|Surveying the landscape|
Although HMANA has been encouraging its members to participate in Winter Raptor Surveys for a number of years, there has not been an easy way for surveyors to enter their data a la HawkCount. The Winter Raptor Survey Committee has now succeeded in developing an on-line data entry procedure.
Log on to http://www.hmana.org/wrs.php and find out how to participate in what promises to be a valuable citizen science effort. Winter Raptor Surveys provide an opportunity to a) bridge the gap between fall and spring migration; b) contribute to the growing understanding of seasonal raptor dynamics; and c) have fun.
When you log on you will see the guidelines for selecting an area and designing a route. You can then register your route, download a field data sheet, and look forward to having a lot of fun in the field this winter. The data you collect will provide researchers with important information for, among other things, studying the effects of global climate change on raptor distribution, for looking at fluctuations in gender and morph demographics; and population statistics which can be combined with migration studies and contribute to fine-tuning the Raptor Population Index.
Those who have done surveys in the past will be glad to know that they can register their routes and enter that past data for those routes. If you have been doing surveys for a while, you should check the website above to read the changes in the instructions and to download the revised field data sheet.
|Rough-legged Hawk photo by Vic Berardi|
This HMANA WRS data entry system is now ready for survey data entry. Because in the “back-ground” it is techni-cally still under development, the WRS Committee requests you report any problems or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Committee hopes that any “glitches” during this initial phase will be minor, and that participants will find the process of entering data to go smoothly.
|Male Northern Harrier photo by Vic Berardi|
Watching a hover-hunting Rough-legged Hawk illu-minated by bright sunlight reflected off a snow-covered field, seeing how amazingly silver a male Northern Harrier looks as it courses back and forth over that same field, determining that the
lump of weeds off to the left is really a Short-eared Owl --- all these experiences await you this winter. Record them! Ten years from now that information could be of great value.
|Short-eared Owl photo by Shawn Carey|