Click Image to See Enlarged, Filled-in Form for 2006
Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project
for Lincoln County, Oregon.
A Project for Individuals, School Classes, or Groups.
by Yaquina Birders and Naturalists
Last Update: 21 September 2009
Goals of Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County, Oregon
Last Update: 19 April 2009
This project is suitable for individuals, school classes, or groups.
One goal of this project is research to document presence and seasonal occurrence of birds at specific sites in Lincoln County. Participants can choose to document birds at their home, neighborhood, work site, or school yard as well as at public areas, including Important Bird Areas (IBA) or parks. With such checklists, comparisons in seasonality can be made among sites and among years.
The second goal is educational to encourage participants to learn more about birds in Lincoln County through observing birds and recording their observations. One way of recording observations is to write field notes in a journal. Unfortunately, it is difficult to readily learn much from notes in a journal without additional, time-consuming analyses that observers generally do not get around to doing.
Alternatively, participants in this Checklists Project can learn about birds at their study area (see Potential Sites) as they complete a data form directly or from records in their journal. The data sheets have been created to be simple and self-compiling. Self-compiling means that as a form is filled out for each semimonthly period, the results of previous periods are also visible (e.g., see example of a filled-in form for 2006). Learning through doing can be very effective.
Information about checklist projects are available in the References. Other checklist projects available for participants in Lincoln County are discussed in Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations.
Advantages of Semimonthly Records
Last Update: 10 January 2009
The background of this project will be examined in detail in the future.
Based on my experience with the semimonthly format for Lincoln County as a whole (Bayer 1995a, 1995b), I chose semimonthly checklists for sites for several reasons.
- Semimonthly record-keeping is frequent enough to keep an observer's interest, but not frequent enough to wear out an observer or a compiler. Semimonthly is more frequent than monthly, so semimonthly records would also be more sensitive to changes in seasonal occurrence. More frequent record-keeping such as daily or weekly is even more sensitive to migration changes but can be too frequent for participants to sustain regularly throughout a year and also makes compiling results more difficult.
- The Lincoln County semimonthly checklist is an easy format for participants to fill out. Others have suggested more complicated checklists by including counts of bird numbers and recording observation times and other standardized data such as weather (e.g., see References). But this results in a checklist project becoming more like a systematic censusing project, and as the complexity of observations and data recording increases, the number of volunteer participants can be expected to decline. If volunteers wanted to do a more systematic monitoring project, they could do so as they are available (e.g., see other projects).
- A semimonthly checklist implicitly reminds observers to continue to make regular observations. Every two weeks, a blank column reminds an observer that it is time to record which species are now present.
- A semimonthly checklist is self-compiling, so that a participant can see the results at a glance as he or she fills out the form (e.g., see example of a filled-in form for 2006). This empowers the participant to see seasonal patterns, an overview of the year, and to learn from his or her own observations. I realized that I might not be able to do timely reports, but that participants could still benefit from seeing their self-compiling results. In contrast, participants would submit their observations but not see the results until others complete a report for the daily or weekly checklist format recommended or used by others (e.g., see Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations and References). Further, in many of those projects, the results are pooled for many observers, so that a participant would not see the results for his or her observations.
- Semimonthly checklists are flexible and compatible with recording observations in a journal. More notes and details can be written in a journal, but it is difficult to readily learn much about bird seasonality from notes in a journal without additional, time-consuming analyses. Alternatively, you can use a journal for recording daily observations or details of what you see and then use these observations to fill out the semimonthly data forms to see seasonal patterns throughout the year.
- Semimonthly checklists are easy to read on standard computer monitors as a row only requires a width of 83 columns for January-December results. If a row is much wider, computer users would have to scroll sidewise and thereby miss viewing a whole year at a time. This benefits participants, readers, and data compilers.
- Semimonthly checklists take much less time to make a report. The form can be directly entered into a computer file, with no need for me or others to compile bird lists, which is time consuming. Daily or weekly checklists may better monitor birds if participants are willing to use them, but I do not have the time to input and edit the data as well as prepare a report of the results.
Option: Participate in More Than One Project with the Same Observations
Last Update: 10 January 2009
An individual, school class, or group can participate in the Semimonthly Project and in other projects using the same observations to report birds in different formats. Projects do not have to compete for observers or the observers' time. Sharing observations in more than one project can be helpful.
Below are projects that an observer in Lincoln County may participate in.
Year-around Bird Record Projects
- A personal, class, or group journal. Writing notes and sketching birds in a journal is a great way to document birds that you see. But it is difficult to readily learn much about seasonality of birds from notes in a journal without additional, time-consuming analyses. However, observations in a journal can be used to fill out the semimonthly data forms to see seasonal patterns throughout the year.
- The Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County.
- Bird Field Notes column in the Sandpiper, the newsletter of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists. As the compiler for this column, I compile records from OBOL (see below) as well as lists of bird reports sent to me. Highlights are published in the Sandpiper and are available, starting in 1993, at bird.htm#recent; the raw notes written on paper or saved in computer files are in my files and are not very accessible.
- Oregon Birders OnLine (OBOL) is a free email discussion group for bird observations in Oregon. This is not an organized project, but participants post sightings, so it serves as an archive of sightings that have been submitted to it. Records are not compiled, but archive files are computer searchable. Archives are available from 1999 to the present at http://oregonbirdwatch.org/mailman/listinfo/obol and recent sightings are at http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/OBOL.html. Lincoln County data are available at their web site.
- Birdnotes.net. This is a checklist project. The goal of Birdnotes.net is to "gather information on bird distribution throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia." To locate records for Lincoln County, go to their web site and select "Generate custom checklists for states, counties, or other places," then select "Lincoln County," and "Generate Checklist," and then "Show counts which contribute to this report" Results are counts or presence data for a single day. Registration is free. Lincoln County data are available at their web site as individual daily reports--they have not been compiled.
- eBird. This is a checklist project by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. Records for individual Lincoln County sites are accessible to the observer reporting the observations, but not to others.
- CoastWatch is a volunteer project of Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition monitoring one-mile segments of the Oregon coast, including Lincoln County. This is not a checklist project. Some, but not all, of their reports include bird species noted live. Results available online to everyone began in 2007; go to their web site, select "Lincoln" tab, and "Mile Reports Browser."
Seasonal Projects that Include Lincoln County
- A personal, class, or group journal. You can choose to only make observations for certain seasons of the year.
- The Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County. Observations for 4 months or more during a year are helpful!
- Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) are coordinated by the National Audubon Society. There has been only one CBC in Lincoln County in recent years. The Yaquina Bay CBC pools results for Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay Important Bird Areas as well as other areas within the 15 mile diameter Count Circle, so data are not available for specific sites. Results for each CBC are available at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/hr/index.html; for the Yaquina Bay CBC, the Circle ID is ORYB.
- Project FeederWatch is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. It is a project during the winter. Data are available online only for the State, not individual sites. There were four sites in Lincoln County during the 2006-2007 winter (see map at http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/PFW/ExploreData).
- The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the Canadian Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Research Centre. Data and information are widely available at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBS/; there are two BBS routes in Lincoln County, Salado (Route number 009) and Waldport (Route number 209). There is one survey for each route in June (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBS/about/); "Each survey route is 24.5 miles long with stops at 0.5-mile intervals. At each stop, a 3-minute point count is conducted. During the count, every bird seen within a 0.25-mile radius or heard is recorded." So observations are for a route, not a specific site.
- The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. It occurs during four days in February. Select "Explore the Results" tab, select "State Tallies" tab, select "Oregon," and year. Results from lists are widely available, but are pooled for each town and "all postal codes associated with the town," so they are not specific to a site.
- The Big Sit! is an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest for one day in October. Results are are widely available online, but are not given for specific locations, only apparently for the nearest town or city. In 2006, there were no results for a site in Lincoln County, although there has been Lincoln participants in the past.
