The Long Watch is a volunteer-run project to accumulate seasonal data on bird populations on natural lands owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario.
The project started in 2014 and we expect it to continue indefinitely. Data collected over many years becomes increasingly helpful to RBG in management of its properties and will contribute to understanding trends at these nationally recognized Important Bird Areas (IBA).
There are two parts to the Long Watch Project:
- Regular morning bird transects along fixed routes
- All-day, dawn to dusk census from fixed stations, one day each in May and September.
Volunteer birders complete our regular morning transects and our full day censuses.
- Good bird identification skills
- Can commit a few mornings in spring or fall
- Will record and report sightings
Volunteering for Regular Morning Bird Transects
We need birders who can do a regular morning bird transect. We will assign an experienced census volunteer to accompany you for the first one or two outings. Together, Long Watch volunteers aim to complete a total of at least three transects per route per week.
For each transect that you volunteer for:
- 2-3 kilometers walking along defined routes in Royal Botanical Gardens properties.
- 2-3 hours of observations plus about half an hour to compile and report your results
Volunteering on one of our all-day, dawn to dusk censuses
Whether you’re relatively new to birding or a seasoned veteran, you could enjoy this dawn to dusk activity – our observers record the presence of all birds whether passing over or hanging around. Most volunteers spend a few hours helping but some die-hards stay on site all day. Any contribution of time is valuable.
- Full-day birding event from dawn until dusk
- Occurs twice per year to coincide with spring & fall migration
- Usually held on the third or fourth weekend in May and September (exact dates are announced closer to)
- Volunteers can stay for a few hours or the whole day
- Beginners welcome