after I had started.

I record all birds I see or hear (and some are only ever heard, and many more are heard first and then located).   I note observations in a notebook as I walk round (the old-fashioned way!) and include a note as to whether they are singing, whether the birds are young or adult, etc.   One year I did map everything I saw, and indeed that would be another way to do this, particularly in summer when birds are breeding as one can work out numbers of breeding pairs that way.   But I currently just record the numbers.   The site is so small relative to bird territories that mapping won't add so much more at this scale.   And having a notebook wtih me, I also write down any observations of note anyhow.

Professor Chris Spray holds the Chair of Water Science & Policy at the University of Dundee's Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science.   The Centre is under the auspices of UNESCO.


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