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FLOCK COMPOSTION PROTOCOL

The flock crews have 3 objectives, 1) quantify the activity budget


(costs/benefits) of a target species, and 2) quantify flock dynamics
temporally and spatially 3) quantify vocalizations to infer intra and
inter specific interactions. This requires a flock crew of three
observers.
Pre-dawn Protocol
1) Crews that will follow flocks will need to be present at the flock
roosting site BEFORE birds start singing. Once at the roosting site
marker (should be flagged), the direction and distance and time
of singing should be recorded for each distinguishable individual
of the primary flock species. In addition, you will need to record
the flock dawn chorus. Recording should run for 20 minutes
starting at dawn (verified by GPS). Team should transition to day
protocol on the first half hour interval where birds are visible.
Day Protocol
The day protocol quantifies the data below repeatedly in half hour
intervals. During each interval, the observer team will record the
following data,
OBSERVERS 1&2
A minimum of 20min in each 30min interval should be spent
quantifying flock composition and diversity. The first 10 min should be
focused on detecting and censusing as many permanent flock
members as possible. The rest of the census time will include
facultative species.
Birds are considered part of the flock if they are feeding for 15min and
within 15m of another flocking bird. From core flocking species,
observers should scan out 15m meters from farthest perimeter birds
and keep doing so until no more birds are found. In a similar vane,
observers should scan similarly in vertical fashion until no more birds
are found. Each time an individual is detected (either visual or
auditory) an observer records the following:
Permanent flock members (THSY, THAR, MYAX, MYLO, MYME, EPHA,
EPLE, HYOC)

Detection method (distinguish between visual or auditory)


Nearest heterospecific neighbor (visual only)

Angle to each= Clock orientation to estimate angle. Angle


estimates nearest neighbor to focal species. Only use NN AFTER
focal species flies to perch.
Time=Use military time
Height. (<=1meter:estimate to nearest .1m, 1 to 4m=estimate
to nearest .5m, >=to 4m estimate to nearest meter.

Facultative flock members


Time=Use military time
Height
Example of data to be entered for flock composition:

The remaining part of the time interval will be spent quantifying


foraging behavior and/or taking data on recordings (see below).
OBSERVER 1
The recorder needs to be on as continuously as possible, and should
include half hour segments that begin and end with the census
interval.
Whenever possible, specific vocalizations should be noted and flagged
by both the recording number and the time within the specific
recording (ID of recording is the recording number). This will usually
be alarm call data.
Recording data should be recorded on a separate SCAS data sheet.
Recordings should be entered in the computer as follows

FLOCK-SPECIES-VOCALIZATION TYPE TYPE OF RESPONSE DATEORIGINAL RECORDING NUMBER in the folder corresponding to that
specific flock.
FOLDER FLOCK B
EX. FLOCKB-MYAX-2NOTECALL-RTSONG-21-AUG-2014-DR00005

OBSERVER 2
Movement rates should be recorded every ten 10min. with a distance
and direction to the focal flock species from the GPS point. Observer
will flag point.

OBSERVER 3
Measure canopy height with range finder

Measure vertical vegetation profile by estimating vegetation hits within


vertical linear band of 0-1,1-2,2-4,4-8,8-16,16-32,32+

TRAINING PROTOCOL
Day 1 and 2
Practice on 30 different heights throughout the day.
1) Measure with range finder
Practice on 30 different lengths
1) Measure with rope or meter tape or range finder
Practice 30 different examples of vegetation density
1) First estimate density then measure with rod for each estimate
Observ

Observati

Density

Density

Horizontal

Horizontal

Vertical

Vertical

er

on

Estimate

Actual

Estimate

Actual

Estimate

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

We will practice heights and distances on the first day: Practice on 30


vertical heights and 30 horizontal distances using a range finder and
laser pointer. Each individual will write their estimate for each
observation in one column and then will write the actual estimate for
each observation. We will also practice vertical vegetation profile
estimates.

Below is a checklist of equipment that you should have prepped to go


each morning
FLOCK COMPOSITION EQUIPMENT
CHECKLIST
OBS 1
OBS 2
OBS 3
Binoculars
Binoculars
Binoculars
Data
Compass
notebook
Range finder
Veg Data
Microphone
Pencil
notebook
TASCAM
recorder
Clippers
Meauring Tape
Cable
GPS Unit
Pencil
Batteries
Batteries
Tripod
Flagging Tape

Actual

SCAS
datasheet
Extra
Batteries
Pencil
Storage Box

Marker

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