2000 - Year Three
Chet Vincent's found another owl nest, so the third Atlas 2000
field season is underway! Are you participating? It's not too
late. There are a number of good blocks still unassigned. So what's
a "good" block? By that I mean a block that includes
a nice tract of public or easily accessible land with interesting
habitat. The most remarkable one is 5962D, which has Taconic Hereford
MUA, part of Pond Gut, Innisfree, and Rockefeller Field Research
Station...all in one block! Other birding spots that are in available
blocks are Tamarack and Millbrook School, Cascade Mountain Road,
Tamarack Preserve, Wassaic MUA, and Rudd Pond State Park. Last
year we had a great time "block-busting" a block that
the Harlem Valley Rail Trail went through. The Rail Trail passes
through two other blocks that are still available.
Speaking of "block-busting," we'll be conducting several
block-busting field trips to uncovered blocks during June and
July. Watch the field trip schedule.
Of course, even the blocks full of housing developments need
to be covered. They are most easily covered by residents of the
block. But you'll be surprised that you can find "birdable"
places in the most unexpected areas.
There is still time to get an Atlas block. Call me, send me an
email, or see me at a meeting or field trip and I'll get you everything
you'll need. It's a fun project that adds a great new dimension
Data Now Available Online!
Atlasers have another great tool available in 2002. The Atlas
2000 website now gives us access to a vast database of information
gathered during the first two years of the project. So atlasers
can see the breeding codes already recorded for all species in
their blocks, including casual data submitted by others. This
knowledge will save atlasers time, since they now know which species
they no longer need to spend time on if they were already confirmed
The new url for this section
of the Atlas 2000 website is http://www.dec.state.ny.us/apps/bba/results/index.cfm.
Click on the link above to get block-by-block species data, view
species distribution maps (compare current Atlas 2000 data with
that of the first atlas), and find out about block assignments
2000 - Year Two
Our ace Great Horned Owl nest-finder, Chet Vincent, has found
owls on nests again this year. And so the breeding season begins
-- the second year of Atlas 2000. It's time to get your block(s)
for this year. Atlasing is a different way of birding and a great
way to use and improve your birding skills. You will be assigned
a block to cover, to look for specific breeding evidence this
spring and summer. Atlasing is great fun! Don't miss out.
If you can't come on a field trip, and tell me what general area you're interested
Check out the Atlas
to Report Breeding Evidence
in Your Backyard)
Any time you see breeding evidence, whether it's in your backyard
or while you are birding in the field, you can contribute to this
important project. The more eyes there are watching for breeding
activity, the more complete the data will be. So, whether you
are officially assigned to an area or not, we ask that you send
in reports of any breeding evidence you see in Dutchess County.
Use our handy online
reporting form. Or send your reports via ,
including the following information:
Date of observation
Bird species observed
Exact location (be as specific as you cannearest road
and crossroadso we can place it in the proper block)
Breeding evidence (use the Atlas
codes, if you know them. Or just write down what you saw. A
nest with adult incubating, young in nest, etc.)
2000 - from Audubon New York
On a June morning a birder will spend a couple of hours in a
favorite marsh watching birds with a special purpose. He'll note
all birds seen and heard, and pay particular attention to their
behavior. He's looking for evidence of breeding. He's not disturbing
his quarries by searching out nests, simply observing behavioral
cues that indicate breeding.
Certainly, some nests can be easily seen. A Great Blue Heron rookery
in the wooded edge of the marsh has a dozen large nests and through
binoculars our birder sees adults tending young. A Canada Goose
pair is leading six fuzzy goslings around the open water. A Swamp
Sparrow carries food into the cattails. These are all Confirmed
as breeders. Our birder tallies a number of Probable Breeders
as well. These include a Red-winged Blackbird male defending a
territory, a pair of Wood Ducks together on the open water, a
pair of Yellow Warblers flitting about the shrubs at the marsh
edge. Our birder can add to the Probables by coming back a week
or two later and listening for continued singing by males in the
same location. Virginia rails and bitterns heard calling in the
marsh on subsequent visit are counted as Probables; the same birds
heard on only one visit in the breeding season are Possibles.
Our birder is participating in Atlas 2000, a project of the NYS
Department of Environmental Conservation and the Federation of
NYS Bird Clubs. National Audubon Society of New York is a partner
and member of the steering committee, along with the NY Cooperative
Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the Cornell University Department
of Natural Resources, and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Atlas 2000 is a multi-year effort to locate bird species and document
their breeding habitats in the Empire State. This is a replication
of the first Breeding Bird Atlas that was conducted from 1980
to 1985 and resulted in the publication of The Atlas of Breeding
Birds in New York State in 1988. Atlases of this kind, first developed
in Britain, have been done in many states, including Vermont,
Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. New York will be the first to repeat
it at the desired 20-year interval.
A Breeding Bird Atlas gives biologists, planners, and managers
information about the distribution of the State's 240 bird species.
This repeat effort will document changes, and signal accomplishments
and future challenges in managing this valuable resource.
To accomplish the survey, biologists divided the state into more
than 5,000 atlas "blocks," each measuring 5x5 kilometers
(3x3 miles). Regional coordinators assign survey blocks to volunteers
and provide them with a handbook of instructions, field data cards
and maps of their blocks. Once assigned to a block, volunteer
birders visit each habitat and record each bird species they see
or hear. Thousands of volunteers will be needed. They need not
be expert ornithologists, but should have some birding experience
and be able to identify most of the common breeders in the state.
Though Year One has been completed, Atlas 2000 needs you! If you
wish to help, or want more information, contact the Project Coordinator
at Breeding Bird Atlas 2000, Wildlife Resources Center, 108 Game
Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the DEC'S
Atlas website and see the handbook of instructions, addresses
of regional coordinators, and even topographic maps of atlas blocks.
to our Dutchess County members:
2000 Year Three to see how you can participate locally.