The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a volunteer-driven effort to survey the distribution and abundance of our state’s breeding birds. Since the project started in 2015, our volunteer team has grown to include more than 1,100 Atlasers who have submitted over 55,000 checklists.
Who are these incredible volunteers? It turns out that once you get past the binoculars, our Atlasers are as varied as the bird species they observe. This series turns the spotlight on a few of the many dedicated men and women who have helped the Atlas achieve such tremendous success to date.
This month, meet Pam Campbell of Dunn County!
This year marks the mid-point of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, a critical year for ensuring we’re on track to complete this monumental effort by 2019. Help us get 2017 off to a dynamic start by joining us at one (or more!) of our FREE Atlas Regional Kickoff workshops.
These events are for everyone, whether you’re a newer member of the Atlas team, a seasoned veteran, or just want to learn more about how to join us in 2017. Each workshop will feature concurrent presentations tailored to new and returning atlasers, the opportunity to meet county coordinators and expert birders from your region, and a field trip to a local hotspot.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our atlas, and we couldn’t accomplish the project without them. However, every atlas must eventually start filling gaps where volunteers will not reach. If you know someone with the skills and availability to assist us in this capacity this year, either as a Point Count or Atlas Technician position, please send them this job announcement. Applications due March 1.
When we announced recently that completed blocks were displayed, we also mentioned that we are officially sitting at 14% of completed blocks, when we should be closer to 40% after completing 2 of 5 field seasons. However, if we can finish up the night effort, and convert the many “nearly complete” blocks to officially complete blocks, we’ll be close to on pace with where we need to be.
To help us see the coverage gaps, we’ve prepared some maps showing our progress so far. Recall there are 1,283 priority/specialty blocks that must be completed for this Atlas project to be a success!
Our final installment of the series focuses on the rest of the species you may hear at night, which vocalize during daylight hours as well. Also addressed are common nocturnal non-avian wildlife you may hear while nocturnally atlasing.
We dive into the specifics of which species to expect, where and when to expect them, and how to identify them by sound. Each species has several calls listed after the description, which should serve as both a study guide and a resource. We focus on the primary target species of nocturnal atlasing, including the owls, nightjars, American Woodcock, and Wilson’s Snipe.
Night birding is unique, and many birders really enjoy it; being out at night reveals a magical world of animals that you may never meet during daytime visits to a location. But many folks told us that they need more guidance and tips about night atlasing, which led to this second part in our Guide to Nocturnal Atlasing series.
Although Part 1 provided a broad overview, this installment goes deeper in outlining everything you need to know about the how, when, and where to help you have safe and productive night expeditions. Nocturnal effort for the Atlas is lagging a bit so far, but with your help we can get to where we need to be, all while having fun and perhaps adding some new birds along the way!
Night birding can be great fun. It can also be daunting for various reasons — maybe you don’t know how, don’t know what you’re hearing, or don’t feel safe. But at least two night visits are required for a block to be considered complete, and as of now, many blocks are only “almost complete” save for this nocturnal effort. To help atlasers overcome some of the barriers to night birding, we’ve developed a three-part series detailing the ins and outs of this Atlas component. In this first installment we provide a broad overview of the process with intention of digging deeper later in the series.
The new year is an exciting time for birders, because with January 1 comes a clean slate and a perfect opportunity to set new birding goals for the coming year. Will this be the year you finally find your nemesis bird? Will you hit the 100, 500, or 1000 checklist mark? Of course, in hopes the Atlas figures prominently in your 2017 goals, we’ve compiled a handy list of our favorite challenge ideas.
We often turn the spotlight on the many volunteers who are so vital to making the Atlas a success. But in addition to our volunteers, there are a handful of project leaders who work tirelessly year round to help pull off this massive effort.
This month, meet Atlas Coordinator Nick Anich of Ashland County!