Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nightjar Surveys June 16-30--Volunteers Needed!

Dear Auduboners,

It’s time to start planning for this year’s nightjar surveys! Our nightjar surveys must be conducted between June 16th and June 30th. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this effort, the Laramie Audubon Society is a yearly participant in a National Nightjar Survey that was initiated in 2007 by the Center for Conservation Biology.

Nightjars are enigmatic, nocturnally-active birds whose populations are thought to be declining throughout North America. Wyoming has two species of nightjars: Common Nighthawk and Common Poorwill. In 2009, Laramie Audubon adopted five survey routes in the vicinity of Laramie (Sybille Canyon, Buford, Harmony, Fox Park, and Rock River). We will be surveying these same routes in 2013 during the established survey period.

The night surveys are fairly easy and really enjoyable. It’s great to be able to spend a few hours collecting data for an important national bird conservation effort. Surveys take no more than two hours and consist of making 10 stops along an established route. At each stop, we count the number of nightjars heard during a 6-minute period and fill out our observations on a data sheet. It is important to have good hearing to conduct these surveys. Surveys have to take place on a relatively clear night when the moon is more than 50 percent full and when there is not too much wind (these requirements can be challenging for the Laramie area!). Surveys begin at least 30 minutes after sunset and must be completed after moonrise and before moonset.  You can do the surveys alone, but it’s easier to work in teams.

If you are interested in participating in these surveys please e-mail me to let me know at For those who would like to participate, I will explain the protocols and data collection, and hand out data sheets, sunset/moonrise/moonset times, and survey route maps on Tuesday June 11 at 6 pm and Wednesday June 12 at 6 pm in the Student Union – at the seating area across from the coffee shop on the main level. Hopefully anybody who is interested will be able to make one of those dates. If not, you can call me at 307-742-6138 to set up an alternate time to meet with me.

Thanks to those who decide to participate and let’s hope the weather cooperates this year!


P.S. For those who prefer hiking and doing daytime bird surveys, we will be conducting our annual Brown-capped Rosy-Finch survey on July 20, 2012 this year. More information about that survey to come soon...

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