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Monitoring - Wildlife

Breeding Bird Survey


Ian McDonald surveying birds near Margret Lake
Ian McDonald surveying birds near Margaret Lake

Environmental problems in wintering areas, breeding areas and along migration routes used by birds can affect the health of their populations. Breeding bird surveys are used to detect changes in the abundance and distribution of bird populations. The purpose of this survey is to create a long term record of breeding bird observations in Ivvavik National Park. This survey is based on the breeding bird surveys used by the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Alaska Offroad Bird Survey.


  • To monitor the abundance and distribution of breeding birds at two locations in Ivvavik National Park.

Methods and Information Collected

  • Surveys are conducted at Sheep Creek and Margaret Lake in the Firth River watershed.
  • Four transects, each with 12 stations, are surveyed. There are 2 transects at Margaret Lake and 2 transects at Sheep Creek.
  • Horned Lark
    Horned Lark
    Surveys are conducted in early to mid-June. Survey dates are kept relatively consistent from year to year.
  • All surveys start at 5:00 am and conclude by 11:00 am.
  • Only selected bird species are recorded for the survey. Additional species can be noted if the observer is certain of their identification.
  • Birds are identified within a 50 m radius by sight and sound at each station. Observations at each station are made for 5 minutes.
  • Birds observed after the five minutes, or while travelling between stations, are recorded separately.
  • Wind and weather conditions are also recorded for each station.
  • Incidental observations of ground squirrels and Dall's sheep are also recorded.

Years of Data

  • 1999 to 2002


  • Breeding bird surveys were conducted at Margaret Lake on June 14-15, 2002 and at Sheep Creek on June 18, 2002.
  • Three of 4 routes were surveyed in 2002. The Sheep Creek South route was not surveyed because of poor weather and logistics.
  • Northern Pintail, Spotted Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper were observed during the survey for the first time in 2002. All of these species are known to occur in the Margaret Lake and Sheep Creek areas.


Ian McDonald
Conservation Biologist
Parks Canada
P.O. Box 1840
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0
Phone: (867) 777-8807
Fax: (867) 777-8820

Red-thoated Loon
Red-thoated Loon