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Myth-busting the VABBA2: Tackling Atlas Blocks with Teamwork

'Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Parents' by Nancy Barnhart (Fantastic example of a confirmed breeder using ON, Occupied Nest)

If you’re involved in several large-scale birding citizen science projects these days, e.g. Breeding Bird Surveys, Project Nestwatch, Project Feederwatch, or the VABBA2, it’s easy to get confused about protocols and methods. They’re all different! This article is intended to provide additional guidance on how to survey an atlas block. Let’s start with some myths […]

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Data Entry Round 1 – Recording Incidental Observations

Atlas Data Entry Round 1: Incidental Observations* We will be posting a series of tutorials walking you through the process for submitting your bird observations for the second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas. Note: You can reach the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas 2 eBird portal by clicking the VABBA2 button in the above menu. For this first […]

VSO American Kestrel Nest Box Project Update

Innisfree Village Albemarle Co.

In 2014 the Virginia Society of Ornithology undertook a project to erect kestrel nest boxes throughout the state, and to educate landowners on ways to enhance kestrel habitat.  Materials for the project are funded through private donations, and the work carried out by volunteers.  To date (Feb. 2016) the project team has 235 boxes in […]

Virginia Society of Ornithology comment on Black Vulture legislation SB 37


Update: On February 3, 2016 SB 37 was referred by the VA House of Delegates to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources On January 26, 2016 the VSO Board and Officers sent letters Virginia Governor McAuliffe and Virginia Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee. While the substitute legislation is a considerable improvement over […]

Launch of the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is fast approaching!

Red-headed Woodpecker Adults and Juvenile. © Brent Slaughter

The launch of the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is fast approaching. This spring will mark the start of a five-year effort to document all of the bird species breeding in Virginia. The VABBA2 needs volunteers from Virginia’s birding community to hit the field and start collecting breeding data this Spring. Please check out the […]

Gull Notes

Field readable band on Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gulls Late fall through winter and early spring months in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region can be rewarding for gull watching. Ring-billed Gulls are common winter birds in the area, but where do they “come” from? Two recent sightings of banded gulls provide vital clues as to the season movements and site fidelity to […]

eBird and Macaulay Library: next generation tools for rich media


It’s no surprise that birders are a visual and aural community—after all, we spend most of our time searching for birds by sight and sound. Millions of birders around the world now carry cameras into the field, and many people also record bird sounds using smartphones. Until now, this rich resource of bird photos and sounds […]

Ruth Beck Bird Research Fund

Ruth Beck

Ruth Beck was a Biology Professor Emeritus of the College of William and Mary and she was also the Observatory’s Songbird Team Leader and Vice-president. She passed away in May 2015. Ruth worked tirelessly over 40 years with particular emphasis on conservation efforts in the Tidewater area. Learn more and find out how to contribute […]

KM — two letters that tell the story of an American Oystercatcher.

American Oystercatcher -- KM incubating at Bethel Beach NAP, Mathews County, Virginia

The American Oystercatcher, with striking pied plumage, flame red eyes and red-orange dagger like bill is frequently observed on the Atlantic coast of North America. On May 25, 2015 a nesting American Oystercatcher was re-sighed at Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve in Mathews County, Virginia. A variety of color bands are used by the The […]

Geolocators used to study Golden-winged warbler movements between wintering and breeding grounds

Male Golden-winged Warbler fitted with "light-level" geolocator © Lesley Bulluck/VCU

New technology and interest in a declining migratory songbird prompts range-wide study and collaboration: a snapshot of the project’s touchdown in the Allegheny Highlands. Dr. Henry Streby, UC-Berkeley Postdoctoral Research Fellow, funded by National Science Foundation is leading a study of range-wide long distance migration in Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA), as well as Blue-winged Warblers and […]