Monday, January 5, 2015

misconceptions about the WI breeding bird atlas (WBBAII), and how to learn more

I've heard that some folks think they "don't know enough" about birds to participate in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (WBBAII - the 2nd atlas - starting in late winter of 2015). There are some misconceptions about "skill" that pertain here. Do you need to be an expert at bird song to participate? NO. Instead, your careful efforts at observation will make you more effective. Learn to slow down, and watch what birds are actually doing.

Let's say you're out birding on June 5th, and you see a Gray Catbird. During a regular day of birding, maybe in the past you noted that individual, and recorded it. But now, go several extra steps: what is the bird doing? Is it carrying food, or carrying nesting material, or carrying a fecal sac? Maybe you never really have carefully watched a catbird up until now. Can you see if it goes to a nest? If it does, can you see if there are eggs or young in the nest?

You can start with what you already know. Atlasing will, in fact, make you a better birder.

Learn more, at a series of Atlas presentations/workshops. And be sure to attend the Atlas Kickoff meeting, Feb. 27-March 1: http://wsobirds.org/atlas-kickoff-meeting  

The list of presentations/workshops is growing, but right now these are existing dates:

 B.F. Goss Bird Club, Waukesha 7:00 pm Jan 25
Winnebago Audubon, Oshkosh 7:00 pm Feb 5
St Croix Valley Bird Club - River Falls Pub Library 100 pm Feb 7
Schlitz Audubon, Milwaukee, 630pm, Feb 11
Friends of Black River State Forest, Black Riv Falls, Jackson County Bank, 630pm, Feb 18
Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park, Milwaukee - 530pm Feb 23
Mosquito Hill Nature Center, New London, 1000 am, March 7
Coulee Audubon, LaCrosse, Myrick / Hixon Ecopark, 7:00pm, March 18


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