Hi Loudoun County Atlasers,
In my backyard there are Robins and Grackles feeding their persistent fledglings, Catbirds and House Finches raising their second broods, Mourning Doves gathering nesting material, Hummingbirds whizzing by, and so much more. Breeding season is in full swing and I’m loving it!
1. Summer Tanager pair banded at the MAPS station at Banshee Reeks. This species is not thought to breed in Loudoun so we hope the pair will stay to nest!
2. Belted Kingfisher observed going into its nest burrow during an Loudoun Wildlife-sponsored walk at Foxcroft (Middleburg area). This fascinating bird actually digs a burrow into the banks of rivers and streams for its nest site.
3. Whip-poor-will, Common Nighthawk, Barn Owl, and Barred Owl heard during an Owl/Nightjar survey in western Loudoun.
4. Prothonotary Warbler documented as a possible breeder in the Point of Rocks 6 block.
5. Turkey Vulture chick being raised on the ground of an old silo on one lucky Middleburg resident’s property. A young vulture is around (most likely the chick that hatched there last year) to help care for the new chick.
Tips (taken from the 2002-2006 Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas)
1. If you have a copy of the Maryland Ornithological Society’s Yellowbook you may be interested in this link, which is for an index which you can print and tape to the book. Comes in handy!
2. Recently fledged swallow young often line up on a fence or power line to be fed. Any small group of 3-5 swallows sitting close together are suspect from early May to late June.
3. Though seen everywhere, Chimney Swifts are a challenge to confirm. Ingress and egress is not sufficient evidence of nesting since unmated swifts roost in chimneys. Viewed from outside, the behavior to watch for is repeated entry and exit by single birds during the day, several times per hour. During nest building, the birds may be seen carrying small twigs in either bill or feet.
1. Most species have entered into safe dates. Note that some species, such as swallows, have very narrow safe dates.
2. If you document probable or confirmed breeding evidence for a species not thought to breed in Loudoun (no asterisk behind the name on the field card) please submit a verification form as soon as possible and try your best to take a picture or have someone confirm the sighting.
3. Try to atlas your block at least once every 10-15 days during the peak breeding season.
4. After entering and saving your data, check for any warning messages that need to be addressed before you hit the finalize button.
44 enthusiastic atlasers have spent 1,521 hours in the field documenting 16,652 sightings. You have recorded 206 species, with 91 of these species having a confirmed nesting status. Field cards have been reported for 32 blocks.
Loudoun County Bird Atlas Coordinator