My last two posts have focused, at some length I’m sorry to say, on the trickier aspects of data collection at block boundaries. Today, I want to address a related issue, but one that is much simpler to resolve.
Because the standard-shaped atlas blocks do not fit neatly into the irregular shape of the state, we have many blocks along the state’s border that also contain part of an adjacent state. This raises the question of whether to collect data for the entire block, or just the portion that lies within the state of Connecticut. Some atlas projects have gone one way, while others have gone the other, but most have opted to collect data only within their state’s borders. This was the protocol for the first Connecticut breeding bird atlas, and it is what we are doing for all aspects of the current project.
So, if you have a border block, remember that you only need to survey the portion of the block that lies in Connecticut. Importantly, if you see birds that are nesting in the block, but not within state lines, then please do not report them. (Note that if you find nesting birds just over the state line in Rhode Island, then you should submit those data to the Rhode Island Bird Atlas, which is also ongoing).
And, to reiterate the issue I addressed yesterday, if you are birding a site that spans a state border and has an eBird hot spot in the adjacent state, then please create a separate personal location on the Connecticut side of the state line and use that. If you like to track which species you’ve seen where, doing this will also ensure that your observations are added to your Connecticut state and county lists in eBird.