- The North American Migration Count in Oregon is coordinated by the East Cascades Bird Observatory for one-day counts in May and September. Data are pooled for the entire County, so records for specific locations are not available. Contact them for results.
- Oregon Winter Raptor Surveys are coordinated by the East Cascades Birds Observatory (ECBC). Lincoln County results have also been posted to Oregon Birders OnLine and published in Yaquina Birders & Naturalists newsletter, the Sandpiper.
- International Brant Monitoring Project. Participants include students, wildlife biologists, concerned citizens, National Estuarine Research Reserves, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various others along the Pacific Flyway. Observations for sites are widely available in the "Log" link at their web site.
- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the 2006 Black Oystercatcher Coastwide Survey in Oregon that included sites in Oregon. Contact them for results.
Potential Semimonthly Project Sites
Last Update: 10 January 2009
Pick an area at your feeder, yard, neighborhood, work site, or school yard to watch! Learn about the birds around you!
And/or pick a public area such as a park or an Important Bird Area (IBA) in Lincoln County. Bird occurrence and seasonality is monitored at few public areas in Lincoln County. Accordingly, at least one observation per month and preferably one observation in the first half and the last half of a month (i.e., semimonthly) at a public area of your choosing or at one of those below that are arranged from north to south (links to information about many of these sites will be added in the future) would be helpful:
- Salmon River Estuary (Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of HWY 101 and south of Three Rocks Road to the Estuary mouth--does not include ocean; Knight Park alone would be good)
- Devils Lake
- D River State Recreation Site
- North Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of HWY 101, north of Cutler City, and to mouth of Bay, does not include Salishan Spit or the ocean)
- North Salishan Spit (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; only includes undeveloped sandy spit at north end of Salishan Spit where waterbirds often roost)
- South Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; water, intertidal area, and marshes west of HWY 101 and south of Cutler City; most of the marshes along the east side are part of the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge--does not include Salishan Spit)
- East Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; SEE BIRDING TRAIL GUIDE FOR DESCRIPTION)
- Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint and ocean visible therefrom
- West Depoe Bay (water and intertidal area west of HWY 101 seawall)
- Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint (which is also known as Whale Cove) and ocean visible therefrom
- Devil's Punch Bowl State Natural Area and ocean visible therefrom
- Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (Important Bird Area; area within YHONA and ocean visible from YHONA)
- West Yaquina Bay Bridge and South Jetty (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; land near the Yaquina Bay South Jetty Road and water and intertidal area west of Yaquina Bay Bridge to the mouth of the jetties--does not include ocean)
- HMSC and Idaho Flats (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; area visible from the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center; only the aquatic portion is included as part of the Yaquina Bay IBA)
- Sally's Bend (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area in the embayment east of the Newport Liquefied Natural Gas [LNG] tank)
- Mike Miller Park and Educational Trail
- Ona Beach State Park (land and water west of HWY 101 to the ocean--does not include ocean)
- Lower Beaver Creek (water and marsh east of HWY 101 to the junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads)
- North Beaver Creek (water and marsh along North Beaver Creek Road upstream of junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads)
- South Beaver Creek (water and marsh along South Beaver Creek Road upstream of junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads, including Seal Rock Stables)
- Seal Rocks (Seal Rocks State Park and area west of HWY 101 south to Quail Street)
- West Alsea Bay (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of the Alsea Bay Bridge and to the mouth of Bay--does not include Alsea Bay Spit or ocean)
- South Alsea Bay Spit (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; only includes undeveloped sandy spit at south end of Alsea Bay Spit where waterbirds often roost)
- East Alsea Bay (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area east of the Alsea Bay Bridge to the mouth of Eckman Lake)
- Eckman Lake (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and marsh south of Highway 34 and north of the gravel road crossing the south end of Eckman Lake)
- Yachats Community Park
- Yachats Bay (water and intertidal area in the "bay" west of HWY 101 and between the westernmost points of land north and south of the mouth of the Yachats River; see Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide sites 87 and 88).
