• Atlas progress update: End of season
  • Call to action: Submit your data
  • Atlas skill: What to do in the off season
  • Challenge winners: All 2021 winners
  • Species spotlight: Red Crossbills
  • Events: Celebrate fall migration
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Sept 2021 Update
The second field season is coming to an end but there are still a few late breeders to be found. Fledgling Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches, Red and White-winged Crossbills, and even some catbirds and grosbeaks can still be found. As the leaves drop, you'll be able to see what nests you missed and use the UN code for used nests--more on that below.               

Unsurprisingly, the two species confirmed breeding the most in August were American Goldfinch and Cedar Waxwing. For the latest stats, check out the statewide summary on the Atlas website.
Submit all data by Sept 30th
The woods are quiet, birds are looking scraggly as they molt, starlings and grackles have flocked up, and shorebirds have started moving south, which means that fall is right around the corner. With breeding season all but over, it's time to enter any outstanding observations you may have. Get your data in by the end of September to be included in the results summary coming out in October.
  • Enter remaining data and unhide checklists
  • Check location and Atlas portal usage
  • Add documentation, especially for rare or unusual sightings
Read more about what to do in the off season.

Using the Atlas portal off-season

Recently used Cliff Swallow nests can be coded with UN for used nest in the off season. Photo © Nancy Jameson/Macaulay Library (ML255878981)
You can keep using the portal year-round as long as you are following block boundaries and noting breeding behaviors when you see them. If you prefer to bird this time of year without paying attention to blocks, please switch out of the Atlas portal

Now is the time to stop using the H code (in appropriate habitat) if you haven't already, since most birds are on the move and you can't be sure they nested locally.

Some breeding behavior codes are still possible. The codes you are most likely to use in the off-season are:
  • S – Birds still sing occasionally and should be recorded as such.
  • FL – A few late breeders are still feeding their young into September (e.g., grosbeaks, pewees, catbirds, goldfinches, waxwings, crossbills). Do not use the FL code for independent young—birds that are fully grown and self-sufficient.
  • C – Winter breeders will start their courtship rituals as early as November (e.g., Great Horned Owl, Bald Eagle, Common Raven).
  • NB – Some species use their nests year-after-year and make repairs in the off season (e.g., Bald Eagle).
  • UN – Used nests are more visible in the off-season when the leaves fall off the trees. Just make sure you know what species made the nest.

New Book - Peterson Field Guide to North American Bird Nests

A new guide to bird nests came out in August and it is chock full of photos of bird nests! The field guide also contains useful information on habitat, nest construction, eggs, and breeding behavior. This is a great addition to every atlaser's book shelf. If you aren't sure who made that used nest, now you have a chance to figure it out. Now available from Buteo Books.
2021 Monthly Challenge Winners

Monthly challenges are over for this year, but we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the winners one more time because they shared some inspiring atlasing tips. You don't have to be an expert birder to atlas, but atlasing makes you a better birder!

March – Suzanne Kavic (early breeders)
April – John Roosenberg II (nocturnal checklists)
May – Jarvis Shirky (grassland birds)
June – Carl Biers (blocks <20 hours)
July – Suzanne Gaynor (confirmed birds)
August – Marty Borko (late breeders)

Winners receive Atlas swag (e.g., stickers, hat, t-shirt) and are featured on the Atlas website.

Species Spotlight: Red Crossbill
Female Red Crossbill © Shawn Billerman/Macaulay Library (ML291548971).
Crossbill. Bec-croisé. Kreuzschnabel. Pico cruzado. In every language, the most distinctive character of a crossbill is its amazing bill. The tips of the mandibles (the upper and lower parts of the bill) cross in opposite directions. This unique adaptation makes crossbills super efficient at extracting seeds from conifers.

This adaptation has allowed them to take advantage of an untapped resource, but it also makes them highly dependent on conifer trees, so much so that they have adopted a nomadic lifestyle flying long distances to track large cone crops. This adds to their appeal for us birders, because we don’t know when or where we may run into them. But we can increase our chances by following large-scale movements of crossbills (called irruptions) and learning a bit about their biology. 

Read more about how to find and confirm breeding crossbills.

Upcoming Events
Breeding season is pretty much over for year 2 but there are still ways to stay active. Check your local bird club for local events or celebrate migratory birds in October:
Check out our YouTube channel for recordings of past events, including Big Atlas Weekend.

Supporting the Atlas: Alan Devoe Bird Club

On Saturday, October 2nd, ADBC will hold a Big Sit as a fundraiser to support the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. The count circle will be located on public land near the gazebo at Stockport Station on Station Road, a location that offers views of the Hudson River along with parts of the marsh and surrounding shoreline. You can help by collecting pledges toward the club total or counting the birds. Just bring your bins, pull up a lawn chair, and count the birds. Details will be posted on their website.
3 Ways to Support the Atlas!
  • 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 $32,400!
  • Donate directly to the atlas. Donations go toward supporting outreach events and data collection all in the name of conservation.
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