NY Breeding Bird Atlas III begins tomorrow!

zach schwartz-weinstein

Hi All,

The third New York State Breeding Bird Atlas is nearly upon us–it officially starts on January 1, 2020! We hope that you will join thousands of other birders in documenting the state's breeding species over the next five years! 

Working together with the Atlas Steering Committee, Atlas Project Coordinator Julie Hart, and a team of regional coordinators, I will be coordinating Atlas activities in Albany, Schoharie, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Warren, Rensselaer, Washington, and Saratoga Counties.

Our area is home to a wonderful and distinct group of breeding birds, but it is also a vast region, so if you ever watch birds in our area, we will need your help! We encourage birders of all backgrounds, from new birders to experienced Atlasers, to help document the breeding birds of our region.

The New York Breeding Bird Atlas III website (https://ebird.org/atlasny/about) contains a lot of great information about the Atlas, and we encourage you to explore the many resources on the site. As the breeding season of many species starts later in the spring, there will be Atlas training workshops and other opportunities to learn more about Atlas goals and how atlasing works. If you're eager to get started right away in January, here are a few key points:

All of the data entry for the project will be via a dedicated eBird portal for New York Breeding Bird Atlas III. eBird offers real-time data entry and outputs, so you’ll be able to follow along with results throughout the breeding season and across the entire project period.

For this Atlas, New York State has been divided into 5,710 blocks, each roughly 3 miles by 3 miles in size. From these 5,710 blocks covering the entire state, the Atlas Team has selected a subset of *priority blocks* that are evenly distributed across the state to ensure broad coverage. To complete the Atlas, we need to adequately survey all of the priority blocks, which make up 1/3 of all Atlas blocks. Priority blocks contain many popular birding spots and great breeding habitats in our region, and are where the focus should be. But if your backyard or favorite birding destination does not fall within a priority block, you are encouraged to submit your breeding observations for those areas, too.

This map (https://lab.nynhp.org/bba/) allows you to search for priority blocks near you and download detailed block maps. This is also where you will be able to sign up for blocks starting January 1, 2020. Anybody can atlas in any Atlas block, so it is not necessary to sign up for a block. But if you are especially interested in atlasing in a certain block, signing up for that block is a great way to indicate your interest in documenting the breeding birds in that block.

Although the Atlas starts on January 1, only a very small number of species in our region might be demonstrating signs of breeding behavior in January. These species are Great Horned Owl and Red Crossbill.  This great chart (https://s3.amazonaws.com/is-ebird-wordpress-prod-s3/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2019/11/Breeding-Guideline-Chart.pdf) provides very detailed information about when species are breeding in New York. In general, breeding codes should only be used for a species if the species is in the "E" or "B" portion of its breeding calendar.

We realize that for some of you, either atlasing or using eBird will be new for you, but don't worry–there are lots of resources to help you learn more! The Atlas III website is a great place to start, and then we will be scheduling community training workshops in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at zachsw@...

Good Atlasing,
Zach Schwartz-Weinstein

Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
203 500 7774

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