• Is best done by one person. It is important that this person will be available to do subsequent counts.
• Determined how many counts and where they will be located?
• Chosen an observer who has sufficient bird identification knowledge, and is likely to be available for a number of years to do counts.
• Timepiece e.g. wristwatch, cellphone
• Clipboard or similar
• GPS (optional – but use it if you have one)
• NZMS 260 series map of the area (optional – but use it if you have one)
• Compass (helpful to orientate North)
1. Navigate to your count location.
2. Check conditions are OK (wind of 1 or less and precipitation of 2 or less – see
Bird Count Form). If conditions are not OK, abandon the count.
3. Note start time on field form.
4. Stay still for 5 minutes recording all birds seen or heard.
• Birds which are identified by sound only are noted as heard. All others (those that are heard and seen or just seen) are recorded as seen.
• Never knowingly
record the same bird twice.
• One way to keep track of birds that have been counted is to use count diagrams in a field notebook (see appendix). At the end of the count these diagrams can be converted to counts on the field sheets.
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in plot header, including location diagram and any notes.
6. Complete the record of environmental information during the 5 minute count.
7. Navigate to your next count location, and repeat the steps.
Bird Count Diagrams
A good way to keep track of birds when you are doing a five minute bird count is to use bird count diagrams. These help you avoid counting birds twice.
1. On a blank sheet of note paper mark a point in the centre. This is the point where you are standing.
2. If there are any major landscape features such as a cliff, a large tree, a lake, within your listening area (i.e. within 200m). Mark these in relation to the point where you are standing on the diagram.
3. When you start the count, draw a straight line from your location point to each bird you see or hear.
4. Write the species name, the number if more than one, and if it was seen (s) or heard (h).
5. Repeat this drawing of lines to the bird each time you hear or see a new bird.
6. When you finish the count, transfer the information to the count form.
In this count diagram the number of birds recorded on the count form would be:
• 4 Silvereye
• 1 Tui
• 1 Fantail
• 2 Tomtit
• 1 Bellbird
• 1 Kereru
Total of: 10 birds