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1. IBA Standard Protocol All Bird Survey Info and Forms

IBA-logo copy_clipped outRegularly surveyed IBA routes are now only surveyed 4 times a year with an optional 5th survey in winter. All surveys are transects, we are no longer regularly conducting point counts. The following schedule is designed for a mid-elevation area in southern Arizona. There are locations that have a tailored schedule or survey type. If you believe your route would benefit from a different schedule or protocol, please let one of the two IBA offices know.

Arizona IBA regular survey schedule:

  1. Late March/April – for spring migrants and early nesters
  2. May/Early June – spring breeders
  3. Mid  July/ Early August – summer breeders (Monsoon)
  4. September/Early October – fall migrants
  5. Optional November-Jan Survey –  wintering birds

Note: Depending on elevation, some survey sites have custom survey schedules.

Tools for Conducting Bird Surveys

AZ IBA Bird Survey Protocol Document – The current protocol for conducting the different surveys.

Video discussing the Arizona IBA Bird Survey Protocol


Line Transect Datasheet – the datasheet for a line transect, you should bring at least 5 copies to your survey
Point Count Datasheet – the datasheet for a point count, you should bring a sheet for each point count
Point Count (100m, 5 min.) Datasheet – a datasheet for the specialized 5 minute point count survey
Area Search – datasheet for an area search, you should bring at least 5 copies
Census Datasheet– datasheet for a census of a pond or other water body, you should bring at least 3 copies
Nocturnal Datasheet – datasheet for a nocturnal point count
Code Sheet
 – reference sheet of the various codes that are helpful to record behavior etc.
Universal Coversheet – Every survey must have a cover sheet recording the survey location, the date, the start and stop time, the names of surveyors (with the recorder marked) and the volunteer hours and miles.

Species Codes – a reference sheet of the 4 letter codes of bird species that occur in Arizona. You do not need to use these codes if you don’t want to, your own easy to understand abbreviations are fine, but these codes really speed up your recording, especially for very common birds such as MODO for Mourning Dove and LEGO for Lesser Goldfinch

IBA Nomination Materials:

IBA Nomination Form – The official form used to nominate an IBA and submit to the AZ IBA Science Committee
Bird Data Form Extra – Separated data form from nomination
IBA Site Criteria – A reference sheet of the criteria a site needs to meet to become an IBA
Land Ownership Guidelines – Protocol on how to approach a land owner about their land being nominated as an IBA
Arizona Special Status Species – a spreadsheet of the species that have special conservation status

Current Arizona IBA information

Arizona IBAs – a list of the IBAs in Arizona
Potential future AZ IBAs – a list of areas identified as potential IBAs for the future by AZ IBA staff and volunteers

Avian Community Investigations of the BHP Billiton San Pedro River Riparian Corridor, San Manuel, Arizona, for 2009 
(pdf report, 15mb) Newly released April 2010!

Studies to Asses the Upland Bird Community, Nocturnal Bird Community, and Gray Hawk nesting within the BHP Billiton property along the lower San Pedro River, San Manuel, Arizona, in 2011 
(pdf report, low resoluntion) Newly released August 2011!
*If you would like a higher quality pdf version, please contact us.

To participate in science-based IBA bird surveys managed by Audubon’s IBA Program in Arizona, including surveys at potential IBAs, existing IBAs, or at sites of interest to Audubon chapters in AZ, please contact Jennie MacFarland, AZ IBA Program Conservation Biologist at Tucson Audubon Society (520) 209-1804. Email:

To inquire about the AZ IBA Program in general, including the IBA nomination and review process, the AZ IBA Science Committee, IBAs identified to date, and IBA recognition & publicity, as well as Audubon state policy issues, please contact Tice Supplee, Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Arizona (620) 468-6470 x106. Email: