A week or so ago, I provided two rules of thumb to reduce confusion over the use of safe dates:
1. If you are unsure whether to submit a record, do so.
2. Always submit any record that confirms breeding (i.e., warrants a 2-letter code).
The second rule has a firm basis in the way we will use the atlas data – anything that is confirmed is a solid record no matter what. The first rule, however, simply defers the decision of what to include to us during the data management phase of the project. This is good in that it means we can standardize what gets included and what does not, but we still have to decide when a record is counted as breeding evidence. Continue reading “Backing up records from “unsafe” dates”
A new guest post from Greg Hanisek (lightly edited):
During the 1982-86 Connecticut Breeding Bird Atlas, the nesting range of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was limited essentially to the northern part of Litchfield County (see map below). When I moved to Connecticut in 1992, one had to visit places at or above the latitude of the town of Litchfield to find them during the breeding season. Continue reading “Where are sapsuckers now?”
Yesterday, I pointed out that evidence for confirmed breeding by any species should be submitted to the atlas, even if we are not yet within that species’ “safe dates”. In light of that recommendation, I thought it would be worthwhile to list the species for which we have already received confirmed records. This list is growing every day – just this weekend I noticed a pair of chickadees excavating a nest hole in a dead tree stump in my backyard (see video here). Continue reading “Which species have been confirmed?”
Over the past week or two, we have received a number of questions about when people should start recording species for the atlas. Continue reading “Making safe dates simpler”
Birders often debate the pros and cons of reporting rare species. Putting the word out allows people to see something new, and gains attention for the value of birds and birding. But, there is always a risk that the attention will create disturbance and maybe even harm. This dilemma is particularly acute when it comes to nesting species. Continue reading “Reporting sensitive species”
Several questions about the atlas have recently appeared in my in-box, or on the CTBirds list. Since the same questions are starting to repeat, I plan to use the blog to give some answers over the next few days, so that the information is available for everyone. We are also working on an FAQ page for the web site. Continue reading “What species should you report?”
Safe dates are designed to provide guidance on when it is safe to assume that a species is nesting in an area. They are necessary because many migratory species will engage in breeding behaviors before reaching their nesting sites. Consequently, you might see ducks courting or hear warblers singing when they are still hundreds of miles from where they breed. The atlas project aims to identify which species actually nest within each block, however, so including all these migratory species could be very misleading. Continue reading “What are safe dates? Why do they matter?”
Following last weekend’s COA meeting, we received a lot of questions about how to collect atlas data. Answers to most questions can be found on the project web site, but we are also running training sessions around the state over the next couple of months. Continue reading “Atlas training”
This weekend the COA held its annual meeting in Middlesex Community College, and it was great to see so much enthusiasm for the atlas project (to view slides from the talk I gave, click here). A number of questions came up during the meeting and I will try to address the ones I heard repeatedly on the blog over the next week or two. But, first, I wanted to pass on a few statistics about where the project stands. Continue reading “Atlas update from the COA annual meeting”
A few days ago, Greg Hanisek wrote about his suggestions for finding hawk nests to confirm breeding for the atlas project. Greg was careful to point out the ethical issues involved with nest finding and the importance of not approaching too closely. With that issue in mind, it’s important to note that there are several ways to confirm breeding without getting close to, or even finding, a nest. Continue reading “Hawks with sticks”