In search of pigeons

Earlier this week, I wrote about the value to the atlas of searching for house sparrows. The next day I had to drive to Brooklyn, Connecticut, so I took my own advice and looked for blocks with no house sparrow records between my destination and home. Sure enough, there were three, and with only minor detours to drive by farm buildings in each block I was able to find the species in all of them, confirming it in one where I saw a bird with nest material.  I also confirmed breeding for house finch in one block, by seeing a female taking nest material into a bush where it was building a nest. Continue reading “In search of pigeons”

July is the month

When we started the atlas, we told everyone that our goal was to have 20 hours of breeding season survey effort in each block. That time could all be spent by one person who “adopts” the block, or it could be from a mix of people. And, we asked that the time be spread evenly across the breeding season, including visits to all habitats, and with at least a little time listening for nocturnal species. Continue reading “July is the month”

Confirming bobolinks (or, what is a fecal sac?)

A couple of days ago, Chris Loscalzo posted a tip to the CTbirds email list based on his and Marianne Vahey’s observation of nesting bobolinks in Norfolk.  Chris pointed out that if you see a bird flying away from a potential nest site with a gleaming white object in its beak, then it is likely to be a fecal sac – and that this confirms breeding (code FS). Continue reading “Confirming bobolinks (or, what is a fecal sac?)”

Confirming orioles

The orioles in my yard are not posing as nicely as when they first returned; no longer coming into the feeder oranges now that there’s plenty of natural food for them eat. And, if it weren’t for their chattering calls and periodic songs, it would be much less obvious that they’re still around – just hidden among the leaves. But, they’re here, and now is a good time to confirm breeding. Continue reading “Confirming orioles”

Confirming robins

During the 1980s breeding atlas, American robins were confirmed as nesters in almost every atlas block. This fact, combined with the knowledge that robins show no signs of decline in Connecticut or in the east as a whole, has led us to treat the species as a rough barometer of how good our survey coverage is.  Our assumption is that, where there are gaps in the robin map, there clearly needs to more survey work done – elsewhere might be lacking too, but not as severely. Continue reading “Confirming robins”