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 was started in 2014 and we expect it to continue indefinitely.  Data collected over many years will become increasingly useful in management of RBG’s properties and will contribute to understanding trends at one of Canada’s most dynamic Important Bird Areas (IBA).

Long Watch volunteer birders spend time in the field recording species sightings and abundance; it’s a routine called a line transect. We complete transects in four of the busiest and most rewarding birding months: April and May, and September and October. Together, Long Watch volunteers aim to complete at least three transects per week on each of three routes.

Who are Our volunteers?

Our  volunteers are ordinary birders who enjoy birding with a scientific purpose and…

  •       Have good bird identification skills;
  •       Commit a few mornings in spring or fall to complete a transect;
  •       Record and report their sightings.

What’s involved in a transect?

  •       Walking 2 to 3 kilometers along a defined route on RBG property looking and listening for birds.
  •       Keeping notes of all birds seen and heard.
  •       Compiling and reporting results.
  •       The total time commitment per transect is 2 to 3 hours


We welcome birders to our team who can commit to doing morning transects.  If this is for you, contact us. We’ll show you how we do things and if you want to take part we can always team you up with an experienced volunteer to accompany you for your first few transects.


Interested in volunteering?  Contact Us

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Long Watch Fall 2017 season draws to a close.

It’s been a rather mixed fall.  We’ve seen a lot of unusually warm weather with mid-September temperatures  in the low 30s (Celsius) -or about 85 F.  Birders have been anxiously watching and hoping for changes in conditions, especially anticipated are cold fronts from the north-west to stir things up. It’s now mid October and most … Continue reading Long Watch Fall 2017 season draws to a close.

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