Block Completion Guidelines

[Updated April 2024]

Atlas blocks are marked complete when it’s time to move on and survey a new priority block. It becomes increasingly difficult to add new species and breeding codes as more time is spent in a block. At a certain point your atlas effort is better spent in another block. The block coverage guidelines help us determine when atlas effort is adequate (marked “complete” in eBird) in a block and you should spend your time elsewhere.

For the final year of the Atlas, there are two ways a block can be marked complete:

  1. Using the original suite of guidelines we’ve been using for 2020-2023
  2. Having > 15 hours of effort during the peak breeding season

1. Original block coverage guidelines

The following suite of guidelines apply to the cumulative effort of all atlasers in a block over the entire 5-year Atlas period.

  • Visited at 3+ times of year (e.g., April, June, July)
  • All accessible habitat types in a block are visited
  • 20+ hours of daytime birding
  • 55-95+ species reported (highly variable throughout the state)
  • 45 species or 67% of reported species marked as ‘Probable’ or ‘Confirmed’
  • 2+ hours of nocturnal birding (highly recommended)

Read the detailed instructions on how to assess a block using these guidelines. A running total of species and effort within each block can be found using the Explore tools.

When you think a block meets these guidelines, please email your Regional Coordinator and they will evaluate the block for completion.

2. Having > 15 hours of effort during the peak breeding season

The incomplete blocks remaining at the start of final field season are located in areas with few birders. Given the large number of remaining blocks, and the insurmountable task of covering all these blocks thoroughly (i.e., using the suite of guidelines above), we simplified the completion targets for blocks in the final year. Blocks will also be marked complete if there are >15 hours of effort in the peak breading season.

The peak breeding season is defined as:

  • For 2020-2023: time spent atlasing between May 15 and July 15
  • For 2024: time spent atlasing between May 15 and approx. Aug 15

The number of hours spent during this peak breeding window is made available on the Final Season Block Tool. You can use the tool to view blocks color-coded by number of hours remaining to find the blocks closest to you that are in most need of work.