Email – October 5, 2009 – 2009 Atlas Highlights


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October 5, 2009

Dear OBBA II Atlasers:

Thank you very much for all of your contributions to the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas in 2009!! Here I have summarized some of the Atlas highlights for 2009, but emphasize that there were countless important records in 2009, and there is a large amount of data not yet entered into the Atlas system. We now have over 266,000 bird records, a 40% increase since December 2008! These records come from 3,530 atlas blocks (80% of all blocks!), a 27% increase since December. We’ve got a long way to go, but with everyone’s help we have made extraordinary progress!


  • The bird of the OBBA 2009 season was a confirmed breeding MERLIN, found by John Pogacnik in northeast Lake County. It was here where a female was seen feeding a juvenile in late June and a juvenile and an adult female were seen again in late July. There are very few breeding records for Ohio and most lack good details. Peterjohn (2001) mentions a breeding pair in 1858 in Cuyahoga County and possibly a very small breeding population in Ashtabula, Geauga, and Lake counties in the 1930s, with rare summer reports of singles in the 1990s. The species has become a rare but regular breeding bird in New York over the last 15 years, and Pennsylvania documented several pairs during their recently completed second breeding bird atlas. It should be noted that Jim McCormac wrote in a previous OBBA II newsletter that the Merlin would eventually breed in Ohio.
  • Common Merganser – This was a new breeding bird for the state in 2006 when Jim Dolan recorded it in the Little Beaver Creek watershed (Columbiana Co.); it has now been recorded in 6 different blocks in that area. In 2008 and 2009, Craig Holt and Rickie Crone submitted records from three blocks in the Conneaut Creek (Ashtabula Co.).
  • Mississippi Kite – First recorded in the 2007 atlas season, the breeding pair returned for a third year to the Brass Ring Golf Course in Hocking County. In 2009 we have received records of single birds in Worthington (Bernie Master) and Cincinnati (Troy Shively).
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove -Troy Shively documented a bird carrying nesting material in Logan County during May, and on 15 June he observed juveniles at the same location. This was the first nesting of this species reported to the OBBA II, and possibly the first confirmed breeding record for Ohio.
  • Nashville Warbler – We received a report from John Pogacnik of an adult Nashville Warbler and two young in Lake County on July 13. There are exceedingly few Ohio breeding records and this was a first confirmed breeding record for OBBA II.
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler – Hans Petruschke reported three singing males in June and July in a remote area of Holden Arboretum. The birds were difficult to observe and it wasn’t possible to confirm breeding. Another single male was detected in Geauga County in summer 2009.
  • Pine Siskin – After a major invasion winter, Pine Siskins were detected breeding in large numbers, with 9 probable breeding records and 17 confirmed breeders (so far). Many confirmations were of juveniles fed by adults at bird feeding stations. Of confirmed records, 60% were in northeastern counties, with 10-15% occurring in central, southwestern, and northwestern counties.

Best wishes,
Paul Rodewald


Paul G. Rodewald
Director, Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II
Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology
The Ohio State University
School of Environment and Natural Resources
2021 Coffey Road
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1085
Phone: 614-292-9795; Fax: 614-292-7432