When many of us go birding, part of our goal is to document the diversity of birds around us. Often, that means keeping a list of birds seen – a life list, a year list, a state list, a yard list. For instance, thanks to the eBird app, I know exactly how many species I recorded while atlasing this morning (67 … and another northeastern Connecticut block busted!). Indeed, the work of the atlas is largely focused around documenting the diversity of the state’s birds and how it is changing – as reflected by the map showing the number of species reported so far in each atlas block in yesterday’s post.
As many have pointed out before, given our focus on avian diversity, it is therefore a sad irony that there is not more diversity in the birding community. I can’t say much about the diversity of the people working on the atlas, which is an appalling admission in itself, but I do know that I’m struggling to make even a very short list of people who are not white. Last week was #BlackBirdersWeek – a series of events designed to highlight these issues and the barriers to more inclusive engagement with birding. If you missed the discussion, or (like me) are lucky enough to lack the direct experience to truly understand the extent of the problem, a good place to start is this discussion among a host of emerging leaders in the birding community.
As we move forward with the atlas, our work will be centered on the birds. But, hopefully, we will also take the time to listen more, and think about all the things we could be doing to encourage a more diverse birding community.
Today, we finally completed a long overdue update of the breeding statistics and species lists on the block map on the atlas web site. Other work commitments during the spring resulted in a long backlog of submitted data that needed to be reviewed before being added to the atlas database, and it took until this weekend to get through it all. Continue reading “Block stats update”
This week I was sent a link to a blog post by Gina Nichols, who has been collecting atlas data around Lake Saltonstall, in which she describes her discovery of nesting great horned owls this spring. The post is well worth reading as it describes the joy of regularly birding a site you know well and the discoveries that can be made when doing so. Plus, the photos are fantastic. Continue reading “Nightbirds update”
Recently, we’ve been focusing blog posts on common species, especially those easy to find near home. Yesterday, however, Greg Hanisek mentioned breeding mergansers in a post on the ctbirds listserv, so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the preliminary data for these species. Continue reading “Merganser maps”
Despite their splendid adult plumage and human-like ability to adapt to almost any surroundings, European starlings are rarely a favourite among birders. Introduced from Eurasia on the grounds that Shakespeare mentioned them in Henry IV, Part 1, they are often seen as a pest. Continue reading “Confirming starlings”
On Friday, I wrote a post about how we determine whether blocks are “complete” for the breeding portion of the atlas project – using a combination of the time spent in the block, the number of species found, and the number of those species for which breeding is confirmed. Continue reading “Priorities”
Although our decision to add a fourth year of breeding surveys to the atlas project was mostly based on the developing pandemic, another key variable we considered was how close we are to having enough data for the project to be a success. Of course, “enough” is a relative term, so we had to choose criteria to determine when a block should be considered complete. Continue reading “When is a block complete?”
As a few people know, over the past few months the Atlas team has been discussing the option of extending the atlas for an additional year to ensure we achieve good coverage of the entire state. About a month ago, we concluded that a big push this year would suffice. We have now changed our minds.
Continue reading “IMPORTANT ATLAS UPDATE”
We have one more week in which to collect data for the winter atlas this season. Should you need inspiration to head outside, and see what you can find, read this short piece that Dave Provencher – regional coordinator for the southeast Connecticut region – recently posted on the Connecticut Audubon Facebook page. Continue reading “Winter is almost over”
The winter portion of the atlas project is largely focused on compiling lists of species for each block and on using timed one-hour surveys to provide a standardized measure of the number of individuals of each species. We do, however, also have some more specialized protocols to ensure that we capture key aspects of the state’s birdlife that might otherwise be missed. Sites where large numbers of birds gather to roost are of particular interest, and one of our goals is document such locations (see the protocol here). In the article, below, Greg Hanisek describes how he recently found a huge crow roost in Waterbury: Continue reading “So many crows ….”