The annual survey of Cape Sable seaside sparrows is conducted during the breeding season between April and May by helicopter. Observers are dropped at a site within a 1 km grid where they record the number of sparrows seen or heard within a 10 minute interval. Each day 20 to 30 sites are visited. The sites and daily transects are chosen by stratified random sampling of sites.
SIMSPAR uses the number of singing males from 1993 and 1998 to determine the maximum number of territories. Since the number of sparrows in a particular 1 km grid cell is sampled randomly each year, the grid site is likely to be visited on a "bad" day in one year and a "good" day in another year. Therefore, the use of the maximum number of territories at a particular site gives a better idea of the maximum number of territories a cell can support. These maxima are used in the model.