Sites that have been recently monitored in Lincoln County are less than 500 ft in elevation. But there appears to be differences in bird communities between those at elevations less than 500 ft and those above 1,500 ft in Lincoln County. Hopefully, someone will regularly monitor a site above 1,500 ft or at least above 1,000 ft.
Semimonthly Data Forms to Use
Last Update: 22 December 2008
The semimonthly checklist data forms were revised in December 2008 (e.g., the previous Sheet B). Major revisions include:
Data Sheets in PDF Files. When printing these forms, the darkness may need to be adjusted so that the shading does not come out too dark to make it hard to see writing or too light that shading is lost.
- option of using "X" or 1-5 exponential abundance scale to denote the presence or relative abundance of a species
- shading of some columns and rows to make it easier to accurately record the presence of species across and down a page
- Data Sheet B has more species in alphabetical order (33 in the short form, 77 in the long form). This makes it quicker and easier to find common species.
Details Needed to Document Rare or Rare Unseasonal Birds
Last Update: 25 December 2008, Links Last Checked: 15 December 2008
During semimonthly observations, you may see a bird rare or very unseasonal in Lincoln County (gg4.htm), along the Oregon Coast (see "Birding Trail Checklist" at http://www.oregoncoastbirding.com/), or in Oregon (see "Checklist of Oregon Birds" at http://www.oregonbirds.org/). To document your sighting, it helps to take photos (sometimes even a cell phone photo can be sufficient!) and to write down details about it. Please also promptly report it because others would also like to see it.
At the local and state levels, we strive to include only records of accurately identified birds. So, when reporting a rare or rare unseasonal bird, expect questions, whether you are a novice or expert birder. Remember to not take questions personally. It is details about the bird and its identity that are the focus of questions, not the observer. Often, what may have first seemed to have been a rare bird may not have been. Further, a bird only may be briefly glimpsed or details needed to make a conclusive identification may not have been noted. Accordingly, it may not be possible to conclusively identify all birds that we see or hear sufficiently for a record to be accepted. Sometimes this will mean that a valid identification of a rarity will not be accepted because there are not enough documentation and details to prove the identification beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Oregon Bird Records Committee "Rare Bird Report Form" (http://www.oregonbirds.org/obrc_form.html) is an excellent guide to details that are useful in documenting a bird's identity. Some of the questions include the number, sex, plumage, and age of the bird observed; date(s) of observation, and location and habitat types at the observation site. Other details should include "only what was actually observed, not what should have been seen or heard." Write down field marks of the bird that were actually observed, including the color of the bird's bill, eye, throat, back, chest, belly, wings, tail, and legs. Also comment about bill shape, and relative proportions of bill and legs, if relevant to identifying the bird. If heard, also describe the bird's song, calls, or notes. Additionally, describe the light conditions in observing the bird, distance to the bird, observation duration, optical equipment used to observe the bird, and time of day.
If the bird is rare for Oregon, please send your report to the Oregon Bird Records Committee (the Secretary Harry Nehls' email address is at the top of http://www.oregonbirds.org/obrc_form.html) and email a copy to me (Range Bayer) for our Lincoln County records. If the bird is rare for Lincoln County or is rare for the season, please email your report to Range.
Records of rare or rare unseasonal species will be classed as Confirmed or Unconfirmed. Unconfirmed records may be of birds that were accurately identified.
- Confirmed=record of a rare or very unseasonal species that was confirmed by a specimen, photograph, or adequate details from two or more experienced observers or acceptance by the Oregon Bird Records Committee (OBRC).
- Unconfirmed=record of a rare or very unseasonal species that needs additional documentation or more observers to confirm. Occasionally, a record of a common or uncommon species will be listed as Unconfirmed if there is a question about the accuracy of the identification and the species is unusual for a particular site (e.g., Eurasian Starlings mimic many other species, so a identification based only on hearing a bird that could be mimicked by a starling is open to question). A report categorized as Unconfirmed may have been correctly identified.
Thanks for your cooperation!
Results--Draft for 2006
Last Update: 30 December 2008
PDF Draft of Results for 2006 (28 pages, 164K). In future drafts, I will add more information about the study area and observation methods for each site.
