Sample 4250 Midterm Questions (5 points each)
(Answers can be short form/bullet or full sentences, but must be detailed)
1. Review the three main methods used to census birds in North America.
• Breeding Bird Survey – roadside survey began in mid-1960s that is continent
wide (3,000 routes per year in North America) and conducted systematically (pre-
determined routes, standard methods). Good at detecting changes in abundance
of highly vocal/visible birds (e.g. Bobolink). Each route is surveyed one morning
per year, in early June, with 50 stops of 3 min each. Experienced birders count all
birds heard and seen. However, few surveys done in northern Canada.
• Breeding Bird Atlas – intensive 5 year survey of individual 10kmx10km squares,
with coverage of the entire province/state. Records presence/absence within the
square and, on the most recent atlas, includes point counts to record abundance.
Volunteers must document search effort, but there is no maximum limit to the
time they can spend searching their square. Good at detecting range
expansion/contraction (e.g. Purple Martin) but less sensitive to modest population
size change because species may less common but still be present in most blocks.
• Migration Monitoring – each fall & spring, banding stations catch and count
migrating birds at various sites across Canada. Each station keeps track of netting
effort (“net-hours”) each day, and conducts a census on site for birds that may not
be caught. Good at estimating relative abundance of species that breed too far
north to be surveyed with other methods, and is good at detecting population
declines/increases. Cannot really detect range expansion/contraction since