Date: 6/8/18 8:53 am
From: <festuca...>
Subject: [Tweeters] Citizen Science - Keystone Breeding Bird Survey


Hi folks,



Earlier this week, I went over to the Channeled Scabland country to run a couple of Breeding Bird Surveys for the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Patuxent also oversees the US Bird Banding Laboratory, the North American Bird Phenology Program, and the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. You can find out more about this agency - doing *real* science - at https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/aboutus/



The BBS is a long-term, large-scale, international avian monitoring program initiated in 1966 to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. Patuxent and the Canadian Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Research Center jointly coordinate the BBS program.



I’ve been running a survey route for over 20 years. The “Keystone” route starts at Cow Lake, over east of Ritzville, and runs north up the Cow Creek valley, then through the sagebrush and wheat fields & across Crab Creek, up to the Lords Creek drainage, and ends up along Highway 23 about 6 miles south of Harrington. The point count starts ½ hour before sunrise (4:26 a.m.), and you tally & enumerate every species you see or hear for 3 minutes. Then, you jump in the car, drive for ½ mile, and do another 3 minute count. Repeat this 50 times. Birds seen in-between stops aren’t counted - accounting for the fact that I've never counted a Shrike *during* the survey...



Here’s the counts for the Keystone BBS route (89-057). The species and numbers seen, and the number of stops at which they were seen. The 'zeros' indicate species that I'd picked up through the years that weren't tallied this year. The 57 total species seen is on the high side of average. I was surprised to pick up a new species for this survey route - a Tree Swallow!




Birds Stops

American Wigeon 2 1

Mallard 2 1

Northern Pintail 3 1

Cinnamon Teal 1 1

Northern Shoveler 0 0

Green-winged Teal 0 0

Canvasback 0 0

Redhead 6 1

California Quail 2 2

Ring-necked Pheasant 20 17

Western Grebe 2 1

Double-crested Cormorant 1 1

American White Pelican 10 2

American Bittern 1 1

Black-crowned Night-Heron 0 0

Northern Harrier 8 8

Swainson's Hawk 10 9

Red-tailed Hawk 8 6

Ferruginous Hawk 2 1

American Kestrel 2 2

American Coot 5 2

Killdeer 3 2

Long-billed Curlew 1 1

Wilson's Snipe 2 2

Ring-billed Gull 40 5

California Gull 1 1

Rock Pigeon 20 6

Eurasian Collared-Dove 4 4

Mourning Dove 13 9

Great Horned Owl 1 1

Short-eared Owl 1 1

Common Nighthawk 1 1

Western Wood-Pewee 1 1

Willow Flycatcher 4 3

Say's Phoebe 9 7

Western Kingbird 14 11

Eastern Kingbird 1 1

Common Raven 13 10

Horned Lark 88 34

Tree Swallow 1 1

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1 1

Cliff Swallow 49 12

Barn Swallow 23 7

House Wren 3 2

Marsh Wren 1 1

American Robin 4 4

Sage Thrasher 2 2

European Starling 70 15

Brewer's Sparrow 5 5

Vesper Sparrow 12 10

Savannah Sparrow 42 26

Grasshopper Sparrow 15 12

Song Sparrow 1 1

Red-winged Blackbird 29 11

Western Meadowlark 103 33

Yellow-headed Blackbird 17 2

Brewer's Blackbird 22 8

Brown-headed Cowbird 7 5

Bullock's Oriole 1 1

House Finch 5 1

House Sparrow 6 5

Total Species 57

Total individuals 721



There are a number of ‘vacant’ routes across the State, and I heartily recommend that those Tweeters with a hankering to participate in “Citizen Science” should look into picking up a route. There’s nothing more pleasing than waiting for the count to start, listening to the Dawn Chorus, and knowing that your birding will help monitor the birds that are the basis for this crazy obsession of ours.



Best,

Jon. Anderson

Olympia



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