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Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas

 

What is it?

The Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas is a grass-roots project that brings together birders, ornithologists, outdoor enthusiasts, and resource professionals to collect breeding information on the wild birds in Nebraska. Individuals, observer pairs, and even groups visit pre-selected "blocks", make observations on breeding birds, and then submit these observations to be entered into a database. Once all the data are collected they will be summarized. The completed atlas will be published and will provide an understanding of each species' distribution in the state. The project will update, refine and complement the first Atlas project that was conducted 1984-1989.

 

Why is it important?

Due to our continually changing environment, the breeding ranges and numbers of Nebraska birds are also constantly changing. Bald eagles, which built only one nest in the state during the first project, now breed nearly statewide. Eurasian collared-doves, never seen in Nebraska until the late 1990s, are now found throughout the state. House finches, great-tailed grackles and some other species have increased their ranges as well. Some sensitive grassland species, such as Swainson's Hawk, may be declining. The list of changes goes on, with the extent of change unknown until completion of the project.

 

What needs to be done?

To accomplish the goals of the project, volunteer workers will survey 520+ priority blocks scattered across the state. Each block is a quarter of a township - 3 X 3 miles. The workers will visit the blocks at various times during the breeding season to develop a list of the species that breed in each block. During the first project, more than 125 observers drove more than 75,000 miles and logged nearly 6,000 hours of observer time to complete the project. Those numbers will probably be exceeded this time around, despite the current gas prices.

 

How can you become involved?

The Breeding Bird Atlas needs more volunteers to help collect data at the over 500 blocks across the state. With so many blocks, there is surely one near you. If you don't have a lot to time, that's fine, a few hours or a couple days collecting observations will help the overall effort. The first step is to get more information and to do so, please contact the project coordinator:

 

Wayne J. Mollhoff, Coordinator
Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas Project II
Ashland, NE 68003
wmollhoff@netscape.net

 

The project is co-sponsored by the numerous volunteers collecting field data, The Nebraska Ornithologists' Union and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, with funding by the Nebraska State Wildlife Grant Program and Nebraska Nongame Conservation Fund.

 

 

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J.G. Jorgensen,
May 13, 2011, 1:23 PM
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