Volunteer to Count Breeding Birds for Bird Conservation Network


BCN – the Bird Conservation Network – is a volunteer organization of 20 conservation groups across Northeast Illinois. BCN is dedicated to the preservation of our endemic breeding bird species. Lake/Cook Chapter is a charter member of BCN.

The centerpiece of BCN’s volunteer work is coordinating annual surveys of breeding birds at selected preserves across the region. For the past 20 years, these surveys have provided vital information for understanding the population trends of the key species we all care about. Most importantly, this detailed data is used by forest preserve districts and other land managers to identify their properties’ most critical preservation and restoration needs.

+ Birders are invited to volunteer

Since the count data is used for habitat conservation planning and scientific studies, volunteers with at least three years of birding experience are needed. You don’t need to be a super birder to volunteer, but bird survey participants should be able to identify birds breeding in our area by sound as well as by sight.

You can volunteer to monitor alone, or you can team up with a birding friend to monitor together. Only one birder in a team needs to be adept at identifying birds by sound.

+ What volunteers do


Monitoring entails two bird survey visits in June at one of the selected preserves in our area. As a monitor, you go to pre-determined points throughout your chosen preserve and count the number of birds seen and heard for ten minutes at each point.   You enter your results into a special app Forest Preserve app (mECO) on your smartphone as you monitor at each point.  The app automatically records weather conditions and also prompts you for questions about the foliage.

+ Nearby Properties Where Volunteer Monitors Are Needed:

Lake County

To volunteer or if you have any questions, contact:
BCN Monitor Coordinator Charlotte Pavelka  cpavelka4@gmail.com

We hope you’ll consider becoming a monitor. The information you collect assists natural resource managers in preserving the places we love to bird and provides vital data in assessing how well we’re doing in preserving our bird species.

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