Which species have been confirmed?

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?”

What are safe dates? Why do they matter?

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?”

Woodcocks galore

Over the past two weeks, people have been reporting American woodcocks displaying at sites throughout the state. So, this weekend, just before dark, I made the 5-minute trek to the nearest overgrown field to my house to see if I could document them in atlas block 40F.  Sure enough, shortly after 7 pm, I heard a distant “bzzzt”, followed quickly by another, and another.  Over the next 20 minutes I also saw several display flights high up into the sky. Continue reading “Woodcocks galore”

When is a pair of ducks really a pair of ducks?

Yesterday, a quick stop at a small pond in Mansfield turned up 2 gadwalls (a male and a female), 5 green-winged teals (3 males, 2 females), and a dozen mallards. The gadwalls were swimming around together, and one of the female teals was sitting close to one of the males. Given this observation, it would be tempting to report both species with breeding code P (pair) to the atlas project. Continue reading “When is a pair of ducks really a pair of ducks?”