Considerable attention has been devoted to the technical aspects of terrestrial bird surveys during the breeding season. However, there is relatively little information specifically addressing the methodology of bird surveys at other times of the year when birds are less vocal and are mobile over areas larger than territories. We tested a method for surveying forest birds in winter, based on the use of playbacks of mobbing calls of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapilla). When compared to pre-playback 5-min standard point counts, playbacks of mobbing calls of the same duration allowed the detection of more individuals and more species. Time of day, with or without playbacks, had no effect on the number of individuals detected or on species richness. We recommend the use of playbacks of mobbing calls of Black-capped Chickadees for surveying forest birds during the non-breeding season because of their efficiency.
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Vol. 73 • No. 3