Winter Raptor Survey (WRS)

The WRS monitors winter raptor populations by conducting roadside surveys in mid-winter (Jan 10 to Feb 8). Participants create their own route in thier area and drive it once and count all of the raptors seen.


WRS Guidelines

1. This being a road survey, THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IS SAFETY. I suggest a designated driver if possible.

2. Design your own route(s). I suggest a min. of 10-20 miles and max. of 100. For long routes - split into 2 days? AVOID BUSY ROADS as much as possible.
Avoid non-maintained backroads that might not be passable some years.

3. Dates: You choose the day: Jan 10 - Feb 8  inclusive.
    Do the route just one time (at least for "official" report purposes).

4. Time of day:  Suggest between 10-2 as much as possible.

5. Weather: WAIT FOR GOOD WEATHER: Avoid foggy, windy, rainy, snowy days.

6. Record hours of survey time(to the nearest half-hour) and miles driven.

7. Note the average approx:
     -snow depth
     -% cloud cover
     -wind as calm, light, or strong

8. Record the following as possible:

  Harriers: Ad. male or female;  or immature
  Red-tails:  Adult or immature
  Rough-leg: light or dark form
  Kestrel :  male or female

  Other raptors - record by age (if possible)

  Vultures (TV or BV)

  Don't linger over birds you can't easily age or sex - just record species.

9. Record other owls, shrikes.

10. You may leave your car to scope or get closer to a bird but do not go on hikes looking for birds.

11. It may be advisable to establish some good (and safe) spots (good vantage points) along your route where you get out scan more thoroughly.

12. Coordinate with others in your county to avoid route duplication.

13. For consistency sake, I will not accept Interstate highway routes.

For more information, contact Greg Grove at