Date: 4/4/17 7:42 am
From: Ashley Peele <ashpeele...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Atlas Workshops and Angry Birds (not the game)
Good Tuesday morning, VA Birders!

I have several VABBA2 updates for you, then a good Atlas breeding code tip!

We’ve held our first Atlas regional training sessions in Charlottesville
and NoVA over the last two weekends. Both have been filled to capacity!
Volunteer turnout and enthusiasm has been fantastic, so thanks to all who
attended! *For those of you who are interested in attending one of these
sessions, we still have a few spots open in the Western Training Session on
April 15 (held in the Blacksburg area)*. See our events page for the
registration link. Additionally, we will be holding an afternoon session
at the VSO meeting in Richmond focused on data entry and new Atlas tools.

I want to thank the local organizations and volunteers who have helped make
these events possible. A shout out to Monticello Bird Club members *Jenny
Gaden, Guy and Susan Babineau, and Janet Paisley*, who were hugely helpful
in pulling together the Charlottesville session. In NoVA, *Kristen
Sinclair* of Fairfax County parks helped me pull together two big events
this past weekend. These big workshops wouldn’t be possible without the
help and support of local birders, so thanks much to you all!

On to breeding codes! What codes should you be using for ‘angry birds’?
Three different apply, so let’s clarify when to use each of these.

*A – Agitated Behavior. *This code applies when *birds give angry chip
notes, often flying or walking repetitively through the same area. * They
will often raise their head feathers and body feathers, as further signs of
agitation. (Note! Pishing negates this code, because you won’t know if
their agitation is caused by your behavior or the presence of a nest.

*T – Territorial Defense.* This code covers several major and common

- *Chasing and scolding* individuals of the same species
(intraspecific aggression) or a different species (interspecific defense).

- *Counter-singing* with males of the same species. This can sound
much like a duet with one male echoing or attempting to overshadow the song
of another.

These two codes are similar and some situations will arise where either
could be used. In such cases, don’t fret over which to apply. Since they
are both in same category, this isn’t a huge concern.

*Distraction Display – DD. *This code occurs *when an adult feigns injury
or uses another extreme behavior to distract an intruder from a nest or
young. *With the exception of species like the Killdeer, this type of
behavior is not very common.

Most examples of aggressive or defensive behavior will fall under A or T
codes, so be cautious when applying the DD code.

*Note!* Agitation and distraction displays mean that a bird is likely
stressed out by your presence. Make every effort to leave the area quickly
when you begin observing either A or DD.

With that, I will sign-off for today. Thanks to all of you who are
contributing your breeding observations to the VABBA2. Please keep those
breeding codes rolling in and enjoy the onset of Spring migration!

All the best,

Ashley Peele, PhD
Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Coordinator
Conservation Management Institute - Virginia Tech
Office: 540-231-9182
Fax: 540-231-7019
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