RUMFORD – A University of Maine at Orono graduate student and wildlife ecology professor are seeking volunteers to survey river birds along several Maine rivers, including the Androscoggin.

The riverine bird survey led by Erynn Call and professor Malcolm Hunter is currently underway along the Penobscot River.

In anticipation of two dams being removed on the Penobscot, several organizations are collaborating to study river birds that might be affected by removal of the dams and restoration of fish populations, Call said in a Friday report.

“Volunteers will conduct 20-minute surveys, approximately every two weeks from April to mid-November until we have clearly documented the response of birds to the dam removal that is likely to occur in 2011,” Call said.

Since last September, Call said surveyors have monitored 30 pilot sites along the Penobscot – mostly between Enfield and Bangor. However, they believe new survey sites north of Howland Dam, including the Piscataquis and Mattawamkeag rivers, and south of Bangor would benefit the project.

Additionally, for control purposes, they are seeking sites on many other rivers such as the Saco, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Sheepscot, Damariscotta, Medomak, St. George, Orland, Union, Narragaugus, Pleasant, Machias, and St. Croix and, perhaps others.

“It is important that survey sites are consistently monitored over the duration of the project, and thus, we hope to find birders who can survey sites for multiple years,” Call said. “Intermediate or higher birding skills are also needed. For example, can you distinguish a black duck from a female mallard?”

Surveys will be largely visual and focus on large aquatic birds, not auditory surveys for songbirds, she added.

For further information or to volunteer, contact Erynn Call at [email protected]

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