The Fifth PSO Breeding Bird Blitz Planned for June 15 – 18, 2018

By dgross May 3, 2018

PA Society for Ornithology Logo

The fifth annual Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Blitz (PA3B) will take place Friday, June 15th through Monday, June 18th. The PSO continues to make this event fun, interesting, and relevant to the birding community. that PAB3 this year will take on a “BIG DAY” format. Don’t let that intimidate you, as you can test drive a Big Day doing a County Count in an hour or less and you do not need to be an “expert” birder to take part! A Big Day Count is a single-team effort in which the primary objectives are (1) to identify as many bird species as possible during a single calendar day and (2) to strive to have all team members identify all species recorded. It truly is “birding with a purpose” since the breeding code information informs of breeding range changes and the status of birds in many counties that get few reports during the nesting season. This is another enjoyable opportunity to add some great Pennsylvania Breeding Bird data to eBird! Making the blitz a fun and friendly contest hides the fact that it is a great way to stimulate more bird reports in many counties and locations where few birders normally go birding especially in summer. To learn about the rules of the blitz, please follow this story to the next page. For more information about the project, see the PSO website where you can find more details.


The Fifth PAB3 will be conducted by the following rules:


  1. Count only full species. Birds not on the PA Ornithological Records Committee (PORC) Bird List will not be accepted. The list can be found at
  2. For a species to count for the team total it must be identified by at least 2 members of the team during the count period.
  3. Birds must be conclusively identified by sight or sound. No generic species will be accepted.
  4. Birds counted must be alive, wild, and unrestrained. Birds at feeders may be counted.
  5. Only submit birds actually located within the boundary of the count. The location of the bird is where the bird is located, not where the location of the observers. Please be aware of county, region, and state lines. (The boundaries of state parks, state forests, game lands, county parks, land conservancy properties also should be considered when reporting geographically referenced bird data).
  6. Since this is a Breeding Bird Count use of recordings (audio-lure) should only be used for nocturnal species (Owls, rails etc.) whose presence would be difficult to detect otherwise. “Phishing” (or other aural lures) should be kept to a minimum.

Kentucky Warbler thrives in forests with a healthy shrub and ground vegetation cover, by Jacob Dingel, PGC


  1. One of 3 geographic areas may be covered each day of the Blitz (County, Regional, or State).
  2. A County list will include all birds identified in a particular county (Example: Crawford County).
  3. A Regional list will include birds identified from at least 4 counties of that region with a minimum of one hour spent birding in each county (Example: NE Region; Sullivan, Wyoming, Pike and Carbon counties).
  4. A State list will include birds identified from at least 5 regions in the state with a minimum of one hour spent birding in each region (For example: SE, SC, SW, NC, NE, NW).

Dickcissel , another prairie bird that invades Pennsylvania in late summer, by Marc Favre


  1. All counting must be within a single 24-hour period and on a single calendar day.
  2. A County List can be any length of time.
  3. A Regional List must be at least 4 hours of in duration
  4. A State List must be at least 5 hours in duration.
  5. Your time birding does not need to be consecutive as time out may be taken but birds identified during the time out may not be added to the list.

Barred Owl on roost in the forest, by Wayne Laubscher


  1. Travel may be by any means. When motorized vehicles are used, all participants must travel in the same vehicle, except during time-outs. (So, bicycles, canoes, kayaks are all allowed).
  2. All birds identified while driving may be included in the count list. If positively identified by at least 2 team members.

American Black Duck by Joe Kosack


  1. Two or more participants may constitute a team.
  2. All members of the team must start the count day with the team.
  3. Participants may bird only part of the day as long as there are at least 2 participants left on the team after they leave the team. A participant who leaves the team may rejoin the team later in the day.

Brown Creeper, a true forest bird, by Jake Dingel


  1. A day summary report from eBird is the preferred entry method as long as the other entry information that follows is also included. Using eBird will do the tallying for you (making it easier for you), give your data value, and standardize reports (making it easier for me).
  2. If you choose not to use eBird you may use tally sheets that will be available for download the PSO website.
  3. Note the date of the count.
  4. Note if it is a county, regional, or state list, along with the name of the county, counties, or regions birded in the count.
  5. Include the names of team members along with team name if there is one.
  6. Send all entries (no more than one per day of the Blitz) no later than 11:59 p.m. of the day following your count to (Example; you do a Regional count on June 15th, you have until 11:59 p.m. on the 16th to email the results).
  7. Only one eBird Summary Report or Tally Sheet will be accepted for each day of the Blitz. Multiple submissions for a particular day will not be accepted.

Canada Warbler by Jake Dingel

Using eBird

  1. If you use eBird (which you are highly encouraged to do) please keep checklists at 5 miles or less for traveling counts otherwise the data you submit may become less useful or invalidated.
  2. You are also encouraged to use breeding codes as much as possible. (These are easily accessed with the drop-down options.)
  3. To create a Daily Summary do the following: (1) Go to the “My eBird” tab on the eBird website, (2) click on “Summarize My Observations” on the side bar, (3) Select a “Week Report”, (4) Choose the correct month and day and press the “Continue” button, (5) Highlight the locations visited and press the “Continue” button, (6) Either copy and paste the information into an email or download the report and send it via email.
  4. Please note that creating a Daily Summary should be created at the end of each birding day.


Sora is one of the several wetland birds in decline, photo by Jake Dingel, PGC


  1. The results for all 3 categories (County, Regional, and State) will be posted by June 23rd on the PSO Facebook Page, PSO website, and The PA Birds Listserve.
  2. Results will be ranked according to the number of species reported.
  3. Top species count of each category will not receive any type of monetary or material prize, but the fame and glory for having topped the category.

A perched Common Nighthawk, another Caprimulgid aerial insectivore that has declined in PA

Send your Stories and Pictures

Send in your stories and pictures to so we can include them in the next edition of the Pileated and/or post them on the PSO Facebook page. (Of course, images and recordings are encouraged on eBird reports.)

Ruffed Grouse drumming in Penn’s Woods by Jacob Dingle

Any questions?

Contact Vern Gauthier at

Pileated Woodpecker, the icon of the PSO, by Jake Dingel


The 2018 PSO Breeding Bird Blitz Map