Methods of the NNF Bird Survey
The Nicolet National Forest Bird Survey uses the standard 10 minute point count method described by Howe et al. (Howe, R.W., G.J. Niemi, S.J. Lewis, and D.A. Welsh. 1997. A standard method for monitoring songbird populations in the Great Lakes Region. Passenger Pigeon 59(3):183-194.). This is a very simple method where an observer records all birds seen and heard from a single point (survey site) during a 10 minute period. A standardized bird point Census Form is used to record the data. It is slightly more complicated than the method itself, but is designed to maximize compatibility with other bird census methods and to encourage documentation of all information obtained during the count. Birders are provided with Census Instructions. A separate Site Evaluation Form is completed in order to provide more information about the survey site. Approximately 150 sites are surveyed every year. Point counts have been completed (one or more years) at 522 Survey Sites.
The Bird Survey begins early Friday morning the second weekend in June. Participants in the Bird Survey work in teams, consisting of one or more group leaders who are experts in bird song identification. Other members of the team participate as timekeeper, navigator, or data recorder. Each team is assigned a group of approximately 6-10 sites for the morning surveys. Some are located along roads, while others require a short hike into the target habitat. Road access points are marked in advance, and directions are provided along with topographic maps. In order to reach the sites from headquarters, teams typically leave camp by about 3:45-4:00 (a.m.!). Most groups complete their assigned sites by approximately 9:00 am. Upon returning to camp, groups complete the data forms (to facilitate computerized data entry) and check the forms for accuracy. The rest of the day is free for exploring the forest, visiting with friends, and of course taking a nap.... Several other events, including a picnic and contests, are scheduled on Saturday.