Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov,
© Michael J. Brody, USA,
manual is devoted to the description of the simplest procedure for bird census in the
nesting season, based on the sounds of singing males. It contains the general scheme of
field studies, including choice and laying of the census route, technique for bird census
and methods to present the results of studies.
This field study has instructional video
featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video
illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the
task including reporting the results.
Bird census is one of the most popular themes for studentsТ independent research
in nature, especially in spring and summer. Singing birds can be found in any geographical
region and in any biotope in spring. It is easier to count birds during this season, as
most of them stick to set areas according to the location of their nesting grounds.
The singing of birds is also caused by nesting. Let us remember that
singing is characteristic only of males as they perform a typical song
characteristic of the species. In this way they indicate an occupied nesting place and, at
the initial stage of nesting, they attract a female for reproduction. The presence of a
singing male within the specific site does not mean that there definitely a nest. Many
bird species are characterized by the fact that some males can spend the whole summer
being single. At the same time, other species (or the same species but under different
conditions, for instance, at other numbers or in the other part of the species range), one
male can have several females (and, correspondingly, several nests) within its territory.
Students should also have in mind that the presence of a female and the nest (with eggs
or nestlings) does not exclude a singing male: it continues to mark its territory until
the end of the nesting season, until the moment when nestlings leave their parentsТ
Birdsong should not be mistaken with other sounds made by birds. They include calls
(indication of presence), signals of danger and other signals of intersexual and parental
Many skills are necessary to conduct a bird census during the nesting
season in order to determine the density of bird populations. Students should be able to
determine birds by their appearance and voices. They should also master the
census procedure, i.e. they should know how to measure the distance covered, how to
measure the width of the census band or distance to the bird, and finally they should be
able to describe the biotopes where the census takes place. All these skills require
mastery over a rather long period of time.
A procedure for a route bird census was already used in one of the fall lessons in the
course of carrying out the research (lesson #7). The fall census was not difficult in
terms of bird species determination due to relatively low species diversity. However, it
was a rather full-value research in terms of bird census techniques and that will help us
to conduct a census for the present lesson.
At the following spring lesson (Lesson #9) the task is even more complicated: students
will be given the task to conduct a census based on singing males according to different
procedures, including all the above-mentioned census techniques. Thus, this lesson widens
the skills that students gained during the fall lesson, and it will prepare students for
conducting the following research.
This research consists of repeated census of singing males belonging to
different bird species that is carried out in the course of a day along a relatively short
route in the vicinity of the school or field studies center. None of the following factors
has principal significance: composition of vegetation along the route, length of the
route, weather conditions and even qualifications of students in the course of the given
research. It is important that censuses should be carried out along a strictly constant
route and even by the same students.
Conducting censuses does not require special equipment, except for field glasses.
Students will need only a field diary and a knowledge of birdsТ voices (it is possible
to use field guides).
The bird census for this lesson is similar to the previous route census in technique
(Lesson #7, fall). The differences between the spring and the fall censuses are as
Bird census carried out for this lesson is based only on signing males, which is why
students should learn the songs only of the main bird species within your area, but not
all the different voices of the birds (as it is more difficult). As the objectives of ...
This was only the first page from the manual and its full version you can see in the
Ecological Field Studies Techniques Video 4CD Set:
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Studies Techniques Video (in mpg format) in an attractive 4 compact disk set.
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