Email – December 17, 2010 – 2010 Wrap-Up


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December 17, 2010

2010 Wrap-up


Thank you for all your hard work over the past year. 2010 has been a great year for the Atlas, and we couldn’t have gotten where we are today without your help. With the strong support of volunteers and contributions from numerous conservation groups, and federal, state, and local agencies, OBBA II has documented over 200 species of breeding birds and confirmed breeding for 187 species. Of the 4,437 Atlas blocks in Ohio, approximately 91% of blocks now have data, and nearly 450,000 individual breeding bird records since 2006! But, before we say goodbye to 2010, there are some things you can do today to help us close out the Atlasing year.

Data Entry

Data from the past field season (and beyond) are still coming in to the Atlas office and database. We’re making our best efforts to get as much data in the system today so that we can plan for the big year ahead of us. With 2011 being the last year for data collection, it is more important than ever to get all the data submitted. Without a complete picture of Atlas data (already) collected by volunteers, it will be difficult for Regional Coordinators to advise volunteers. If you anticipate that it will take much longer, please let us enter it for you — you would still be able to add or change data in your online account.



It’s that time of year again! Great Horned Owls are already duetting in many portions of the state, and some of you may have noticed nesting behavior. Great Horned Owls enter OBBA II safe dates this coming Monday (December 20th). For those of you participating in Christmas Bird Counts, this is a great opportunity to submit observations for one of many underdetected nocturnal species. Barred Owls enter safe dates on January 15th, and you may have noticed some breeding behavior for that species as well.

To help OBBA2 with its goal of adequately surveying these fascinating birds in priority blocks, please consider some of these useful suggestions:

  1. Great Horned and Barred Owls begin breeding much earlier in the year than most nesting species in Ohio. Survey efforts to detect species like Great Horned Owl can be difficult during the summer months because of decreases in their calling frequency. NOW is the time to get out in the field!
  2. Detecting Great Horned (only 16% of blocks) or Barred Owls (only 14% of blocks) may be as simple as stepping out on your front porch during a calm, moonlit evening. Live in an urban area? No worries…Great Horned Owls are surprisingly common in urban woodlots, especially those with older trees.
  3. Where should you look? Chances are good that at least two owl species reside in the atlas block that you survey or live in. Eastern Screech-Owls may be the most common raptor in Ohio…they occupy the smallest of woodlots. Try listening for them in any wooded areas in your blocks. Their safe dates begin April 1st but screech-owls are probably starting up with their breeding activities now. Listen for their territorial “descending trill” or “whinny” calls.
  4. Look and listen for Barred Owls in wooded areas near streams, rivers, wet floodplain forests, or wooded urban areas. Great Horned Owls can be found in wooded upland areas or woodlots in agricultural areas. Direct access to woodlands or wooded edges is not always necessary for detecting these amazing raptors, as large owls can often be heard from roads at greater distances.
  5. What time of night to listen? Many official surveys recommend 1 hour after sunset to no later than midnight. However, early morning hours before sunrise can also work well.
  6. Broadcasting calls from your MP3 player or portable CD player is useful for detecting owls. Give it a try! Contact us today for suggestions on the responsible use of call playback techniques during the nesting season.

On behalf of OBBA2, I thank you for your valuable contributions to this important project.

There are lots of exciting things happening in 2011, including the Ohio Ornithological Society’s annual meeting, which will focus on OBBA II. So stay tuned!

Good birding!

Paul Rodewald and Matthew Shumar
Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II


...putting the nesting birds of Ohio on the map!
Questions or comments? E-mail us at or call (614) 247-6458.

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