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2014 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) opportunities

Long-billed Curlew

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a long-term, volunteer-driven bird monitoring program conducted throughout North America.  BBS data are used widely by wildlife agencies, researchers, birders and conservation planners.  I use BBS data all the time, including in my recent blog post about Black-capped Chickadees.  The program began in 1966 and more information about the BBS can be found here.  I am the state BBS coordinator and perhaps my principal duty is to identify and recruit individuals to fill vacant routes.  Running a BBS requires only one morning in June to complete.  It is a great way to experience a back corner of Nebraska that you otherwise may not visit.  Furthermore, it is a great way to contribute to a larger effort that helps everyone understand how bird populations and distributions are changing over time.  Currently, there are six available routes in Nebraska.  Open routes are shown, using green ellipses, on the map below.  UPDATE:  All routes now have an owner thanks to the generosity and dedication of Nebraska’s birders. 

Maximum occupancy
Nebraska’s Breeding Bird Survey routes. A route with a green ellipse is currently vacant and is ready to be adopted.  UPDATE:  All routes now have an owner thanks to the generosity and dedication of Nebraska’s birders. 

YES!, if you’re interested, you could contribute to this program by adopting one of these routes.  However, it is also important to ponder the following sideboards when considering taking on a BBS route.

  1. Observers need access to suitable transportation.
  2. Observers should possess good hearing and eyesight.
  3. Observers need to be able to identify all breeding birds in the route’s area by sight and sound.  Knowledge of bird songs is extremely important because most birds detected on these surveys are singing males.
  4. New BBS participants must also successfully complete the BBS Methodology Training Program before their data will be used in BBS analyses.
  5. Observers should have the intention of running a BBS route for more than one year.

Please contact me (joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov or 402.471.5440) if you feel qualified and are interested in one of the available routes.

Nongame Bird Blog

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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