Bird Atlas Tips October 2009
Hi Loudoun County Atlasers,
Congratulations on getting through our first breeding season! We’ve made great progress and documented some spectacular species, such as confirmed breeding for the Loggerhead Shrike, probable breeding for the Horned Lark, Cerulean Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and observations of 3 White Ibises and a Stilt Sandpiper. Our work is far from over though. To make this atlas project a success, we need to stay motivated throughout the upcoming months.
October presents a great opportunity to focus on the following things:
1. A lot of interesting observations are still possible so be sure to atlas your block at least once a month.
2. Be on the lookout for lingering migrants, including raptors and unusual hummingbirds.
3. Report old nests throughout your block as long as you are confident in your nest identification.
4. Familiarize yourself with parts of your block you haven’t had time to atlas yet. If you feel your block has been adequately covered, consider identifying a new block to atlas next year.
1. Please take a moment to think of one or two people that may be interested in assisting with the Loudoun County Bird Atlas (either as a block owner or a helper) and pass their names along to me.
2. Please send me the names and addresses of any landowners that have given you permission to atlas on their land so I can update my records.
Species of the Month – Bicknell’s Thrush
As a way to motivate you to continue atlasing, I will challenge you each month (most birders love a challenge, right?) to find a particular rare or uncommon species previously documented in Loudoun County. Even if you don’t find the featured species, you may encounter another great species along the way or at the very least have fun trying! Here are a few facts about this month’s species – the Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli). • Secretive songbird rarely seen, but identified by it’s beautiful flute-like call.
• Found in mountainous forests and secondary woodlands.
• Breeds in northeast North America and migrates south to the Dominican Republic and Haiti for the winter. • Forages for insects or berries on the forest floor, but also gleans insects from tree foliage.
• Although this species doesn’t nest in Loudoun, you may be interested to know that it has an unusual mating system in that both males and females mate with different partners. Each nest has young from different males, and males may have young in several nests. More than one male feeds at most nests.
Information taken from: Rimmer, C. C., K. P. McFarland, W. G. Ellison, and J. E Goetz. Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli). In The Birds of North America, No. 592 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
34 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 939 hours in the field documenting 10,634 sightings. You have recorded 182 species, with 90 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Keep up the great work!
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator