Seabird and inland waterbird survey list

Seabird and inland waterbird surveys table
Monitoring program Volunteer participation Volunteer skill level Seasonal coverage Geographic coverage in Canada
British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey Yes Intermediate and advanced Wintering, year-round BC
Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Yes All Breeding Canada
Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Survey No Not available Breeding MB, ON
Marsh Monitoring Program Yes Intermediate and advanced Breeding AB, SK, MB, ON, QC
Quebec Heronries 5-year Census No Not available Breeding QC
Seabird Colony Monitoring Programs No Not available Breeding NT, BC, NU, QC, NL, NB, NS, PE
Seabirds at Sea No Not available Year-round Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic Oceans, Gulf of St. Lawrence
Species at Risk Surveys (Seabirds and Inland Waterbirds) Yes and No Various Various Various

British Columbia Coastal waterbird survey

Created in 1999, the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey monitors waterbirds (loons, grebes, cormorants, herons, waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, gulls, alcids) at designated sites along the coast of British Columbia. Volunteers conduct surveys once a month during the winter, with some surveys continuing year-round. The survey is coordinated by Bird Studies Canada with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate or advanced birders who can identify coastal waterbirds in winter.
For more information, visit
Bird Studies Canada's British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey page.

Canadian Lakes loon survey

The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey monitors the number and productivity of Common Loons (Gavia immer) breeding on lakes across Canada. From mid-May to late August, volunteers make at least three trips to their assigned lake to determine the presence of breeding pairs and to monitor chick hatch and survival rates. Coordinated by Bird Studies Canada, this survey was established in Ontario in 1981. It expanded to the rest of Canada in 1989.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Birders of any skill level can participate.
For more information, visit
Bird Studies Canada's Canadian Lakes Loon Survey page.

Great Lakes colonial waterbird survey

Jointly coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Survey is a census of the colonial waterbirds (gulls, terns, cormorants and others) that breed on the islands and shorelines of the Great Lakes on both sides of the border. The survey aims to identify all colonial waterbird breeding locations and to count all nests. Begun in 1976, the survey takes about three years to complete, and is repeated every 10 years. Counts are conducted by professional biologists on foot, by boat, and by air between mid-April and mid-June.

In mid-June 2012, a pilot survey of colonial waterbirds was conducted on the three large lakes in southern Manitoba (Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake Winnipegosis). The aim is to repeat this survey at 10-year intervals, consistent with the Great Lakes survey.

Volunteer:
No
Requirements to participate:
Not available

Marsh Monitoring Program

The Marsh Monitoring Program is a volunteer-based survey of marsh-associated birds, frogs and toads. Between late May and mid-July, volunteers survey their assigned marsh two to three times in the early morning or evening to record birds (and sometimes frogs and toads) seen and heard. Surveys were initiated in the Great Lakes basin of Ontario and the United States in 1995. The protocol was then expanded to Quebec and the Prairies. The program is coordinated by Bird Studies Canada in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate or advanced birders that are able to identify marsh birds by sight and sound (about 50 species in most regions) or amphibians by sound.
For more information, visit
Bird Studies Canada's Marsh Monitoring Program page.

Quebec heronries 5-year census

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) nesting colonies, called heronries, have been monitored in Quebec since 1977. Professional biologists visit heronries during the breeding season, two to three weeks before the young fledge. They count active nests and the number of young per pair, and document habitat features of the heronry. They also document all other colonial waterbird species present. Since 1992, surveys have been conducted from a helicopter. Visits to the same heronry occur every five years. The census is coordinated by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec.

Volunteer:
No
Requirements to participate:
Not available

Seabird colony monitoring programs

The number of seabirds attending breeding colonies has been monitored by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service biologists in the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries of the North Shore of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River since 1925, and elsewhere in Canada since the 1970s and 80s. Methods include both direct counts of birds, nests, or burrows, as well as counts from boats or aircraft-based photographs. Nesting success and productivity are also monitored at select sites. Most sites are surveyed every five to 10 years, but a few are surveyed annually.

Volunteer:
No
Requirements to participate:
Not available

Seabirds at sea

Coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, the Seabirds at Sea surveys provide valuable information on the at-sea distribution and relative abundance of seabirds, several of which are listed by the Species At Risk Act (e.g., Short-tailed Albatross [Phoebastria albatrus] and Pink-footed Shearwater [Puffinus creatopus]). The surveys are conducted from ships sailing for other purposes; these include commercial and Canadian federal government ships. Trained observers aboard ships identify and count all birds using a standardized protocol. Seabirds at Sea has been running year-round since 1996 in the Pacific Ocean, and since the mid-2000s in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Volunteer:
No
Requirements to participate:
Not available
For more information, visit
Environment and Climate Change Canada's Birds at Sea page.

Species at Risk surveys (Seabirds and inland waterbirds)

Environment and Climate Change Canada runs or supports several species-specific surveys and/or monitoring programs for Species at Risk. These programs are generally described in each species' recovery documents, available on the Species at Risk Public Registry (see following links). These surveys are conducted for Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus), Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), Great Blue Heron (fanini subspecies; Ardea herodias fannini), the Magdalene Islands population of Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus), Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea), King Rail (Rallus elegans), Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus), Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea), Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus), Whooping Crane (Grus americana), and Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis).

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