Ornithologists listens to bird symphonies while everyone else is a sleep

As a project administrator in CAnMove, I mostly care of homepage, taking minutes etc but this year I will now and then follow different researchers one day and see what they're doing when they are out in the field.

First up is professor Åke Lindström. His main research focus on which factors determine the dynamics of bird population size and distribution, which is directly related to his position as head of the Swedish Bird Survey, a nationwide program for monitoring the breeding birds in Sweden.

An early morning (very early), I drove to Österlen, Skåne where Åke met me at Stenshuvud National Park. This day it was time to walk his annual point route. A point route is a loop that you go every year at the same time and where you every year stop at the same locations (10 locations) and for five minutes listen / see which birds and how many of each species is at the spot. Usually you can only hear them, but sometimes you can even see someone fly by. This is one way to do bird inventory and to see how population size changes between different years.

Åke is writing feverishly during the five minutes

Since this was the first time for me and I have to admit that I hardly know any bird calls at all, I was mostly quiet and trying to discern the odd bird out of the full thunder bird symphony while Åke wrote feverishly in his notebook. When five minutes had elapsed in the first location, Åke listed about 30 individuals, while I had been able to recognize a crow, a dove, and possibly a blackbird.

The ten locations were of different habitat types, here a small pond

Ten locations later, I had learned at least five new bird calls of different species and also had a fantastic morning! This is something I recommend everyone to try. Grab a bird expert and follow into the woods early one morning and you will get an eye-opener when you hear the activity going on while we "normal" sleep. If you do not know a bird expert, check with the Swedish Ornithological Society, the active members there will certainly be happy to take you out into the woods. Is there something you can be sure of, it is that all biologists loves sharing their passion!

A couple of cows were also interested in the bird inventory

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