Click Image to See Enlarged, Filled-in Form for 2006 Thumbnail of part of Laimons and Vicki Osis' 2006 Data Sheet B and link to whole Data Sheet.

Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project
for Lincoln County, Oregon.

A Project for Individuals, School Classes, or Groups.

by Yaquina Birders and Naturalists
Last Update: 21 September 2009
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Goals of Project
Advantages of Semimonthly Records
Option: Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations
Potential Semimonthly Project Sites
Semimonthly Data Forms to Use
Details Needed to Document Rare or Rare Unseasonal Birds
Results--Draft for 2006
Role of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists in Project

Goals of Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County, Oregon

Last Update: 19 April 2009

This project is suitable for individuals, school classes, or groups.

One goal of this project is research to document presence and seasonal occurrence of birds at specific sites in Lincoln County. Participants can choose to document birds at their home, neighborhood, work site, or school yard as well as at public areas, including Important Bird Areas (IBA) or parks. With such checklists, comparisons in seasonality can be made among sites and among years.

The second goal is educational to encourage participants to learn more about birds in Lincoln County through observing birds and recording their observations. One way of recording observations is to write field notes in a journal. Unfortunately, it is difficult to readily learn much from notes in a journal without additional, time-consuming analyses that observers generally do not get around to doing. Alternatively, participants in this Checklists Project can learn about birds at their study area (see Potential Sites) as they complete a data form directly or from records in their journal. The data sheets have been created to be simple and self-compiling. Self-compiling means that as a form is filled out for each semimonthly period, the results of previous periods are also visible (e.g., see example of a filled-in form for 2006). Learning through doing can be very effective.

Information about checklist projects are available in the References. Other checklist projects available for participants in Lincoln County are discussed in Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations.

Advantages of Semimonthly Records

Last Update: 10 January 2009

The background of this project will be examined in detail in the future.

Based on my experience with the semimonthly format for Lincoln County as a whole (Bayer 1995a, 1995b), I chose semimonthly checklists for sites for several reasons.

  1. Semimonthly record-keeping is frequent enough to keep an observer's interest, but not frequent enough to wear out an observer or a compiler. Semimonthly is more frequent than monthly, so semimonthly records would also be more sensitive to changes in seasonal occurrence. More frequent record-keeping such as daily or weekly is even more sensitive to migration changes but can be too frequent for participants to sustain regularly throughout a year and also makes compiling results more difficult.
  2. The Lincoln County semimonthly checklist is an easy format for participants to fill out. Others have suggested more complicated checklists by including counts of bird numbers and recording observation times and other standardized data such as weather (e.g., see References). But this results in a checklist project becoming more like a systematic censusing project, and as the complexity of observations and data recording increases, the number of volunteer participants can be expected to decline. If volunteers wanted to do a more systematic monitoring project, they could do so as they are available (e.g., see other projects).
  3. A semimonthly checklist implicitly reminds observers to continue to make regular observations. Every two weeks, a blank column reminds an observer that it is time to record which species are now present.
  4. A semimonthly checklist is self-compiling, so that a participant can see the results at a glance as he or she fills out the form (e.g., see example of a filled-in form for 2006). This empowers the participant to see seasonal patterns, an overview of the year, and to learn from his or her own observations. I realized that I might not be able to do timely reports, but that participants could still benefit from seeing their self-compiling results. In contrast, participants would submit their observations but not see the results until others complete a report for the daily or weekly checklist format recommended or used by others (e.g., see Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations and References). Further, in many of those projects, the results are pooled for many observers, so that a participant would not see the results for his or her observations.
  5. Semimonthly checklists are flexible and compatible with recording observations in a journal. More notes and details can be written in a journal, but it is difficult to readily learn much about bird seasonality from notes in a journal without additional, time-consuming analyses. Alternatively, you can use a journal for recording daily observations or details of what you see and then use these observations to fill out the semimonthly data forms to see seasonal patterns throughout the year.
  6. Semimonthly checklists are easy to read on standard computer monitors as a row only requires a width of 83 columns for January-December results. If a row is much wider, computer users would have to scroll sidewise and thereby miss viewing a whole year at a time. This benefits participants, readers, and data compilers.
  7. Semimonthly checklists take much less time to make a report. The form can be directly entered into a computer file, with no need for me or others to compile bird lists, which is time consuming. Daily or weekly checklists may better monitor birds if participants are willing to use them, but I do not have the time to input and edit the data as well as prepare a report of the results.

Option: Participate in More Than One Project with the Same Observations

Last Update: 10 January 2009

An individual, school class, or group can participate in the Semimonthly Project and in other projects using the same observations to report birds in different formats. Projects do not have to compete for observers or the observers' time. Sharing observations in more than one project can be helpful.

Below are projects that an observer in Lincoln County may participate in.

Year-around Bird Record Projects

Seasonal Projects that Include Lincoln County

Potential Semimonthly Project Sites

Last Update: 10 January 2009

Pick an area at your feeder, yard, neighborhood, work site, or school yard to watch! Learn about the birds around you!

