This study represents a systematic bird survey in part of the Lower Jinsha Valley, in Western China. The intention of the study is to document the bird fauna of the area before it undergoes significant environmental transformation. The study area will be affected by the construction of a series of large hydropower dams along the Jinsha (Yangtze) River. Flooding of the valleys in this area will be to an elevation of 825m and will result in the inundation of substantial areas of farmland and much of the current sparse and poor quality forest habitat in Ningnan County (Sichuan Province) and Qiaojia County (Yunnan Province). Bird searches were conducted at 15 locations (5 in forest, 5 in farmland, 5 in Leucaena plantation) during two survey periods.
Two visits were made to each location during each study period. One visit occurred during the morning and involved a timed transect search plus a list building search. The other visit occurred during the afternoon and involved a list building search only. The timed transect search involved noting birds seen along the 100m transect during a 20min search period. No recorded calls were used to attract birds during the timed transect search, which always occurred prior to the list building search. List building searches were conducted in the interests of maximizing the opportunity to identify species present at each location. Each list building search involved an initial broadcast playback of the call of Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) followed by identification of birds seen or heard, including birds responding to the call of the owlet. Collared Owlet is a small owl, which sometimes hunts diurnally. It is commonly mobbed by small songbirds (Mackinnon and Phillips, 2010). Where necessary, previously recorded calls of particular bird species were used to encourage birds to respond and therefore confirm identification. In some cases, calling birds were recorded in situ and these calls were immediately played back in order to encourage a response and allow visual identification. All birds clearly identified visually or by their call were recorded, including birds of prey seen flying overhead or in nearby valleys. Birds seen on roadsides during transit between locations were noted separately and are included in the bird list for the survey period, but not included in analyses.
The visualisation of the survey data is part of an interoperable web-GIS maintained by the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation(CeRDI) at Federation University Australia (FedUni).