Census Plot Program
Choose an Ottawa Bird Count Census Plot to Adopt
Zoom in to see the plots in detail. They’re outlined in red, but they can be a bit tricky to find, so look closely. There are ~20 of them, in all parts of the city.
If there’s one that you could survey, please contact us and we’ll sign you up.
Our New Android Census Plot App!
With the help of some awesome student volunteers, we’ve developed an app for Android cell phones and tablets, that will revolutionize how we conduct census plots (and how we analyse the data, too).
Our app is not (yet) available on Google Play. So for now, it has to be installed directly. Download the zip-file above. Unzip it and click on the .apk file within.
At that point, your device will probably give you an error message that it can’t install apps from unknown sources. But it’s easy to change that in your settings. You can follow the directions posted here on this website, or there are many other similar posts that describe how to “sideload” an app into Android.
If you have problems, please let us know.
With our app, you can collect the same basic information as we’ve previously collected on the paper maps.
The app helps you navigate around the plot.
Then, when you observe a bird, you simply tap the birds location on the map (that tree, right there), and speak the species name, the number of individuals, and some information on the birds behaviour (e.g., “singing”).
Then the app captures all of the information from what you’ve said, pre-fills all the appropriate boxes, then checks with you to make sure it recorded everything correctly.
Then you click-ok and look for the next bird…
What is a Census Plot?
A census plot is a predetermined area of the city that represents one of the major features of urban environments: residential areas, parks and natural areas, or natural areas that are likely to be developed in the near future. Observers adopt one of our plots, and then 5-times over the course of our field season (May 24 – July 7) they record the number, species, and location of all of the birds on the plot. The observations can be recorded using an android cell phone or tablet (the app will be available soon) or on paper maps, which you can download and print.
Why Census Plots?
Data from the census plot program are used to get a detailed understanding of urban bird populations in different parts of the city and at different stages of a city’s development. By studying the finer details of urban bird communities, we can learn how to develop cities in a way that creates habitat for people and birds.
How Can I Adopt a Census Plot?
To participate, you need to have a pretty good grasp of the local birds and be willing to commit a total of about 20 hours of your time, spread over 5 mornings during the breeding season. If you’re not sure if your identification skills are up to snuff, contact the coordinator and we’ll figure it out. Many observers enjoy this approach because of the intimate knowledge of the local bird community that they develop on repeated visits and since there are no strict time limits, there is freedom to double-check observations and further investigate unusual sightings.