Another week, another set of Maine Bird Atlas “challenges” for you to work on. If you haven’t been following along before this, there are lots of resources and information available about the Maine Bird Atlas at: maine.gov/birdatlas
Before the new challenges, lets see how we did last week:
The Rock Pigeon challenge was a flop (mostly). We still only have seven confirmed blocks, unchanged since last week, so keep looking for these birds despite their lack of charisma.
American Robins more than doubled their number of confirmed blocks, now up to 31. Great job and keep them coming!
Honorable Mention: Woodcocks continue to fill in the map with their “probable” aerial displays. From 12, to 34, to 42 probable blocks this week, I’ll encourage you to keep listening for these great displays before the window closes for the season.
1) Woodpeckers - Keep an eye out for cavities. We’ve got quite a few probable blocks for Red-bellied (8), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (21), Downy (25), Hairy (23), Northern Flicker (24) and Pileated Woodpecker (11), most of which are birds excavating cavities that should be coded: “B Wren/Woodpecker Nest Building”. I suspect we will be seeing this behavior changing soon to “ON Occupied Nest” or likely a couple more weeks before food is being delivered. Find these cavities before the leaves come out!
2) Fish Crow - Following Rob Ostrowski’s amazing confirmed Fish Crow in Bangor (remember they weren’t in the first atlas at all) there haven’t been any more, despite American Crows confirmed in 35 blocks. Our Southern Maine birders must be able to track down some Fish Crows… Maybe someone can check the pines around the Bowdoin campus or Saco Burger King this weekend?
3) Mourning Dove - Hopefully slightly more alluring than the Rock Pigeon challenge, these Columbiformes are early nesters like their non-native cousins. Keep an eye out for birds building and occupying nests, or even recently fledged birds. My first “FL Recently Fledged young” for this year was a scalloped-looking Mourning Dove at Evergreen Cemetery on 9 May: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/99408161
Good birding and happy atlasing!
Maine Bird Atlas - Outreach Coordinator
Maine Audubon - Staff Naturalist