Bird Atlas Tips March 2010
Hi Loudoun County Atlasers,
As the first year of the atlas draws to a close, I want to thank you for your enthusiasm, dedication, and patience. We’re off to a great start, but still have a lot of work to do to make the atlas a success. Below are a few tips and reminders to help you prepare for the upcoming breeding season. March 20th is the first day of Spring!
Tips (taken from the MD/DC Breeding Bird Atlas and Solano County, CA Atlas)
1. Breeding activities usually start well before the earliest safe date for local nesting pairs. Do not wait until the first safe date to look for nesting birds nor stop looking after the last safe date for fledged young of most species.
2. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawk territorial displays start in late winter on warm days. Nest building usually starts by the end of March – note birds carrying sticks. Pairs can be defensive when you walk near their nest.
3. Watch for displaying male Woodcocks in March and early April then follow up after the April 15 safe date for continued displays. Displays usually drop off by May 1. Young can often be seen at dawn on paths through woods or old fields.
1. The next atlas training session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9th from 7-8:30 at the Rust Library in Leesburg. If you haven’t already, please let me know if you plan to attend.
2. All paper field cards and Special Survey forms from the first atlas year should be mailed to me by April 1st.
3. If you aren’t sure about a particular species you observed/heard, please arrange for someone to accompany you for another look as close to the original sighting as possible. This is especially true for species that require atlas documentation.
4. If you don’t already have Google Earth on your computer, consider downloading this great, free mapping program and then opening the attached kml file for a map of Loudoun County divided into atlas blocks. These satellite images provide a great tool for viewing block boundaries and other geographic features.
Species of Special Interest Update
If you observe a species from the VARCOM (Virginia Avian Records Committee) list for the Piedmont region please send me a copy of your VARCOM documentation for the atlas.
40 enthusiastic atlasers have spent over 1,206 hours in the field documenting 13,049 sightings. You have recorded 195 species, with 91 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 29 blocks. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator