Bird Atlas Tips June 2009
Hi Loudoun County Atlasers!
As summer quickly approaches, many species are entering their safe dates, which means even more opportunities to document possible breeders! The atlas highlight for the month of May was confirmed breeding in the Loggerhead Shrike (Laura Weidner found nestlings)! Another fun sighting was three clumsy Common Raven fledglings begging from their parents (thanks, Joe Coleman, for sharing this great sighting).
Here are a few items to review as we dive into our 3rd month of the Loudoun County Bird atlas…
• If you observe a Species of Special Interest in the appropriate circumstances, please submit an Atlas Verification Form to the Atlas Coordinator as soon as possible (see Atlas Handbook for details). I hope to have an electronic version of the Verification Form available next month.
• Please refer to your handbook (pages 9-15) when determining which code to record for a particular behavior. The handbook provides important details and examples not found on your field card. For example, the P and N codes from the Probable Breeder category should be used sparingly, with the N code used mainly for cavity nesters. In addition, page 12 of the handbook (in the Confirmed Breeder section) highlights certain coding exceptions for colonial waterbirds (mainly Great Blue Herons), Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, and Bank Swallows. Please be conservative when determining which code to record. Don’t hesitate to ask your Regional Coordinator or myself for help if you have any questions.
• Record any new data you have for bird species that have already been documented as nesting, but do not go out of your way to pursue this kind of data.
Special Survey Update
We currently have 4 atlasers running 3 Owl/Nightjar Survey routes in northern, western, and southeastern Loudoun. We hope to increase this number of routes in future atlas years. I will be organizing the 2009 Abundance “Mini-Route” Surveys in the upcoming weeks. If you haven’t already, please let me know if you are interested in helping with either of these special surveys.
26 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 394 hours in the field documenting 4,972 sightings. You have recorded 172 species, with 50 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Many of these numbers have doubled from last month! Keep up the great work!
Your Atlasing Tips
Do you have any atlasing tips that you want to share with the group? We would love to hear from you! Either hit “reply all” to this email or send me an email and I’ll include your tip in the next month’s newsletter. For example, atlaser Emily Southgate recommends reading Bird Homes by Dugmore, published in 1905 (used copies available on Alibris). Emily states, “This book is from back in the days of egg and nest collecting and cutting trees to see inside woodpecker nests, so seems quite shocking in places, but it has wonderful information about nesting, based on careful observations.”
Please forward these monthly emails to anyone you think may be interested in joining in the fun and becoming an atlaser! Thanks for volunteering your time and talent to this important project!
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator