Recently I was asked if we’d written a blog post on hummingbirds and had to answer “no”. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about what there is to say on how to confirm breeding for the state’s smallest nesters, as it can be surprisingly difficult (though not as bad as for the closely-related chimney swift). Continue reading “Confirming hummingbirds”
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”
Counting (and confirming) crows
Almost daily, I notice some bird doing something and think “I should write a blog post about that”. And then my life (or my job) gets in the way and I don’t. Luckily, if you just wait long enough (as when atlasing), the solution comes along. Continue reading “Counting (and confirming) crows”
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?)”
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”
Our recent posts have focused on the goals of filling gaps and improving confirmation rates this year. Gray catbirds are one of the most widespread summer birds in Connecticut and have already been recorded in most blocks. Continue reading “Confirming catbirds”
Where did all the house sparrows go?
Yesterday, I posted on the need for more European starling breeding records. Today, it is the turn of house sparrows – perhaps the only Connecticut bird species disliked more (though there is another contender, which I’ll get to soon enough!). Continue reading “Where did all the house sparrows go?”
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”
Report those owls!
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!”
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”