The Bird Conservation Network Survey needs citizen scientists to record bird distribution and abundance information for birds in the Greater Chicago region.
Bird monitors can participate at different levels:
- If you have a special interest in a particular site, you can become a regular monitor at that site and keep a year-round watch on the birds that nest, winter, or migrate through that site.
- You may help track changes in nesting populations by conducting point count surveys during the breeding season.
- You may visit a site during the nesting season and record numbers and species of birds just as you would on a Christmas Count.
- If you do not have the time to become a regular site monitor, you can still contribute your sightings.
The Bird Conservation Network has created a set of standardized methods for studying the birds of the Chicago Wilderness region. These methods can serve a variety of research purposes while also allowing birders to participate at different levels of intensity. Participants commit to making five or more visits to the site each year with at least two of those visits coming during breeding season (June). Also, participants should be able to recognize Illinois birds by sight and sound. By general rule, a birder should have about at least three years of experience with field identification of birds in the Illinois area.
The goals of this study are to generate a general picture of bird distribution in the region, to collect data to assist land managers and conservation planners in decision making, and to create a database compatible with other types of habitat data being gathered in the region which can be used by researchers investigating specific ecosystem questions.