Audubon and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Need Your Help this Spring
Participate in Audubon’s Waterbird Watch Program
We are sending you this message because you indicated you had some bird identification experience when you registered as a volunteer. Because of the Deep Horizon oil catastrophe, the coastal environment—especially bird habitat—has been degraded. With spring migration underway, we are concerned about the use of that habitat by migrants and are seeking volunteers to survey birds at select National Wildlife Refuges in five southeastern states.
|Audubon volunteers surveying migratory birds on Louisiana's Gulf Coast. |
Photo by Gerry Ellis.
Last fall, in coordination with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, we started a new bird monitoring program called Audubon’s Waterbird Watch. Volunteers surveyed a handful of National Wildlife Refuges, which had been actively managed to attract waterbirds and other migrants and provide additional stopovers for our feathered friends, to see how migrating birds were using these sites. This data collection is an important part of our ongoing work to document impacts of the oil spill on birds and their habitats and also to better understand how birds are using inland locations during migration. We are now starting the program back up for the spring migration season season, focusing on National Wildlife Refuges that are also Important Bird Areas.
We will be using a survey protocol that Audubon has developed to count birds and monitor habitat use by migrant shorebirds, as well as all other birds encountered. Data will be stored in eBird, where it will be immediately available to the public, Audubon, USFWS, and other federal and state agencies for analyses. We need experienced birders and those willing to learn who would be available to do these surveys twice a month from now until the end of spring migration, and possibly into early summer. Ideally, volunteers should be relatively close to the refuges (see list on the registration form) so that transportation to and from the refuge will not be an issue, and so housing is not a factor. If you are interested in this exciting opportunity to participate in this Audubon/Fish & Wildlife Service partnership survey on National Wildlife Refuges in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas, please follow the link below to a short registration form. The refuge monitoring surveys will complement the existing Audubon Coastal Bird Survey program that some of you may already be participating in.
Register here: www.audubonaction.org/refugesurvey
We will collect registrations and select volunteers based on experience, location, and availability. We will select a small team of volunteers and alternates per refuge. We will be conducting preliminary Waterbird Watch trainings to kick off the program and make sure volunteers are comfortable with bird ID, the protocol, the sites, etc. More detailed information on the trainings will be coming soon, but we need to know how many folks are interested first. We hope to get volunteers out to trainings and doing surveys within the next couple weeks.
For questions or more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest; we look forward to hearing from you!
Audubon's Gulf Response Team
P.S. Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested.