Winter Raptor Survey

Jan 14 to Feb 8 (same dates every year)

The WRS monitors winter raptor populations by conducting roadside surveys in mid-winter.

Participants create their own route in their area and drive it once and count all of the raptors seen.

Map and Route Descriptions

Annual Reports

Sample Report

WRS Guidelines

1. This being a road survey, THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IS SAFETY. Use a designated driver if possible.

2. Design your own route. But first check with coordinator to avoid overlap of routes (some are not yet mapped).
A minimum of 10-20 miles and maximum of 100 miles. Minimize miles on busy roads (not easy in some counties). Avoid non-maintained roads that are un-passable some years.

3. Dates: You choose the day: Jan. 14 – Feb. 12 inclusive. Usually I will extend by a few days – but please try to do within the stated dates so as to keep this a “mid-winter” survey.

DO YOUR ROUTE JUST ONE TIME. Do not repeat for the sake of “ improving” the numbers –THIS IS CRITICAL!.

4. Time of day: Mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

5. WAIT FOR GOOD WEATHER: Avoid fog, high windy, heavy rain, snow.

6. Record hours of survey time and miles driven.

7. Note the average approximate:

time on route (excluding break time) and miles
snow depth
% cloud cover
wind as calm, light, or strong

8. Record the following as possible:

Harriers: Ad. male or female; or immature
Red-tails: Adult or immature
Rough-leg: light or dark form
Kestrel : male or female
All other raptors (age BE, RS, GE)
Vultures (TV or BV)

Don’t linger over birds you can’t easily age or sex – just record species.

9. Any shrikes?

10. You may stop at good (and safe) vantage points to get out and scan/scope more thoroughly. But do not go on hikes looking for birds.

11. IMPORTANT !!! Coordinate with others in your county to avoid route duplication.

12. For consistency sake, I will not accept routes that are primarily on interstate highways or done after Feb 22.

For more information, contact Greg Grove