Friday, February 18, 2011

Important Bird Area Survey Training

Bob McCormick oversees an IBA Survey trainee entering field data.
On Feb. 5th I attended the Volunteer IBA Survey Workshop at the Rio Salado Audubon Center to see what it takes to become a survey team member.  I knew I was in way over my head when I saw Andre Tarby (expert birder and DBG birdwalk leader) there for "training".  Its a tall order to become an IBA Surveyor, but also an exciting challenge.  You need to be able to "bird by ear" and include birds "heard but not seen" in your count, and at times distinguish between a bird's "song" and a bird's "call".  Wow!  You also need to be able to estimate distances, recognize juvenals and sub-adults, note the behavior (foraging, nest building, defending territory, etc.), the habitat (mesquite bosque, grassland, fallow field, etc.) and other notable flora, and fauna.  So, its no easy walk in the park, but it makes you want to become a better birder!

If you are an intermediate to experienced birder looking for a challenge, then become a trained IBA volunteer surveyor! Contact Tice Supplee, Director of Bird Conservation,  (602) 468-6470, or Scott Wilbor at Tucson Audubon Society, (520) 209-1804, or Jennie MacFarland at (520) 209-1805.  In 2011, volunteers will assist in surveying the Salt/Gila IBA, Agua Fria National Monument IBA, and the Lower San Pedro River IBA.  To learn more about Arizona Important Bird Areas, go to .

And if your like me and realize you still have alot to learn, try some of these resources for improving your bird ID skills:

Ask A Biologist ASU Birds and Their Songs Aviary

Audubon Online Bird Guide

Bird Jam

iBird for iPhone and Android


  1. Will they be having this training again? Sounds interesting.

  2. I'm not sure whe, try contacting Tice Supplee or Scott Wilbor from Tucson Audubon. I think Anne Givey may be particpating in an IBA Survey at GWR soon.


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