We recognize that safety in the outdoors while birding and monitoring is not equal for all of us. Black birders, LGBTQIA+ birders, female-identifying birders, and birders with disabilities all face additional barriers to being safe and accessing opportunities to participate in Audubon's community science work.
We want to be sure that everyone is safe when out surveying for Chimney Swifts, especially since this year's monitoring protocol is focused on finding Chimney Swift nesting and roosting sites at dusk. If you are interested in participating in Chimney Swift monitoring, we recommend that you go out with a birding buddy.
Audubon Vermont is coordinating the matching of Chimney Swift monitoring birding buddies. You can either request a birding buddy or volunteer to be a birding buddy by filling out a brief online<https://act.audubon.org/a/%20swift-buddy> form to provide us with your name, email address, and town. When you request a birding buddy we will get you in contact with someone who has offered to join other birders in your area. We will not share this list with the public, but will reach out privately to individuals. Rae Bronenkant will be coordinating this program. If you have further questions please email her directly at <rae.bronenkant...><mailto:<rae.bronenkant...>
COVID-19 safety considerations for birding buddies:
o If you are a member of a vulnerable population, we ask you take extra precautions for COVID-19 safety while volunteering (older adults, people with medical conditions, racial and ethnic minority groups, people who are pregnant or nursing, people with developmental disabilities, or newly resettled refugee populations - see CDC guidelines<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html> for more information)
o Please follow COVID-19 safety guidelines:
* Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times.
* Wear a cloth mask or face covering.
* Monitor your health for symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) and check your temperature before birding with your birding buddy.
* Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If those aren't available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
* Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as handrails.
* Do NOT share binoculars, field guides, or phones.
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