Counting birds in May
April 30, 2014 —
The warmer weather of spring is trying to establish itself, and with the weather come some birds that have not been seen or heard since last summer. The melodic song of the wood thrush or the high pitched whistle of the broad-winged hawk are soon to be heard as they return to the region and start their breeding rituals and calls. One event coming up, which helps map populations and species distribution in the state of Pennsylvania, is the annual Pennsylvania Migration Count (PAMC).
Always held during the second Saturday of May, the PAMC is a one-day event sponsored by the PA Society of Ornithology for the purpose of getting a one-day snapshot of birds across the state. The time coincides with the North American Migration Count that occurs in other regions of the country. The data taken during the count is used to monitor changes in migration patterns, population increases or declines, and helps identify species that may be at risk.
Counts are taken on a countywide basis, and you could be at any skill level at identifying birds by sight or sound. You can do as much or as little territory as you want. Many people do the count in their backyard or out the window observing feeder visitors. A website is maintained for the PAMC (www.pabirds.org/PAMC/Index.html). Here you can obtain instructions and field checklist forms. Also, there is a list of county coordinators who can give info on places to count birds and other assistance if needed.
This would be a good excuse to get out with the family and see some birds and probably some other sights and sounds of spring. If you are too far north in New York State and don’t want to travel to PA, there is another event which may be closer. The Sullivan County Audubon Society is holding a “Break-a-100” weekend during the same timeframe as the PAMC. More information can be found at sullivanaudubon.org.