Nest boxes

Many recent messages on the CTbirds listserv have mentioned the use of nest boxes, and just this week the chickadees nesting by my backdoor hatched their young. It’s a good time, then, to remember that nest boxes can make it easy to confirm breeding for a variety of species. And, that incidental records of birds in boxes can really help fill gaps for a number of species. Continue reading “Nest boxes”

Tips on confirming breeding

Now that we are well into the breeding season, a major focus of atlas field work should be to try to confirm breeding for as many species as possible.  In terms of the atlas, “confirmation” requires observing nests or behaviors linked to the confirmed breeding codes described on the atlas web page here. Most birds are breeding right now, which means that there are nests everywhere, and birds are exhibiting these behaviors all the time. Nonetheless, observing these things can be hard, especially if you are not used to looking for them. So, here are some tips on how to see the things that let you confirm breeding. Continue reading “Tips on confirming breeding”

Can we confirm robins in every block?

Last summer I wrote a blog post highlighting 12 species that it should be possible to confirm as breeders in almost all atlas blocks.  That list is reproduced here:

1. Song sparrow
2. American robin
3. Gray catbird
4. Black-capped chickadee
5. Mourning dove
6. Northern cardinal

7. Blue jay
8. House finch
9. Common yellowthroat
10. House sparrow
11. Chipping sparrow
12. Tufted titmouse

 

Continue reading “Can we confirm robins in every block?”

Where have all the parids gone? (Answer: probably nowhere)

The summer of 2018 proved to be a really great start for the atlas, but whenever we present last year’s data we are constantly pointing out that comparisons to the first atlas need to be made with care. In part, we make these cautions because the data are still being reviewed to ensure we’ve made no errors. But, the main reason is simply that the historic data come from five years of field work, not just one. Continue reading “Where have all the parids gone? (Answer: probably nowhere)”

The trouble with safe dates …

The single most common cause of confusion during last year’s summer atlas data collection, was the use of safe dates. The important thing to remember is that these dates are based on the timing of migration and other non-breeding season movements, and do not describe the period during which breeding occurs. The goal is to filter out possible and probable records that could involve birds that are just passing through a block and will nest elsewhere. For example, ducks can be seen doing courtship displays right now.  Many of these birds, however, will breed 100s of miles from where they are being seen right now and do not represent Connecticut nesting birds. Indeed, some species that are commonly seen displaying in spring have never bred in Connecticut. Continue reading “The trouble with safe dates …”

Ravens

Over the past couple of weeks, ravens have been a regular sight at UConn. Displaying from the roof of the visitor’s center, wheeling over the parking garage, and yesterday I even heard one while sitting in my office. The species has nested in a farm building near the university’s Depot Campus for a couple of years and is seen throughout the area, but this is the first sign that they might nest right on the main campus. Continue reading “Ravens”