Date: 2/24/18 2:25 pm
From: Brent Ortego <brentortego...>
In response to my first request I filled 5 vacancies but added 8 new ones.

I have added information on available species for each of the vacant routes below which might help you make a decision.

Vacant routes are available through most of Texas with the exception of the Panhandle and the Coast, and near major population centers.

Hope to hear from you

Brent Ortego

Texas BBS Editor

This is my 2nd request for volunteer sign-up to conduct roadside breeding bird surveys (BBS) in Texas during 2018. There are 3 vacancies in West Texas, 0 in the Panhandle, 2 in North Central Texas, 3 in Central Texas, 4 in Northeast Texas, 6 in Southeast Texas, 0 in the Coastal Prairie, and 5 in South Texas. Read below for more details.

For 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 i
t might mean 70 species.

National 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. Texas Parks 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 23 vacancies. The National Office has started listing 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 statistically valid 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.

I am listing below vacant routes by geographic areas. Species data for each route can be obtained at the link = 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.


No vacancies!


Route 088 Altuda Brewster County

1967 – 2015; 37 years; 29 -43 species, expect low 30’s

Lots of Cassin’s Sparrows

Route 099 Slaughter Hudspeth County

1968 – 2014; 27 years; 11-34 species, expect 30

Desert community

Route 418 Pumpville Val Verde County

2006 – 2012; 6 years; 39-45 species, expect 42

3 species of orioles


Route 078 Grayback Wilbarger County

1968 – 2012; 40 years; 22-47 species, expect low 40’s

Good numbers of Bobwhite

Route 360 Decatur Wise County

1995 – 2016; 15 years; 34-57 species, expect 40

3 species of orioles


Route 237 Carlos Brazos County

1993 – 2013; 19 years; 37-56 species; expect 40

4 species of warbler and 2 oriole species

Route 249 Thornton 3 Limestone County


Route 353 Hawley Jones County

1994 – 2013; 18 years; 34-50 species; expect 45

Lots of Bobwhite


Route 056 Morton Harrison County

1970 – 2012; 30 years; 40-76 species; expect mid 50’s

13 species of warblers; historic Bachman’s Sparrow site

Route 057 Crossroads Harrison County

1967 – 2016; 43 years; 41-73 species; expect mid 60’s

13 species of warblers including Swainson’s Warbler

Route 058 Athens Henderson County

1968 – 2016; 42 years; 47-77 species, expect mid 50’s

9 species of warblers

Route 358 Gambill Refuge Lamar County

1995 – 2016; 7 years; 37-61 species, expect 50


Route 033 Livingston Polk

1969 – 2016; 47 years; 40-68 species, expect 50

Route 044 Diboll Angelina

1968 – 2016; 47 years; 38-72 species, expect 48

14 species of warblers including Swainson’s Warbler

And Bachman’s Sparrow

Route 334 Powell Park San Augustine County

1995 – 2015; 13 years; 45-56 species, expect 48

12 species of warblers

Route 904 Big Sandy BITH Polk

2015 – 2016; 2 years; 39-42 species

9 species of warblers including Swainson’s Warbler

Route 905 Lance Rosier BITH Hardin

2014 – 2016; 48-50 species

7 species of warblers including Swainson’s Warbler

Route 906 Neches BITH

2016; 54 years 5 species of warblers


No vacancies!


Route 118 Catarina 2 Dimmit County

2011-2014; 3 years; 53-61 species, expect 53

3 species of orioles and 4 species of caprimulgids

Route 204 Guerra Zapata County

1988 – 2013; 19 years; 32-58 species, expect mid 50’s

4 species of orioles

Route 209 Encinal 2 La Salle County

2011 – 2016; 6 years; 59-67 species, expect 60 years

2 species of orioles and 4 species of Caprimulgid

Route 308 Three Rivers Live Oak County

1994 – 2015; 18 years; 41-65 species, expect 50

4 species of oriole. Lots of Cassin’s Sparrow

Route 409 Millett La Salle County

2013 – 2017; 50-60 species, expect 55

3 species of Orioles, lots of quail

 location of route maps raw data online retrieval system link provides location of species totals by route by year. Explore US Results and Analysis tab. BBS Methods

Brent Ortego


Victoria, TX

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