Role of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N) in Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County
Last Update: 13 April 2009
This is an all-volunteer project that was made possible by Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N).
Each year, starting in 1992, this Project was announced in the Sandpiper, the newsletter of YB&N. Data sheets (e.g., see Forms and Example of a Filled-in Form) were included with the announcement, and YB&N paid for the cost of publishing the announcements and for the forms in most years as part of the expenses of the Sandpiper.
Almost all participants have also been members of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N).
Last Update: 22 December 2008
This gives some of the many references about checklist programs. Checklist projects that are available for participants in Lincoln County are discussed in Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations.
Andrews, B., B. Righter, and M. Carter. 1992. A proposed format for local bird checklists. Colorado Field Ornithologists' Journal 26(1):12-18.
Anonymous. 2000. Canadian Bird Checklist Program.
Anonymous. 2008a. Bird monitoring in North America. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Anonymous 2008b. WSO research: checklist project. Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.
Bayer, R. D. 1995a. Background of the Birds of Lincoln County Project and recommendations for others planning similar projects. J. Oregon Ornithology 4:353-394.
Bayer, R. D. 1995b. Semimonthly bird records through 1992 for Lincoln County, Oregon; part II: records sorted by species. J. Oregon Ornithology 4:395-543.
Cyr, A. and J. Larivee. 1993. A checklist approach for monitoring neotropical migrant birds: twenty-year trends in birds of Quebec using ÉPOQ. P. 229-236 in Finch, D. M. and P. W. Stangel (eds.), Status and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds: September 21-25, 1992, Estes Park, Colorado. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. Fort Collins, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service.
Downes, C. M., J. Bart, B. T. Collins, B. Craig, B. Dale, E. H. Dunn, C. M. Francis, S. Woodley, and P. Zorn. 2005. Small-scale monitoring--can it be integrated with large-scale programs? USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191.
Droege, S., A. Cyr, and J. Larivee. 1998. Checklists: an under-used tool for the inventory and monitoring of plants and animals. Conservation Biology 12:1134-1138.
Dunn, E. 1995. Recommended methods for regional checklist programs. Prepared for the Extensive Monitoring Technical Committee of the Migration Monitoring Council June, 1995. On 6 September 2008, this is also at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/extensive.html
Dunn, E.H., J. Larivee, and A Cyr. 1996. Can checklist programs be used to monitor populations of birds recorded during the migration season? Wilson Bulletin 108:540-549.
Joseph, L. N., S. A. Field, C. Wilcox, and H. P. Possingham. 2006. Presence-absence versus abundance data for monitoring threatened species. Conservation Biology 20:1679-1687.
Manley, P. N., M. D. Schlesinger, J. K. Roth, and B. Van Horne. 2005. A field-based evaluation of a presence-absence protocol for monitoring ecoregional-scale biodiversity. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:950-966. On 22 September 2008, this along with some other relevant references to this subject is at http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/snrc/bio_diversity/habitat_relationship_terrestrial_sub5/msim.shtml
Marsh, D. M. and P. C. Trenham. 2008. Current trends in plant and animal population monitoring. Conservation Biology 22:647-655.
Parody, J. M., F. J. Cuthbert, and E. H. Decker. 2001. The effect of 50 years of landscape change on species richness and community composition. Global Ecology & Biogeography 10:305-313.
Pollock, J. F. 2006. Detecting population declines over large areas with presence-absence, time-to-encounter, and count survey methods. Conservation Biology 20: 882-892.
Roberts, R. L., P. F. Donald, and I. J. Fisher. 2005. Wordbirds: developing a web-based data collection system for the global monitoring of bird distribution and abundance. Biodiversity and Conservation 14:2807-2820.
Temple, S. A. and B. L. Temple. 1976. Avian population trends in central New York State, 1935-1972. Bird-Banding 47:238-257.
Temple, S. A., J. R. Cary, and R. Rolley. 1997. Wisconsin birds: a seasonal and geographical guide. Second edition. Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison Wisconsin.
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