Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

2018 Citizen Science: A Call for Volunteers

Montana Audubon 2018 Citizen Science Projects

The 2018 field season promises to be busy as we gear up for citizen-supported bird surveys across the state. From Long-billed Curlew Surveys in the Helena, Blackfoot, and Mission Valleys, to Black Swift and Rosy-finch surveys in the western mountains, our citizen science work is widespread and diverse. There are opportunities for everyone from new to experienced birders and from road-side to backcountry travelers. Surveys take place mid-April through the end of August, so now is the perfect time to get involved, get trained on your particular survey type, and head out to the field.

Undertaking these projects allows Montana Audubon to be a leader in discovering the current breeding ranges of little-known species, and contribute site-based species information to land managers and agencies tasked with making decisions about wildlife restoration projects, infrastructure projects, invasive species management, and recreational management.

Car-based surveys:

Both Long-billed Curlews and Chimney Swifts can be surveyed from roadside locations. Curlew surveys are five mile drives, with 10 stops conducted in the early morning through eleven a.m. in the Helena, Mission, or Blackfoot Valleys. This year, Long-billed curlew surveyors can start taking data using their hand-held, smart devices. Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have designed an ArcGIS application to make in-field data entry easy, make it easy to know your exact stop location at every point on any route, and to eliminate hours of time spent hand-entering and proofing data. To learn more about the app, read this user guide.

Chimney Swift surveys are performed around dusk, at chimneys that may provide suitable nesting habitat, in small towns east of Great Falls. This project runs June through July and  volunteers can be provided with a small stipend or mileage reimbursement. Surveys are simple and have minimal physical demands – you can just set up a lawn chair and observe! The information surveys provide is invaluable – and this project is part of the only state-wide effort so far to paint a picture of their range in our state.

Backcountry Adventures:

Consider a challenging Rosy-Finch or Black Swift survey will take you into Montana’s wild alpine landscapes. These journeys are often strenuous: volunteers should be competent in overnight backcountry travel, hiking in twilight conditions, and travel in bear-country. Training is available for both surveys. Some stipend and mileage reimbursement funding is available for Rosy-finch and Black Swift survey volunteers.

More information, including a printable version of 2018 projects is available here.

Please contact Amy Seaman directly with any questions or to participate in any of these projects: [email protected] or 406.443.3949.

Funding for these projects is provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, The Cadeau Foundation, The LEAW Family Foundation, and Montana Audubon’s generous supporters – Many thanks!

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