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Field Observers

Find documents and guidance for field party observers for the Minnewaska-Shawangunk CBC below.

Data sheets

PDF version (digital – download and fill out on computer. Adobe Acrobat is recommended)
PDF version (print – for printing out at home and filling out with pen or pencil)

SAMPLE datasheet – one filled out with sample data, as an example.

Every party should remember to record the amount of time they spent in the field and distance covered.

Rare bird form (PDF)
For documenting birds that are observed during the count that are considered rare for the circle. eBird checklists are also a good way to document rare observations.

Car window graphic

Feel free to create your own graphic to leave in your car window to indicate that you are a volunteer or use these pre-made ones:

Car window graphic (vertical PDF & heavy ink)
Car window graphic (horizontal PDF & low ink)


Teams should document all the time and distance (effort) covered by foot or by car.

Party hours & distance

The effort reported should include:

• Start time and finish time

• Time and distance spent birding by car

• Time and distance spent birding by foot

NOTE: Out-and-back outings should be recorded as a one-way distance, but the whole time should be reported.

For example, if you walk a half mile section of trail and then retrace your steps on the same section of trail over the course of an hour, that effort would be a half mile for distance and an hour for time.

Nocturnal birding / Owling

If your party participates in any nocturnal birding / owling, the party effort is kept separate from the daytime effort.

NOTE: As with daytime effort, out-and-back outings should be recorded as a one-way distance, but the whole time should be reported.

Types of transportation

Most teams conduct their surveys in a vehicle, on foot, or mixture of the two. If any other mode of transportation is used, it should be documented and reported.

The types of transportation that Audubon has defined categories are: air, all-terrain vehicle, bicycle, car, dog-sled, foot, golf cart, horseback, motorized boat, non-motorized boat, skis, snow machine, snowshoe, and wheelchair.


An optional data sheet for field teams. It is helpful to receive a few reports to get a more complete snapshot of the weather conditions within the circle.

Minimum and maximum temperature to the nearest degree.

Wind Direction:
If there is little to no wind, select Calm. If the wind fluctuates, select Variable. The cardinal direction may also be selected.

Wind Velocity:
The representative value, instead of rare extremes.

Snow Depth:
Minimum and maximum amount to the nearest quarter inch. No snow is reported as 0. Similar to wind, record the representative amount, rather than rare extremes.

Still/Moving Water:
Open = 100% water
Partly Frozen = more water than ice
Partly Open = more ice than water
Frozen = 100% ice.

Cloud Cover:
Local Fog means that only portions of the survey area had fog for most of the period.
Foggy means the entire survey area had fog.
Clear = 0-15% clouds
Partly Cloudy = 15-33% clouds
Partly Clear = 33-66% clouds
Cloudy = 66-100% clouds

Rain / Snow:
For Rain/Snow, check all conditions that were true.
For example, if the morning started with drizzle that developed into heavy rain, check both “light” and “heavy” boxes for the AM in the “Rain” section.