Christmas Bird Count Tips: Scouting

After you have signed up for a count and are assigned your territory the next thing you need to do is scout the territory. You could go into a new territory cold, but you won't find nearly as much as if you scout it in advance.

1 Get historical intel
When you get a new territory, the compiler will in all likelihood give you some intel for the area on places to check and features that are present. Feel free to ask additional questions and also ask if you can talk to whoever had the territory before you. A couple of years back, I was moved to a new territory and the first thing I did was contact the previous counter who very kindly sent me a two page email filled with information about the area which was incredibly useful, especially since I couldn't get down to the area beforehand for any scouting.

2 Online Information
After you've got the map and acquired all information that you could get, the next step is to go online and research your area. Pull up Google Earth, eBird, and the websites for city parks, county forest preserves, state parks, and any other natural land groups in your area. I like to have a printout of the map and some markers, first I mark out any water (creeks, wetlands, ponds ect) with a blue marker) next any park or eBird hotspot with a green marker, remember at this point you want to mark every park even city neighborhood parks, they may look useless on google, but you'll know for sure when you check them.

3 Location Scouting
Last step is to actually go out and check it out prior to count day, I don't bother with the obvious bird hotspots like large forest preserves or eBird hotspots with more than 100 species, because I know I'm going there on count day and in all likelihood the compiler mentioned those sites as focal points for the area. Instead I'm going to check out those little parks, creeks, and see which neighborhoods have bird feeders or are in sheltered areas.

If you do your scouting in the three days prior to the count, then rare birds that you see might be added to the count week list (see count week https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/rock-cut-christmas-bird-count/journal/60788-christmas-bird-count-tips-count-week). Also remember that compilers usually like to keep people in the same territories year to year, so even on count day I'm thinking about what I'm finding and how I might change my route next year. I've had a few counts where I discovered a park that I didn't know about on the day of the count and factored that into my planning for the next year's count.

Anotado por neylon neylon, 27 de diciembre de 2021 a las 12:53 PM

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