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Call for Volunteers to Conduct Statewide Tricolored Blackbird Surveys

Photo Credit: Cheryl D Johnson

 

Hello all,

The April Tricolored Blackbird Statewide Survey fast approaches. We very much appreciate your time and efforts to make this Tricolored Blackbird Statewide Survey as comprehensive as possible. Below is information that will help you to prepare for the survey.

Survey Dates: April 7-9, 2017 (with April 21-23 as backup in case of severe weather).

Availability of Support Materials

The support materials (maps and instructions for on-line mapping tool, field forms, protocol, and pdf training module) are now available for download at: http://tricolor.ice.ucdavis.edu/content/2017-statewide-survey. You will need to log in to the Portal to download the maps. If you do not have a Portal account, please let me know.

Do you have full teams?

If you seek additional participants in your counties, please let me know and we’ll do our best to recruit volunteers for you and put them in touch with you. We would like to hear back from you so that we know if you do or do not need additional participants.

Training Sessions

We are offering two training sessions that are oriented toward first-time Statewide Survey participants but are open to all. Please inform your team members of these training opportunities. The trainings are both from 10 AM to 1 PM.

The first is Saturday, March 4th at San Luis NWR Headquarters, 7376 Wolfsen Rd, Los Banos, CA 93635, and the second is Saturday, March 11 in Room 2124 Wickson Hall on the U.C. Davis campus. Parking is free and available at the first training session and costs $9 for the second. There is a U.C. Davis campus map here: http://campusmap.ucdavis.edu/. Parking is suggested in the Quad Parking Structure on Howard Way, off of Russell Blvd. Wickson Hall is a 2 minute walk to the SSW from the parking structure and is across the street to the west of Freeborn Hall and the Memorial Union. Room 2124 is at the top of the stairs if you enter from the main entrance in the center of the building.

There will be an optional field trip to a nearby active colony following the training sessions, as available. Birds will almost definitely be breeding in Merced County by early March, but are much less likely to be doing so in Yolo County on the training date.

Multiple-observer Estimates

We are again urging participants to collect multiple-observer estimates of the numbers of birds at occupied locations. If you have not been asked to obtain multiple estimates of the number of birds at one site before, we seek to obtain multiple estimates of the numbers of breeding birds to allow us to estimate the variability in the estimates of different observers and this helps us to refine our estimate of the number of birds in the state.

We obtain multiple estimates in two ways: when all estimates are made at one time, and when the estimates are made at different times.

If all observers making estimates work together, each should make an independent estimate without discussing this with other team members until after the estimate is recorded. Estimates obtained in this way provide a way to assess the variability in estimates among observers.

If multiple estimates of the numbers of birds are derived at different times or on different dates, then there is an additional source of variation due to the time difference, and it is useful to assess this source of variation, too.

If your teams will be helping to obtain multiple estimates of the numbers of birds, you will need to make sure to carry enough of the field forms for occupied locations to allow you and your team members to record these in the field. It is not required for you or your team to obtain multiple estimates of the number of birds at occupied locations, but you are encouraged to do so.

There will be more information on the need for and protocol for making multiple estimates shortly.

There will be more information to come. Please let me know if you have any questions. And thanks again for participating in this year’s statewide survey.

Best,
Bob

Robert J. Meese, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Science & Policy
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

Contact Lowell Young if you’re interested in doing the survey in Eastern Merced/Western Mariposa counties. (209) 966-2547

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