And/or pick a public area such as a park or an Important Bird Area (IBA) in Lincoln County. Bird occurrence and seasonality is monitored at few public areas in Lincoln County. Accordingly, at least one observation per month and preferably one observation in the first half and the last half of a month (i.e., semimonthly) at a public area of your choosing or at one of those below that are arranged from north to south (links to information about many of these sites will be added in the future) would be helpful:

  1. Salmon River Estuary (Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of HWY 101 and south of Three Rocks Road to the Estuary mouth--does not include ocean; Knight Park alone would be good)
  2. Devils Lake
  3. D River State Recreation Site
  4. North Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of HWY 101, north of Cutler City, and to mouth of Bay, does not include Salishan Spit or the ocean)
  5. North Salishan Spit (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; only includes undeveloped sandy spit at north end of Salishan Spit where waterbirds often roost)
  6. South Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; water, intertidal area, and marshes west of HWY 101 and south of Cutler City; most of the marshes along the east side are part of the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge--does not include Salishan Spit)
  7. East Siletz Bay (portion of Siletz Bay Important Bird Area; SEE BIRDING TRAIL GUIDE FOR DESCRIPTION)
  8. Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint and ocean visible therefrom
  9. West Depoe Bay (water and intertidal area west of HWY 101 seawall)
  10. Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint (which is also known as Whale Cove) and ocean visible therefrom
  11. Devil's Punch Bowl State Natural Area and ocean visible therefrom
  12. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (Important Bird Area; area within YHONA and ocean visible from YHONA)
  13. West Yaquina Bay Bridge and South Jetty (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; land near the Yaquina Bay South Jetty Road and water and intertidal area west of Yaquina Bay Bridge to the mouth of the jetties--does not include ocean)
  14. HMSC and Idaho Flats (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; area visible from the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center; only the aquatic portion is included as part of the Yaquina Bay IBA)
  15. Sally's Bend (portion of Yaquina Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area in the embayment east of the Newport Liquefied Natural Gas [LNG] tank)
  16. Mike Miller Park and Educational Trail
  17. Ona Beach State Park (land and water west of HWY 101 to the ocean--does not include ocean)
  18. Lower Beaver Creek (water and marsh east of HWY 101 to the junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads)
  19. North Beaver Creek (water and marsh along North Beaver Creek Road upstream of junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads)
  20. South Beaver Creek (water and marsh along South Beaver Creek Road upstream of junction of North and South Beaver Creek Roads, including Seal Rock Stables)
  21. Seal Rocks (Seal Rocks State Park and area west of HWY 101 south to Quail Street)
  22. West Alsea Bay (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area west of the Alsea Bay Bridge and to the mouth of Bay--does not include Alsea Bay Spit or ocean)
  23. South Alsea Bay Spit (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; only includes undeveloped sandy spit at south end of Alsea Bay Spit where waterbirds often roost)
  24. East Alsea Bay (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and intertidal area east of the Alsea Bay Bridge to the mouth of Eckman Lake)
  25. Eckman Lake (portion of Alsea Bay Important Bird Area; water and marsh south of Highway 34 and north of the gravel road crossing the south end of Eckman Lake)
  26. Yachats Community Park
  27. Yachats Bay (water and intertidal area in the "bay" west of HWY 101 and between the westernmost points of land north and south of the mouth of the Yachats River; see Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide sites 87 and 88).

Sites that have been recently monitored in Lincoln County are less than 500 ft in elevation. But there appears to be differences in bird communities between those at elevations less than 500 ft and those above 1,500 ft in Lincoln County. Hopefully, someone will regularly monitor a site above 1,500 ft or at least above 1,000 ft.

Semimonthly Data Forms to Use

Last Update: 22 December 2008

The semimonthly checklist data forms were revised in December 2008 (e.g., the previous Sheet B). Major revisions include:

Data Sheets in PDF Files. When printing these forms, the darkness may need to be adjusted so that the shading does not come out too dark to make it hard to see writing or too light that shading is lost.

Details Needed to Document Rare or Rare Unseasonal Birds

Last Update: 25 December 2008, Links Last Checked: 15 December 2008

During semimonthly observations, you may see a bird rare or very unseasonal in Lincoln County (gg4.htm), along the Oregon Coast (see "Birding Trail Checklist" at, or in Oregon (see "Checklist of Oregon Birds" at To document your sighting, it helps to take photos (sometimes even a cell phone photo can be sufficient!) and to write down details about it. Please also promptly report it because others would also like to see it.

At the local and state levels, we strive to include only records of accurately identified birds. So, when reporting a rare or rare unseasonal bird, expect questions, whether you are a novice or expert birder. Remember to not take questions personally. It is details about the bird and its identity that are the focus of questions, not the observer. Often, what may have first seemed to have been a rare bird may not have been. Further, a bird only may be briefly glimpsed or details needed to make a conclusive identification may not have been noted. Accordingly, it may not be possible to conclusively identify all birds that we see or hear sufficiently for a record to be accepted. Sometimes this will mean that a valid identification of a rarity will not be accepted because there are not enough documentation and details to prove the identification beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Oregon Bird Records Committee "Rare Bird Report Form" ( is an excellent guide to details that are useful in documenting a bird's identity. Some of the questions include the number, sex, plumage, and age of the bird observed; date(s) of observation, and location and habitat types at the observation site. Other details should include "only what was actually observed, not what should have been seen or heard." Write down field marks of the bird that were actually observed, including the color of the bird's bill, eye, throat, back, chest, belly, wings, tail, and legs. Also comment about bill shape, and relative proportions of bill and legs, if relevant to identifying the bird. If heard, also describe the bird's song, calls, or notes. Additionally, describe the light conditions in observing the bird, distance to the bird, observation duration, optical equipment used to observe the bird, and time of day.

If the bird is rare for Oregon, please send your report to the Oregon Bird Records Committee (the Secretary Harry Nehls' email address is at the top of and email a copy to me (Range Bayer) for our Lincoln County records. If the bird is rare for Lincoln County or is rare for the season, please email your report to Range.

Records of rare or rare unseasonal species will be classed as Confirmed or Unconfirmed. Unconfirmed records may be of birds that were accurately identified.

Thanks for your cooperation!

Results--Draft for 2006

Last Update: 30 December 2008

PDF Draft of Results for 2006 (28 pages, 164K). In future drafts, I will add more information about the study area and observation methods for each site.

Role of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N) in Semimonthly Bird Checklists Project for Lincoln County

Last Update: 13 April 2009

This is an all-volunteer project that was made possible by Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N).

Each year, starting in 1992, this Project was announced in the Sandpiper, the newsletter of YB&N. Data sheets (e.g., see Forms and Example of a Filled-in Form) were included with the announcement, and YB&N paid for the cost of publishing the announcements and for the forms in most years as part of the expenses of the Sandpiper.

Almost all participants have also been members of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists (YB&N).


Last Update: 22 December 2008

This gives some of the many references about checklist programs. Checklist projects that are available for participants in Lincoln County are discussed in Participate in More Than One Project with Same Observations.

Andrews, B., B. Righter, and M. Carter. 1992. A proposed format for local bird checklists. Colorado Field Ornithologists' Journal 26(1):12-18.

Anonymous. 2000. Canadian Bird Checklist Program.

Anonymous. 2008a. Bird monitoring in North America. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Anonymous 2008b. WSO research: checklist project. Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

Bayer, R. D. 1995a. Background of the Birds of Lincoln County Project and recommendations for others planning similar projects. J. Oregon Ornithology 4:353-394.

Bayer, R. D. 1995b. Semimonthly bird records through 1992 for Lincoln County, Oregon; part II: records sorted by species. J. Oregon Ornithology 4:395-543.

Cyr, A. and J. Larivee. 1993. A checklist approach for monitoring neotropical migrant birds: twenty-year trends in birds of Quebec using ÉPOQ. P. 229-236 in Finch, D. M. and P. W. Stangel (eds.), Status and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds: September 21-25, 1992, Estes Park, Colorado. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. Fort Collins, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Downes, C. M., J. Bart, B. T. Collins, B. Craig, B. Dale, E. H. Dunn, C. M. Francis, S. Woodley, and P. Zorn. 2005. Small-scale monitoring--can it be integrated with large-scale programs? USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191.

Droege, S., A. Cyr, and J. Larivee. 1998. Checklists: an under-used tool for the inventory and monitoring of plants and animals. Conservation Biology 12:1134-1138.

Dunn, E. 1995. Recommended methods for regional checklist programs. Prepared for the Extensive Monitoring Technical Committee of the Migration Monitoring Council June, 1995. On 6 September 2008, this is also at

Dunn, E.H., J. Larivee, and A Cyr. 1996. Can checklist programs be used to monitor populations of birds recorded during the migration season? Wilson Bulletin 108:540-549.

Joseph, L. N., S. A. Field, C. Wilcox, and H. P. Possingham. 2006. Presence-absence versus abundance data for monitoring threatened species. Conservation Biology 20:1679-1687.

Manley, P. N., M. D. Schlesinger, J. K. Roth, and B. Van Horne. 2005. A field-based evaluation of a presence-absence protocol for monitoring ecoregional-scale biodiversity. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:950-966. On 22 September 2008, this along with some other relevant references to this subject is at

Marsh, D. M. and P. C. Trenham. 2008. Current trends in plant and animal population monitoring. Conservation Biology 22:647-655.

Parody, J. M., F. J. Cuthbert, and E. H. Decker. 2001. The effect of 50 years of landscape change on species richness and community composition. Global Ecology & Biogeography 10:305-313.

Pollock, J. F. 2006. Detecting population declines over large areas with presence-absence, time-to-encounter, and count survey methods. Conservation Biology 20: 882-892.

Roberts, R. L., P. F. Donald, and I. J. Fisher. 2005. Wordbirds: developing a web-based data collection system for the global monitoring of bird distribution and abundance. Biodiversity and Conservation 14:2807-2820.

Temple, S. A. and B. L. Temple. 1976. Avian population trends in central New York State, 1935-1972. Bird-Banding 47:238-257.

Temple, S. A., J. R. Cary, and R. Rolley. 1997. Wisconsin birds: a seasonal and geographical guide. Second edition. Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison Wisconsin.

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