[Ontbirds] Breeding Bird Surveys needed: New travel assistance program for Northern Ontario

Audrey Heagy aheagy at bsc-eoc.org
Mon Apr 20 09:54:15 EDT 2009

Financial Assistance Available for BBS Triple-headers in Northern Ontario!

Are you interested in a northern Ontario birding experience that contributes to boreal bird conservation?  This opportunity may be for you!

A special incentive program is being launched this year to increase Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) coverage in under-surveyed areas in Ontario. The BBS will reimburse travel expenses for skilled birders who agree to run three or more BBS routes in Ontario's boreal forest region. This BBS travel assistance program is being coordinated by Bird Studies Canada, in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Canada.

The volunteer-based BBS is an important source of information on North American birds. BBS results are widely used to track the status of bird populations and focus bird conservation efforts. Currently, only a handful of the Breeding Bird Survey routes in northern Ontario are being surveyed regularly. This region is an important part of Canada's "boreal bird nursery" and additional BBS coverage is urgently needed to track bird populations and advance boreal bird conservation.

Each predetermined BBS route consists of 50 roadside stops. A three-minute point count is done at each stop and all 50 stops must be done the same day. Each survey starts at sunrise and takes about five hours to complete. Routes are surveyed once in June and volunteers are expected to be able to survey the same route for several consecutive years to maintain consistency of reporting.  Because many of these boreal routes have never been run, you will need to scout the route the afternoon or evening before running the route.  More information on the survey methods can be found on the Canadian BBS website<http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/nwrc-cnrf/default.asp?lang=En&n=416B57CA>.

BBS surveyors must be very good at "birding by ear" and able to quickly identify all birds in the area by sight and sound. Previous experience doing point counts is helpful (e.g., for the breeding bird atlas). Having a helper to do the driving is strongly recommended.

To qualify for the special Northern Ontario BBS travel assistance program, participants must be willing to survey at least three northern Ontario BBS routes a year, on an ongoing basis (minimum of three years).  Available routes have been grouped in route packages which can be customized to find the best match between your preferences and the coverage priorities. Under the new program, qualified participants will be compensated for mileage and receive a per diem for food and accommodations.

If you aren't able to commit to doing three routes this year, we are also looking for volunteers who want to cover one or two BBS routes. Expenses will not be reimbursed for single routes or for routes in southern Ontario but tax relief is available.

For more information contact Audrey Heagy, Ontario BBS Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada, aheagy at bsc-eoc.org<mailto:aheagy at bsc-eoc.org>, 1-888-448-2473 x 166.

Audrey Heagy
Bird Conservation Planning Biologist
Bird Studies Canada/Etudes d'Oiseaux Canada
P.O. Box 160, 115 Front Street
Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada, N0E 1M0
Tel.: 519-586-3531 x 166
Toll-Free: 1-888-448-2473 x 166
Fax: 519-586-3532
aheagy at bsc-eoc.org

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