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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Great Backyard Bird Count

This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Its a fantastic way to tell people what birds are in your area. Go out. Count the birds. Come back inside. Enter them online. Compare your results with what others are seeing in your area and around the country. Very cool. And if you like it, you can do it all year round on Ebird.

This morning I entered the birds I saw as I was leaving my house in Sellersville, PA (2 Canada Goose and 1 American Crow) and 10 species I'm seeing at the feeders here in Ivyland, PA. Nothing spectacular, but every data point adds to our understanding of local, regional, and continental bird distribution. And its great fun!

The Great Backyard Bird Count and Ebird are joint projects of the National Audubon Society and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

2 comments:

Philip Veerman said...

Dear Sir,

I am responding to your website on the Great Backyard Bird Count. I have a reference that should be a vital source of comparison for this sort of work and am trying to get additional interest from the USA about this. Please consider this or pass it on to anyone who may be interested.

The second edition of my report, now entitled: "Canberra Birds: A Report on the first 21 years of the Garden Bird Survey" is now available but nearly sold out. It is a rework and update of the "Canberra Birds: A Report on the first 18 years of the Garden Bird Survey". I think it is great, exciting, nice to look at, full of good stuff, a fitting tribute to all those who have contributed to the Garden Bird Survey (GBS). This is a detailed analysis of the GBS that has been run by Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, since July 1981. The report is based on the first 21 years of continuous data, from 53244 observer weeks of data, from 1316 observer years of data, from a total of 294 sites. It fully describes the survey's history and methods. It contains a detailed discussion of the literature of urban bird surveys around the world (three pages). It is a very useful reference for anyone who has ever participated in or planned a long-term volunteer based bird population survey. It addresses how observer activity affects results and the importance of habitat at the range of sites. It demonstrates observer differences in results. It details how recording rate relates to assessed abundance of birds and how the connection alters, according to the migratory and social behaviour of birds. It makes vital comparisons between results of the GBS and the COG ACT Bird Atlas. It describes frequency distribution by year at which species were recorded and found breeding. It shows how species diversity and total abundance of bird fauna varies over the year (by month). It describes how residency of birds is assessed. There are 34 Figures (graphs) and 3 data Tables in this first section. Conservation aspects are also addressed.

It also includes 40 pages of text on 165 species where the data are sufficient, on monthly patterns of abundance and/or long term trends in abundance, such as increases, decreases and stability. Also timing and duration of all stages of breeding is given (if recorded). Monthly patterns are interpreted relative to migration, changes in habitat use over the year, seasonal changes in behaviour and breeding. It includes 15 pages of clearly set out graphs of both monthly and long-term abundance, over the 21 years, for 120 species. It includes graphs of frequency by month of each stage of breeding activity for the 18 species with the most breeding records. It includes 11 Appendices of detailed statistical and other supplementary information (statistics on occurrence and breeding of all species and statistics on all sites, plus other items) and over 150 references and a comprehensive index.

The report is 130 pages, printed in plain black with a yellow cover. It is set out to avoid blank space.

The price on this report is $20.00 Australian (US$15). Plus posting for a package and postage fee of Aus $10.00 in a padded bag to USA, plus Aus $10 to cover bank fees on transfers from USA. A stack of published reviews are available if you wish to see these first. Initially this will be available only from:

Philip Veerman
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah ACT 2902
Australia

pveerman@pcug.org.au Please contact me first (preferably by email) before sending any money and to sort out any arrangements. I can also accept payment by electronic funds transfer.

Anonymous said...

I would be careful about this book. Philip Veerman is not a professional ornithologist or science writer.

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