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.

On to other updates!

Check out the latest Atlas article with advice on completing your Atlas
The Home Stretch -…g-an-atlas-block/
Many of you have asked great questions about the completion process in the
last couple weeks and this article hopefully provides many answers. If you
find you still have questions, please feel free to email your regional
coordinator or myself.

*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 ***
Join us on Facebook!