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Tips for Recording Bird Observations

We welcome all bird observations but ask that you:

  • Summarize observations of more common species to the first and last date seen at a given locale within a given season. Data for a common species at a given locale could be summarized in a single spreadsheet row for example.


  • Include as much site specific information as possible on the location of birds. Today, GPS units can be used to measure locations to a precision on the order of several meters under ideal conditions. Including GPS information, especially for the location of nests, is important information to record.

GPS units are not readily available to all birders. Lists of birds are often compiled in a general locale but may not be associated with a specific location. The maps available on this web page should allow you document the general location of birds you may have seen to at least the QQLL level.

Observations that meet one or more of the following criteria are of greatest conservation value:

  1. Observations of birds that elevate the highest "status" for a given locale (b -> B, w -> W, t -> b or B or w or W);

  2. Observations of breeding birds where breeding can be documented;

  3. Observations of birds that would extend the known range of a species (note that observations of rare birds should be submitted directly to the Montana Rare Birds Committee);

  4. Observations of birds that would extend the known phonological limits of a species;

  5. Observations of any of the state Species of Concern;

  6. Observations of any bird(s) showing obvious signs of disease; and

  7. Observations of birds from areas in the state not frequented by birders.