COG October Bird Blitz 28-29 October 2017

Make a day of it! Lunch time break for a team effort last year, in a far corner of Namadgi National Park.

Make a day of it! Lunch time break for a team effort last year, in a far corner of Namadgi National Park.

Yes, it is on again, on the weekend of 28-29 October – COG’s annual effort to record all species of birds present in the ACT across as wide a variety of habitats as possible, as well as to record any breeding activity.

Resources and contact

Who can participate?

All COG members and friends are warmly encouraged to participate, so that we can cover as much of the ACT as possible. Join us for a fun weekend of birding for a cause.

Where to survey?

COG members are encouraged to “adopt” one or more locations or entire grid cells, and those already adopted will be shown on our website and updated from time to time. But don’t be perturbed if your favorite location has been taken – multiple surveyors per location are quite acceptable, though it would be good if you took on at least one unclaimed site as well. Think about giving an unknown area a try – it might prove exciting. In order to claim a grid cell or site, please put in your bid to Barbara Allan, the blitz organizer, on blitz@canberrabirds.org.au or phone her on 6254 6520.

If you are very familiar with a site and regularly survey there, or do BirdLife Australia-registered two hectare surveys there, you would probably be the best person to survey that site for the blitz if you can. But if last years’ sites were boring or unpleasant or bird-free zones, pick somewhere new this time. Or better still, do a 2-ha 20-min survey to “cover” the site, then move on to somewhere more interesting. If you are a beginner, probably the easiest way to participate is to do a survey in your local park or nature reserve – but remember only to record the birds whose identity you are absolutely sure of. And if work or family commitments preclude you from doing much at all, be sure to try and do at least a 20-minute, 2-ha survey of your own backyard and environs, to support COG’s blitz.

As usual, depending on the weather and Namadgi National Park management, we hope to be able to conduct surveys beyond the locked gates in the Park. The organizer is looking for more 4WDs and competent drivers to tackle the fire trails. Please contact Barbara if you’d like to be involved and/or if you have room in your vehicle and are willing to take passengers.

What kinds of survey are acceptable?

All standard BirdLife Australia survey methods are acceptable – just indicate on the electronic or hard-copy datasheet which one you used:

  • 20 minute survey – record all species observed in a 20-minute period over 2 hectares (roughly a rectangle of 100 m x 200 m; or circle of radius 80 m)
  • 500 m survey – record all species observed within 500 m of a central spot, time unlimited but at least 20 mins
  • 5 km survey – record all species observed within 5 km of a central spot, time unlimited (though please stay within the one grid cell).

Remember to record the abundance of each bird species seen – e.g. 2 Laughing Kookaburra; plus any indication of breeding using the following codes: ih (inspecting hollow); co (copulating); nb (nest building); ny (nest with young); cf (carrying food); dy (dependent young). Only record species you are sure about. If you see a bird species on COG’s “unusuals” list, take a photo of it, if at all possible; take copious field notes of all the details you observe and report any features you didn’t see; then submit a completed unusual bird report form with your hard-copy datasheet or email it to rarities@canberrabirds.org.au.

How to record survey results – data sheets and forms

Record your observations either electronically or on paper (one dataset or sheet per location). There are two ways of doing this:

  • On paper – blank datasheets are available: a) at COG meetings; b) from the organiser; or c) print some out yourself from the COG website here.
  • Electronically using eBird, or contact Barbara for other possibilities.

Submitting your results

If you record your bird observations electronically via eBird, please use the “share the data” option with Barbara. If you use hard-copy datasheets, please either: a) mail them to COG blitz records, PO Box 301, Civic Square ACT 2608; b) deliver them to Barbara; or c) hand them in at the November COG meeting.

Prizes!

While most of us find the act of going out and recording birds rewarding enough in itself, it is good if we can offer modest incentives such as participation “lucky draw” prizes. If you are prepared to donate books, wine, DVDs, native plants or anything suitable as a blitz prize, the organizer would love to hear from you!

Information updates

There will be regular blitz updates on this page, including lists of unloved sites awaiting adoption, so do check it out. Accounts of the outcome will be published in Gang-gang and Canberra Bird Notes in due course.

Spacer