Detectability of Non-passerines Using "Pishing" in Eastern Ontario Woodlands


  • J. Ryan Zimmerling University of Western Ontario, Department of Biology, London, Ontario N6A 5B7



breeding birds, non-passerines, pishing, point counts, woodlands, Arnprior, Ontario


During spring and summer 1997, non-passerines were surveyed in three woodlots near Arnprior, Ontario, using standard point counts, and standard point counts combined with “pishing” (pishing involves the observer saying the words “pish pish pish pish” in a continuous series of short bursts). Of the 27 non-passerine species detected, 22 were recorded on more days using pishing as opposed to the standard point count method. However, only three of these species were recorded on significantly more days using pishing. Several woodpecker species approached more closely during point counts with pishing, which facilitated identification. In contrast, raptors and some other non-passerines that may have otherwise gone unnoticed were identified as they fled from the pishing sound. Hence, when the overall goal of research is to detect species richness or to gather presence and absence data in woodlands, point counts combined with pishing may increase detectability of some non-passerines.