Point-transect sampling is widely used for monitoring trends in abundance of songbirds. It is conceptualized as a “snapshot” method in which birds are “frozen” at a single location. With conventional methods, an observer records birds detected from a point for several minutes, during which birds may move around. This generates upward bias in the density estimate. I compared this conventional approach with two other approaches: in one, the observer records locations of detected birds at a snapshot moment; in the other, distances to detected cues (songbursts), rather than birds, are recorded. I implemented all three approaches, together with line-transect sampling and territory mapping in a survey of four bird species. The conventional method gave a biased estimate of density for one species. The snapshot method was found to be the most efficient of the point-sampling methods. Line-transect sampling proved more efficient than the point-sampling methods for all four species. This is likely to be generally true, provided that terrain and habitat allow easy use of a design with random transect lines. I concluded that the snapshot method is more appropriate than the conventional timed-count method for surveying songbirds. Although precision was rather poor with the cue-based method (partly because too few resources were devoted to cue rate estimation), it may be particularly useful for some single-species surveys. In addition, it is the only valid method for estimating abundance from surveys in which acoustic equipment is used to detect birds.
Muestreos en Transectos Puntuales para Aves Canoras: Metodologías Robustas