I have experience of setting up monitoring programs for breeding birds as part of ongoing survey work for Natural England.
In 2014 I was contracted to undertake breeding bird surveys within selected SSSIs woodlands in Derbyshire, with the objectives of:
- Determining the breeding status of all bird species.
- Determining the approximate locations of confirmed and probable breeding records.
The results of the surveys are being used to complete a Common Standards Monitoring (CSM) assessment of the condition of the woodland breeding bird assemblage at each site surveyed and the results will be used to advise on future management of the conservation of woodland birds.
In designing the survey work, I had to ensure that:
- Reasonable and representative coverage of all of the woodland areas was achieved.
- Suitable transects routes were designed which incorporated as diverse a range of woodland habitat as possible (including different stand structures, ages, composition and management compartments).
- Areas of transitions between habitats were included (such as unimproved grassland, scrub and wetlands) to maximise the likelihood of locating all relevant species.
A variant of the transect-based Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) methodology was adopted. A minimum of five visits in good weather was undertaken. To ensure that breeding birds were recorded the surveys were carried out from early April to mid-July. A minimum of 7 days were left between repeat visits to the survey sites. All survey work was scheduled to start at dawn and continue no later than mid-day. A GPS was used to accurately map breeding territories.
For an article on Lincolnshire’s Changing Woodland Bird Population click here.