How to Report your Count

‘How to’ info – North American Migration Counts

Count all birds seen in your area, both migratory and those that stay all winter. Count only wild birds.

: Traditional types of birding where observer moves from one location to another, during time period from dawn-to-dusk. Observer wanders through area tallying birds seen and/or heard. A quick stop by a feeder is okay but a route from one feeder to the next … to the next, is not.

Miles by foot:
Estimate distance covered by foot to nearest 1/4 mile [ if kms easier, use but identify as such please]

Hours by foot:
includes not only time spent walking, but also if using a modified ‘survey’ method in which you drive a mile or so, then bird a small area, hop in the car, and repeat: all time not actually driving, even if you sit in car or on hood, is tallied in “hours by foot”.

Miles by car:
Include only time spent driving when someone is doing some counting of birds on fence posts, telephone wires or listening [vehicle speed should average around 25 -30 m.p.h.]. Do include miles driven on a ‘modified’ survey as in item above. Please note that each route is to be counted only once for distance; if you double back on the same route do not count it twice. However if you return by a different route count the full distance.

Hours by car:
How much time was actually spent driving between points observing birds.

All of the

  • ‘Canoe/kayak’ also incl. rowboat, raft, inner-tube….
  • ‘Boat’ includes motorized boat or sailboat…..
  • other unusual modes of transportation [such as horseback] follow similar patterns

Feeder Watching:
Observers count all birds seen at their feeding stations and around their ‘yards’ [area visible from windows in their home preferably but if you know birds come to areas around your home not easily visible from windows but can be observed by standing ‘just outside the door’ please include them]; the goal is to count each bird only once during the day. i.e. should a flock of 24 Purple Finches come to your yard during the day and only 6 came to your feeders before departing , count all 24. However if a flock of 24 came several times during the day and you are led to believe this is the same flock each time only count them once. Should smaller numbers of Purple Finches appear around your feeders / yard during the day ,say 3 in the morning but 6 in the afternoon, you would add these to your count of that species also, making 33 for the day. Please also remember to record the time -approx. to the nearest quarter hour – you spend watching your feeding station / yard areas.

“N”is for “NIGHT”
: For “Owling” and other species heard [or seen ] during the ‘wee’ hours – besides the owls these might include herons, Canada Geese, ducks, rails, snipe, Killdeer, Nighthawks ….etc..

Party-hours vs. man-hours:
Here is an example of the difference. A group of ten birders out for 5 hours together is “5 party hours” ; 5 groups of two for 5 hours is “25 party hours” ; ten individual birders out for 5 hours each is “50 party hours” [but in each case 50 man-hours were involved]. However it should be recorded only as the number of ‘party-hours’ and this is deduced by the numbers of “parties” involved as the example indicates.

For uncertain sightings:
For field observers, it is not always possible to provide positive identification of a bird or group of birds seen – possibly because of distance, poor light , time of day, etc. It is still important to record such sightings however, which may be shown as “species” sightings. Species groupings to record if individual species cannot be identified include:

scaup          eagle             jaeger                  phalarope                        wren
scoter         peep              gull                      empidonax (flycatcher)    vireo
buteo          dowitcher     sterna (gull)         chickadee                        blackbird

Unusual sightings:
The birds marked with one or two asterisks * ** do not occur often in Nova Scotia and require substantiating details. For more complete list of birds requiring these details please see Migration Count Form.
Rare Bird Forms may be obtained from Prov. Coordinator if unavailable from local county reps..