The 2017 Pennsylvania Migration Count will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2016.
The Pennsylvania Migration Count (PAMC) was established to gather annual data on migratory bird populations, and to help answer some fundamental questions regarding their distribution throughout Pennsylvania. PAMC is an annual one-day snapshot of bird populations within our state attempting to answer which species are present, where are they and how many there are? Detecting the changes in population will help give us an early warning of possible declines and it is hoped that steps can be taken toward assisting their future survival. In many ways, the PAMC is similar to the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), with the exception that it is county-based.
Results from the count are compiled across the state and published in Pennsylvania Birds, our state ornithological journal.
Can you join us in covering Wayne County?
It’s a great way to spend International Migratory Bird Day! Birders of all skill levels can help out with the count. Beginning at midnight with the songs of the Whip-poor-wills (if we’re lucky!) and the hooting of the Great Horned Owls, the PAMC is a great way to spend time outside. Whether you tally birds in your backyard, at your feeders, the local little league ballfield, along the river, on a lake, at your camp or spend time hiking through a state park, your observations count. While observations can be made over a 24-hour period, it’s up to you to decide how much time you will contribute.
Submitting Your Observations
In 2017 for the first time all PAMC sightings will be submitted to eBird and summarized using the eBird data only. eBird has specific requirements that are different from our past ways of reporting PAMC results. The eBird goal is to associate the birds you are reporting with habitats on the ground. The main difference is that we are looking to report your specific area checklists rather than your total county list. This means more accounting and keeping track of all birds seen in smaller areas and making separate checklists for each area of effort.
As in the past we want to keep track of where we went birding and how much time was spent. For each birding area a separate checklist should be made. A new checklist should be made when different habitats are encountered, when the area exceeds 5 miles one way, and whenever a new area is entered. For each checklist made the location is recorded and the start time. All birds are counted as before meeting eBird’s criteria of a complete checklist. Each checklist also needs a stop time or length of effort in minutes.
Pinchot State Park in York County consists of the 3 mile long lake with access on both sides. Each side of the lake called Day Use areas should be on a separate checklist as the two sides would exceed the 5 mile limit. If birding both sides of the lake, birds seen on the lake could be in either list.
The John Heinz NWR has two distinct areas defined as hotspots by eBird. One is called the Wetlands and the other is the Impoundment. When birding both areas, a separate checklist should be made as together the areas would exceed 5 miles.
The Allegheny National Forest is a large contiguous forest area on the Allegheny plateau. Much of the remote areas are under birded and under reported to eBird. For those birding on jeep trails or walking trails the reported location can be a GPS coordinate or a road land mark that is preferably near the mid point of each 5 mile linear segment measured one way only.
Before leaving the house you spend 10 minutes counting birds at the feeders. The checklist should have your street name, number of birds of each species, the start time and the duration. If you chose not to use the house address, provide the nearest road intersection or give a street midpoint. Stationary counts such as this should be at least 5 minutes long.
After walking out to Gull Point at Presque Isle a single stop at at one of the Beach 9 or 10 entrances is made. A new checklist is started for that new effort even though the habitat is similar to that at the far end of Gull Point. If multiple stops with the car are made along the beach all of those bird sightings would be part of the new checklist.
While driving between birding stops three crows are seen harassing a red-tailed hawk. An eastern kingbird was also in the same area. At your next stop you record the time, location and numbers of each species for a single, complete checklist. If you wished to also record the multiple sightings of cardinals, starlings and blue jays that also flew across the road at various places in transit, the checklist location should be attempted to be placed at the mid-point of each 5 mile section of the route and a close estimate made of the species seen to make a complete checklist.
The PA Migration Count is part of Global Big Day.