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IN THIS ISSUE:
  • Atlas progress update: Species left to confirm
  • Atlas skill: Filling gaps
  • Species spotlight: Least Bittern
  • Call to action: Nightjar surveys second window
  • June challenge: Checklists in blocks with <20 effort hours
  • June events: Big Atlas Weekend and Block parties!
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June 2022

Things are starting to heat up. Early nesters are busy feeding young and the migrants are busy building nests. June is a good time to build a species list for a block and start getting some confirmations. Towards the end of the month, activity will start to pick up even more. 

We’re celebrating breeding birds again this year through the second annual Big Atlas Weekend. Six atlas projects will be participating from North Carolina to Newfoundland. We hope you’ll join us the last weekend in June for this fun event! More details below.

To mix things up this month, instead of listing the top 10 species confirmed in the previous month, we’re focusing on the species that have yet to be confirmed. These are species that were confirmed breeding in the 2000 Atlas that have not been confirmed in this Atlas by volunteers. If you are up for a challenge, these are some of the species to target!

  • American Three-toed Woodpecker
  • Bay-breasted Warbler
  • Chuck-will's-widow
  • Gray Partridge
  • Henslow's Sparrow
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • King Rail
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Northern Pintail
  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Yellow-breasted Chat

Happy atlasing!

Atlas Skill: Filling Gaps
Canada Warbler carrying food © David McCartt/Macaulay Library (ML239299701)

Now is the time to plan your summer atlasing if you haven’t done so already. Follow the tips in this month’s Atlas Skill article to:

  1. Find where you can help the most whether it’s in a remote wilderness area, in your backyard at night, or visiting a unique habitat in the area.
  2. Focus your planning to target geographic, nocturnal, and habitat gaps and finish blocks. 
  3. Learn how to have the most fun while atlasing by getting tips on how to confirm more birds!

Remember, atlasing requires a slightly different approach to birding than you may be used to. It’s less about finding as many species as possible in a day and more about slowing down to observe what each bird is actually doing. 

  • Look at each bird you spot to check for something in the bill (nesting material, food, egg shells, fecal sacs).
  • Check each bird to see if it’s a fledgling (an instant confirmation!). 
  • Track down funky sounds that could be young birds begging for food or adults keeping tabs on their mate. 

Learn more tips on how to atlas like a pro!

Species Spotlight - Least Bittern
Least Bittern © Brad Imhoff/Macaulay Library (ML235382091).

Least Bitterns are the smallest member of the heron family. Their diminutive size allows them to move about in dense emergent vegetation, making them hard to see. A marsh bird through and through, they may be found in freshwater or brackish marshes provided there are sufficient cattails, sedges, rushes, or arrowheads for nesting.

It’s worth checking out any large freshwater or brackish marsh for these birds because they are often overlooked. It’s quite possible you could discover a new nesting location! 

Learn more about Least Bitterns and how to find them

Call to Action: Nightjar Surveys - Round 2

Common Nighthawk © Bob Bowhay/Macaulay Library (ML217969881)

We are looking for volunteers to spend an evening between June 7-20  listening for the three nightjar species that breed in NYS. The surveys are roadside and conducted at night, but you may be surprised by all the birds that are out! It’s not just nightjars and owls, but also wetland and grassland birds and even some forest birds. 

Even if you didn’t participate in May, you can still do a survey in June. If no route exists near you, you can make one!

Learn how to participate

Block Parties in Roscoe and Malone!

They are finally happening! After two years of isolation, we are organizing a couple of in-person, multi-day blockbusting events. Get together with other atlasers at a campground, make a plan to cover nearby priority blocks, and bust some blocks!

This is a great way to meet other atlasers and have fun!

We have reserved campsites and will provide some food. These events are being organized by Regional Coordinators Wendy Tocci (June 12-15, Beaverkill Campground, Roscoe) and Tom Wheeler (June 24-26, Meacham Lake Campground, Malone). Please RSVP to them directly.
See our events calendar for more details.
June challenge - Blocks with <20 hours
Eastern Phoebe carrying nesting material © David Bohrer/Macaulay Library (ML230184591)

In June, we challenge you to explore priority blocks with low coverage. Head out to a priority block with <20 daytime survey hours to discover a new area and help us reach our goal of completing all priority blocks! 

Every complete checklist you submit in a priority block with <20 daytime hours gives you a chance to win this month’s prize—an Atlas t-shirt!

Each month from March through August we will highlight a timely aspect of the Atlas that moves us closer to our goal, while giving you the chance to win some cool prizes and be featured on our website! Winners are randomly selected from all eligible checklists.

2nd Annual Big Atlas Weekend
Hooded Merganser fledglings © Daniel Irons/Macaulay Library (ML233110451).

Join thousands of atlasers from the US and Canada as we celebrate breeding birds! We had so much fun last year at Big Atlas Weekend that we are bringing in two more atlas projects to join this year’s festivities. This year, New York will be joined by the Maine, North Carolina, Maryland-DC, Ontario, and Newfoundland Bird Atlases for this fun event. 

The event will kick off June 22 with a presentation by Robyn Bailey of Cornell’s Nestwatch program where we’ll hear what has been learned from their large database of monitored bird nests. Over the weekend (June 24-26) we’ll be out in the field atlasing and competing for the winner’s trophy and there will again be a chance to win individual prizes for participating. We’ll finish it all up with an awards ceremony June 29 where you’ll be able to meet fellow atlasers from across the eastern seaboard.

We hope you’ll join us as we bring awareness to breeding birds!

  • June 22 at 6 pm: Big Atlas Weekend Kick-off with Robyn Bailey Zoom)
  • 6 pm June 24 - 11:59 pm June 26: 2nd Annual Big Atlas Weekend
  • June 29 at 6 pm: Big Atlas Weekend Awards Ceremony (Zoom)
More event details
Upcoming Events

Atlasing season has started! Check out the Atlas Events Calendar for details on how to participate in upcoming Atlas events, from chats to trainings to in-person walks!

  • 7-20: Nightjar survey window
  • 12-15: Block party - Beaverkill Campground, Roscoe
  • 16: Atlas Town Hall (7 pm)
  • 22: Big Atlas Weekend - Kick-off (6 pm)
  • 24-26: Big Atlas Weekend!
  • 24-26: Block party - Meacham Lake Campground, Malone
  • 29: Big Atlas Weekend - Awards Ceremony (6 pm)
Get your swag on!
  • Visit our online store to purchase atlas-themed items. A percentage of the proceeds go to the Atlas. Look official while supporting the atlas!
  • Sponsor a Species of your choosing and have your name featured in the final Atlas product! Together we've raised $38,900!
  • Donate directly to the atlas. Donations go toward supporting outreach events and data collection all in the name of conservation.
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