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Looking ahead: available BBS routes in 2019

Occasionally I post on this blog about vacant Breeding Bird Survey Routes.  Usually those posts come in late winter or spring, but I am ahead of the game and already thinking about the summer of 2019.

The 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.  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 a number of available routes in Nebraska for the summer of 2019.  Open routes are shown in yellow and are numbered on the map below.

If you’re interested, you have the opportunity to 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.

Also, there will be some additional, albeit minor, obligations if taking on one of the new routes added within the 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.

Good birding!

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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