Step 4: Collecting breeding bird data

A count protocol is a set of instructions on how to count birds. It's very important to follow a standardized protocol to ensure your counts are useful. When counts are performed inconsistently between sites, these counts are difficult to compare and consequently, less informative.

Breeding Bird Protocol

The Breeding Bird Protocol (BBP) provides instructions on how to count nesting shorebirds and seabirds in Florida using a specific standardized protocol. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) designed the BBP with input from partners of the Florida Shorebird Alliance.

Please read and follow the BBP so that your counts can be combined with others to provide valuable insight on species status, population trends, and management activities. Also, please print and use the data sheets when you are in the field, so that you have all of the information requested when entering data in the Florida Shorebird Database.

The BBP specifies six count windows when shorebird surveys should be conducted, at a minimum. These windows occur on the same dates every year. Counts entered during these windows allow us to assess population numbers statewide. We ask that you please conduct your surveys at least once per month during each of these six windows. However, more frequent (e.g., weekly) surveys are strongly encouraged, because they provide more accurate data and better determine nest outcomes.