Garden bird surveys overseas
Examples of garden bird surveys overseas are:
- Garden Birdwatch (www.bto.org/gbw/) in the UK
- Big Garden Birdwatch (www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/) in the UK
- Great Backyard Bird Count (www.birdsource.org/gbbc/) in the US and Canada
- Project Feederwatch (www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/) in the US and Canada
- Backyard Birds Survey (www.birdsinbackyards.net/) in Australia
- Canberra Garden Bird Survey (http://canberrabirds.org.au) in Australia.
Garden BirdWatch (UK)
The Garden BirdWatch in the UK started in 1995, and is run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). It involves keeping records of bird species present in private gardens, public parks, etc., over the period of a week, every week of the year. No time is specified but participants are asked to spend the same amount of time recording birds each week. In 2004 there were 16,500 participants. Each participant paid £12 per annum. Results for each species are reported on the BTO website as the proportion of gardens that reported the species during a particular week. Results are published on the web, and show how bird species change their use of gardens throughout the year and from one year to the next since 1995 (www.bto.org/gbw/).
Big Garden BirdWatch (UK)
The Big Garden BirdWatch in the UK started in 1979, and is run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). It involves counting birds in private gardens, public parks, etc., recording the highest number of each species seen at any one time in 1 hour, once per year, during a set week in January (winter). Approximately 250,000 gardens were surveyed in 2004, with more than 400,000 people taking part, and more than 8 million birds counted. Results are published on the web, and show trends, by species, in the average number of birds per garden since 1979 (www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/).
Great Backyard Bird Count (USA and Canada)
The Great Backyard Bird Count started in 1998. It is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. Participants count birds in private backyards, public parks, etc., recording the highest number of each species seen at any one time in at least 15 minutes (but can be longer if desired), once per year, during four set days in February (winter). More than 60,000 checklists were submitted in 2006. The results are published on the web, and show the number of birds of each species counted and the number of lists reporting each species each year since 1998 (www.birdsource.org/gbbc/).
Project FeederWatch (USA and Canada)
Project FeederWatch started in 1987. It is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. It is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centres, community areas, and other locations in North America. Participants count the largest number of each species they see at their feeders at one time on two consecutive days every week (or every second week if they do not enter data online or choose to count less often) from November through to early April (winter). The days can be whole or part days. The results are published on the group’s website, and show the percentage of feeders visited and average number of birds seen at one time for each species each year since 1987 (www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/).
Backyard Birds Survey (Australia)
The Backyard Birds Survey has been carried out three times; in spring 2000, spring/summer 2005, and autumn/winter 2006. It is run by Birds Australia and the Australian Museum. Participants can choose between three survey methods: recording all the bird species observed in their garden on a single day, over a fixed 20-minute period between 7 am and 10 am (preferred method); keeping a list of all the bird species observed incidentally in their garden over a 1-week period; or relying on their memory to recall all the bird species observed in their garden over the last year. A garden is defined as the front and back yards as well as the street side adjacent to the house. Birds seen only in the neighbours' gardens, or flying through but do not land, are not included. The results are published on the group’s website, and show the percentage of gardens in which each species was recorded each year (www.birdsinbackyards.net/).
Canberra Garden Bird Survey (Australia)
The Canberra Garden Bird Survey began in 1981. It is run by the Canberra Ornithologists Group. Participants make a record, week by week, of the largest number of each species observed at any one time in their site. A site is defined as an area within a radius of 100 m. All birds seen or heard within the area are recorded. The largest number of birds of each species observed is entered on a large wall chart, with 52 columns, one for each week of the year. The results are published on the group’s website, and show the abundance of each species each year since 1981 (http://canberrabirds.org.au).