Forest Bird Slow Walk Transects

Transect Establishment

• Identify a site where a transect of about 500m in length can be run across an area.transect_1
• Where multiple transects are being established, there should be sufficient separation between them. If transects are running approximately parallel, they should stay about 200m apart. However, it is acceptable for one transect to lead almost directly into another when they are running in the same direction, such as long a track or route.
• Ensure this transect is well marked so you can follow the same path each time and will be able to relocate It in subsequent years.
• Measure out the transect with a hip chain or measuring tape, and mark each 100m point.
• At occasional intervals, about 50m to 100m, where convenient, mark points that are 10m either side of the transect. This will ensure that observers are frequently able to calibrate their estimates of 10, from the transect.


• 1 fieldworker
• Topographical map
• Aerial Photograph
• Clipboard
• Instruction Sheet
• Bird Transect form
• Binoculars
• 20m measuring tape (for measuring 10m from the transect- to calibrate your estimates)
• Hip chain or log measuring tape when setting up the transect for the first time.
• Wristwatch to record start and finish time.
• Aluminium permolat (venetian blind) for marking out the transect centre line.
• Flagging tape to occasionally mark 10m distance either side of transect.
• Hammer
• Nails
• Bird Identification books


• Walk slowly along the transect, recording all birds seen and heard within 10m either side of the transect on a moving front’ as you travel along the transect.
• Birds that are seen clearly to move into the transect area or in front or behind you within 20m of your current position, are included.
• It should take about 20 minutes to assess the transect.
• Use binoculars to identify birds if necessary.
• It is often most efficient to walk a transect in one direction, then

reassess walking back along the transect so two assessments are obtained in the same visit. However, as discussed above, these assessments are not statistically independent. It is more beneficial to increase the number of transects by, for example, creating a loop containing several transects that can be measured consecutively.
• Record birds as seen or heard. If a bird is seen and heard- record it only as seen.
• Never knowingly record an individual bird more than once. example, if a bird moves in and out of the transect a number of times, only record it once.
• If you are uncertain of identification of birds, concentrate on the species you can positively identify, and record descriptive notes about other species, for example: ‘striped plumage, call: a repeat note trailing off at end’.
• It is often difficult to distinguish bellbird and tui calls. If you are uncertain record as bellbird/tui.

Analysis and presentation

• The following options are available:
• List the Total number of species recorded.
• Plot mean total numbers of birds for each transect and combined transect data for each.
• Examine differences between mean totals for each year.
• Undertake the above two steps individually for the more common species.

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