A hooting great horned owl in my yard last night, prompts me to remind everyone that, although we are still in the depths of the winter atlas, we are also a month into the reporting safe dates for Connecticut’s largest nesting owl. Any great horneds heard or seen between now and June should be considered potential breeders. If they are in breeding habitat, then they will count for both the breeding and winter atlases. Continue reading “Report those owls!”
Field work for the winter atlas is well under way. The goal is to spend approximately 10 hours surveying each block during November-December and then another 10 hours during January-February. If you’ve not yet begun, consider using the Thanksgiving break to make a plan and start your surveys. Continue reading “Planning your winter atlas surveys”
Yesterday, I wrote about the problem of birds moving across block boundaries, and how that can complicate the assignment of breeding codes. A related problem involves accurately identifying the block that a given observation falls in, and arises when a birding site lies on the boundary between blocks. Continue reading “Block boundary problems – part 2”
Connecticut birding has a long history of citizen science, of which the Connecticut Bird Atlas is only the most recent incarnation. Summer Bird Counts (SBCs) – the mid-year equivalent of Christmas Bird Counts – have been run in the state for nearly three decades and aim to count birds within several 15-mile diameter circles scattered across the state to help track population changes. Continue reading “Summer Bird Counts and the atlas project”
As of this afternoon, 2,174 eBird checklists have been shared with the ctbirdatlas account. Within those checklists, we have received almost 10,000 individual records with breeding codes attached, representing 152 potential breeding species. Given that the breeding season is still getting going for many species, this level of effort bodes well for the project’s success and we are very grateful to everyone who has shared their checklists. Continue reading “2,174 and counting …”
For the breeding portion of the atlas we are asking block adopters to commit to 20 hours of time spent looking for breeding birds in their block over the course of the three-year study. To some, this does not seem like very much time and many have asked whether 20 hours is enough time to adequately survey a block, and whether then can spend more time.
The short answer is that you can spend as much time as you like in your block – we will take (and use) as much data as you send us. Continue reading “Why only 20 hours? Can I do more?”
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”
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?”