Date: 7/7/17 9:05 am From: Ashley Peele via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] July Birding and Block Completion
Hello Intrepid Atlas Volunteers!
First, a brief status update for July. Currently, the Atlas project is sitting pretty with 34,000+ checklists submitted through the VABBA2 eBird portal. To put that in context, this means *20,000+ checklists* have already been submitted this season (compare to 14,000 in 2016). This alone is a fantastic accomplishment!
However, when we also look at how this translates into effort hours, we've gone from ~10,000 volunteer hours in 2016 to *14,000+ hours in 2017*! From a broader citizen science perspective, this is *phenomenal*. Our Atlas community is cranking out field time, which is important both for ensuring future support and funding for this project, as well as accomplishing our data collection goals.
I realize that I start sounding like a broken record, but as state coordinator of this project, I want to extend a personal thank you to each of our volunteers for this tremendous show of support for the VABBA2 thus far in 2017.
*A word of caution about the FL (Recently Fledged Young) code*. This code is a common one at this time of year. Many of the canopy-nesting songbird species are difficult to confirm until fledglings start jumping out of the nest, moving around their natal area, and being fed by frantic parents.
However, it is EASY to misapply this code. For example, *FL code never applies to juvenile colonial nesting species observed anywhere but the natal colony*. The terns, gulls, herons, etc. that move around the eastern part of the state should not be coded as FL, again unless observed at the colony or in a block where a known colony exists.
Additionally, many songbird species are well into their second or even third clutch of the season. This means that *there are a lot of dispersing juveniles *(past fledgling status) moving around the landscape. So! Volunteers should be careful when applying the FL code throughout the rest of July and into August. Be sure that the young birds you observe are in fact still fledglings (dependent on parents for food, protection). This can be indicated by the presence of downy plumage, begging behavior, lack of flight ability, short tail-length, etc. If you're not sure, then always err on the side of caution.
Lastly, remember that the dog days of summer may be hot, but they are excellent times to confirm breeding birds. *If you're sick of the swampy heat of eastern VA, now is the time to come west and visit some of our under-birded priority blocks in the western mountains.* It's a balmy 70 degrees on Mount Rogers and the western birders would love for you to visit! ;)
All the best,
Ashley Peele, PhD Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Coordinator Conservation Management Institute - Virginia Tech Office: 540-231-9182 Fax: 540-231-7019 *** You are subscribed to va-bird as <lists...> If you wish to unsubscribe, or modify your preferences please visit http://mailman.listserve.com/listmanager/listinfo/va-bird ***