Guidelines for Establishing a Meaningful Wildlife Count:
1. SET OBJECTIVES
The objective for most counts by naturalist groups is to show:
—– Regional changes in the species numbers over years
—– Seldom are we measuring absolute changes in numbers since there are usually so many variables that are not practically controlled.
2. BE CONSISTENT:
—– Choose confined period (1 week of May??) each year.
—– Keep the counting stations at consistent locations.
—– Keep the counting techniques, time allotted etc. consistent.
—– Keep the same or as many of the same counters each year.
3. RECORD KEEPING:
—– Try and have the same record keeper and count coordinator.
—– Try to keep the daily timing — 0700 to 1100 — or? the same each time.
—– Try and adjust the day, within the seasonal optons, to keep the weather as consistent as possible.
—– Try and keep the number of counters similar each year.
IF as above you can not keep the counting locations, the number of counters and how long each is counting similar each year you are a long way to having data that is meaningfully comparable — allowing for weather and other local and distant habitat changes that you cannot control.
Published Records: try and regularly post your results — in the same place. Building up records for several years gives some good indication of how your eagles are doing over time. Our results can possibly be tied to other regional events such as changes in weather patterns, local environmental changes etc.
Similarly, in the aftercount assembly party, try to be consistently joyous — serve the same wine, sandwiches …… …… and always — to be consistent — invite me.