Curlew volunteers needed starting April 8th!
Are you ready to hear the ‘currlleeee’ of the Long-billed Curlew? Well, grab your binoculars and get ready, because it’s almost curlew season! These charismatic shorebirds will be trickling back into the state in less than two months and we need your help finding as many as possible in and around the Helena, Mission, and Blackfoot Valleys!
Last year we worked with 12 volunteers in the Mission Valley, 38 volunteers in the Helena Valley, and 9 new volunteers in the Blackfoot Valley. Together we recorded 220 curlew sightings during 70 surveys. As many of you all know, surveys are easy! Routes consist of early morning road-side stops repeated every half mile. At each stop, you will get out of the car for five minutes and look and listen for curlews. Along the way you will collect important data on the time, habitat, and presence or absence of curlews. And, the great thing is that you only need to look for one big beautiful bellowing bird. Looking for Sandhill Cranes is just a bonus! All you have to do is choose a route and catch up on Curlew identification and you are all set to go.
Now you can use your smart device to collect Long-billed curlew data in the field: in 2018 we helped Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks design an ArcGIS application using the Survey 123 platform to make in-field data entry easy and eliminating hours of time spent hand-entering and proofing data. Please visit our survey website – montanabirdsurveys.com for more information on downloading and using this new, simple, and free platform. We encourage all volunteers to give this system a try in 2019, and we are here to help troubleshoot.
The best way to volunteer for a survey is to visit our survey website to see which routes are vacant and email us with your preferences. Surveys start April 8th. Helena-area volunteers will have the option to pick up survey packets at Birds & Beasleys on the downtown walking mall starting April 1st.
To brush up on your Curlew identification before heading into the field, click here. You can also check out Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All about Birds site. For more information or for any questions, contact Amy Seaman: [email protected] or 406.210.9449.