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Scientific Methods

Spot Mapping

Spot mapping is a survey method that is used to literally map a bird’s territory. Spot mapping is relatively intensive, so a typical survey is limited to four to eight bird species.

Species Checklist

On a species checklist, all bird species encountered during monitoring efforts (e.g.  mist-netting, point counts) are recorded and breeding status is noted. This allows us to gather data on species that are encountered during a visit to a site, but perhaps not captured during the survey itself. The information gleaned from these checklists is used in various ways to monitor bird species. 

Point Count

KBO implements point count surveys to monitor breeding bird distribution, diversity, and abundance. The surveys are completed during the breeding season, from early May through early July.

Nest Searching

KBO implements nest searching and monitoring to determine reproductive success rates. Nest success is an important metric to determine not only whether a species is present, but also how successful birds reproduce in a given habitat or area.

Behavioral Observation

Using behavioral observation to understand whether birds are breeding successfully in an area provides information about bird/habitat relationships and bird response to habitat change.  By observing the breeding behavior of birds, we can determine an index to reproductive success.


It has been said that bird banding is at once both a delicate art and precise science. Bird banding is a method of bird monitoring to track bird populations and demographic trends (characteristics of the population) over time.

Area Search

The Area Search is a quantitative, habitat-specific survey method that is widely applicable in most habitats. It is useful for diversity measurements such as species richness, bird community composition, and relative abundance; as well as providing simple avian-habitat relationship, natural history, and reproductive information.