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!
Number of years birding:
I’ve been fascinated by birds since childhood. My earliest bird memory is of a Barn Owl that lived in our dairy barn hayloft when I was 4 1/2 years old. This is probably why my favorite birds are any and all owls.
Other citizen science experience:
I started eBirding in 2003. I had been participating in Project FeederWatch for several years and it was requested that we submit our lists to eBird. Soon, I was listing all of my sightings. I’ve also participated in The Great Backyard Bird Count, Bluebird trail monitoring and Christmas Bird Counts.
Motivation to Atlas:
When I first heard about the Atlas II project, I borrowed a copy of the first Breeding Bird Atlas from a friend. It’s an astonishing piece of work and I knew I wanted to participate in the new one.
Primary atlasing location:
I am the primary atlaser for two blocks and find that I’m never not an atlaser. I report breeding activity wherever I see it, focusing on my home county of Dunn.
Most exciting Atlas find:
One of my most memorable Atlas finds was a Hummingbird nest. I was scanning a wooded area with binoculars, trying to find a vocalizing Yellow-throated Vireo. I was hoping to see a female to confirm a breeding pair. A tiny flutter among the oak leaves caught my eye. So, rather by accident, I found a female Ruby-throated at her nest.
Most rewarding part of Atlasing:
Atlasing has taught me to slow down and observe and it has sharpened my listening skills. It’s so amazing to see what the birds will reveal. I also enjoy the challenge of photographing these behaviors.
Advice for someone “on the fence” about participating:
To anyone who is considering giving atlasing a try, please do! I think you will be surprised by how fun and enjoyable it will be. It’s my favorite reason to just get outdoors and enjoy the birds.