Multiple-observer point-count methods allow estimation of detection probability and have some advantages over other point-count methods. We introduce the unreconciled double-observer method, an independent double-observer method that does not require observers to match or otherwise reconcile individual observations. The modeling of the counts uses the repeated-counts model (Royle 2004). We compared estimates of detection probability and abundance from the unreconciled double-observer method with estimates from the traditional independent double-observer method (which requires matching of individual animals) using field-simulated bird-point-count data. The unreconciled double-observer method provided point estimates of detection probability and abundance that were essentially identical to the results of the independent double-observer method, even though much less effort was required to collect data with the unreconciled method. Estimates of detection probability from the unreconciled double-observer method were usually less precise—and estimates of abundance always less precise—than those from the independent double-observer method, because there is less information available in the unreconciled double-observer approach. We also evaluated the unreconciled double-observer method on 12 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes. The unreconciled double-observer method provided estimates of route-level abundance for most routes and for most of the 20 species we considered. We believe that this method has potential for established bird-monitoring programs such as the BBS because no changes in historical data-collection methods are required other than collecting data simultaneously using two or more observers.
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Vol. 127 • No. 4