Routes maps and protocols

We have three, more-or-less circular, routes that pass through a variety of interesting habitats. Volunteer individuals or small teams walk each route, resulting in at least three transects being completed per route each week during April, May, September, and October.

We schedule volunteers to complete counts on days and routes as their time permits.

The volunteer’s task is to walk a route counting and recording all birds seen and heard. This is a survey technique called a line transect, and is much more than a checklist noting species presence.  The counts demand sustained concentration and reasoned judgment.  Our volunteer birders’ visual and listening skills improve with every outing.

We currently have three transect routes:

  1.    Captain Cootes Loop (near the RBG Arboretum)
  2.    Grey Doe Circuit (near the RBG Arboretum)
  3.    Cherry Hill Circuit (in Hendrie Valley)

All routes lead through a variety of habitats and therefore the mix of species changes as you progress. Transects give a good running picture of the timing and volume of migratory movements, as well as population data for year-round and resident summer species.

Pond along Cherry Hill loop


  •       Transects start at least one hour after sunrise
  •       May take from 1.5 to 3 hours depending on bird activity
  •       Must be completed by 12:00 noon

·       Transect loops may be walked by an individual or by small groups of observers with one person, the leader, responsible for recording, compiling and submitting the results

View our transect routes and protocols.