Courtesy photo A Florida Scrub-jay holds an acorn in its bill. Acorns may be eaten or buried to store them for food during the winter months.
published: Friday, June 01, 2012
Jay Watch begins bird surveys
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING - Jay Watch is a citizen science program that is conducted annually statewide. The training sessions occur in May and early June and the actual bird surveys are done on three consecutive mornings (usually consecutive) between June 15 and July 15.
The first survey will be from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Flamingo Villas tract of Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Sebring.
There is an overview of ecology and behavior of Jays followed by a walk-through of the survey protocol, both on paper and then in the field, where there are adult Scrub-jays and hopefully a few juveniles.
The goal is to survey designated sites all over the Florida peninsula, most in public ownership.
Data is collected on a number of adults, number of jays in each family group, number of juvenile jays associated with each family group, and to approximately determine each family's territory area.
Surveys are accomplished by teams. The team leader is either a land manger or agency biologist or experienced Jay Watch volunteer. Someone records data, someone plays the jay audio tape at prescribed intervals, and two or three additional people act as spotters and observers whose job it is to keep track of jay in each family so as not to double count and also to identify territory boundaries between adjacent families.
The purpose of the program is to collect consistent data statewide using methods that provide data to land managers that they need to manage the habitat for the benefit of jays and other scrub-obligate wildlife. They are fascinating, charismatic, beautiful birds.
For more information contact Marianne Korosy, Jay Watch coordinator, Audubon Florida, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (727) 742-1683.
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