What is a Bioblitz?
The goal of a bioblitz is simple: take an inventory of all life forms you can find in a particular area over a particular time period. This time period is usually 24 hours but can be stretched to two days depending on scheduling.
Creating a bioblitz is simple and easy and can be done right at home in your own backyard. Here are 10 things to consider when running a bioblitz in your yard.
1. Choose a date that you expect to have good weather and a good diversity of wildlife present. During periods of bird migration is a great time for a bioblitz!
2. Get up early in the morning, preferably before dawn. This allows you to hear the sounds of the animals that go silent when the sun comes up.
3. Remember to record individual species for your total. For example you see a flock of 10 American Crows in the morning and a flock of 20 later in the day; record 20. But if you can determine individual birds like male and females with distinct plumage, these can be counted together.
4. Only count birds using the designated area. This differs from other bird counts by disregarding flyover species. For a bioblitz we only want to know what is physically using the habitat.
5. Remember the insects! Turn over rocks and logs to look for insects. If suitable, dig a hole in the soil and sift through the dirt to discover hidden species of grubs and bugs.
6. Try and identify all vegetation growing. This is a great time to brush up on tree identification and to put a name on that “weird looking plant that is probably a weed”.
7. Take breaks! Especially if you got up at the crack of dawn, make sure to eat and drink and maybe even take a siesta mid-day when things are quieter.
8. Have some fun! This is a great time to take have lunch outside or work on yard projects. The more hours you can spend outside, looking and listening, the more diversity you will discover and identify.
9. Don’t worry about identifying everything! You may miss some birds and if you’re like us, figuring out insect species is a real challenge. Sometimes it is OK to have 1 Gull sp. on your list, even if you aren’t sure which kind.
10. Keep records of all that you found. This is especially useful if you are working on habitat creation and this is the first bioblitz for the area. This will give you a baseline to return to season to season and year after year.
Start your bioblitz today and feel free to share how it went!