Email – August 4, 2011 – Late-Season Opportunities


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August 4, 2011

Late-season Opportunities


Though migration has begun for some species, and many others are now out of safe-dates, August is full of opportunities to add breeding bird observations to the Atlas. As we mentioned in a previous email, individuals of many species out of safe-dates are still breeding, and can be seen feeding young and displaying other signs of breeding. These are important observations to document. Also, there are quite a few species still within safe dates, including most tits, wrens, and sparrows.

Even after many species have left their breeding areas, it is still possible to record them for a block. One code that often gets overlooked is the “UN” code (used nest). Nest boxes are great places to check to add birds to block lists. Songbirds’ nests inside of boxes can be easy to identify long after the birds are gone. Here are some examples:

  • Eastern Bluebird – usually require a clean box, so this nest will be lower inside the box. Nests are built entirely out of grasses and forbs.
  • Tree Swallow – nest height can vary in the box, and general structure is similar to bluebirds’, however the nest is lined with feathers, and these are easily seen. Often they use large duck and goose feathers for nest lining.
  • House Wren – generally large balls of sticks. The nest box can be filled to top with larger sticks. Easily distinguished from other cavity nesters.
  • Chickadees – generally nest in boxes that are higher up, but can vary. Nests are very soft – full of mosses, animal fur, and finely shredded plant material.
  • Tufted Titmouse – height is variable, but tends to be higher up, as in chickadees. Nests are constructed of finely shredded bark, vines, mosses and grasses. More shredded than in other species.
nestbox nests

You might be surprised to find that many of these nest boxes are still active. Just this past weekend, we found a Tree Swallow nest with young in a box.

Eastern Phoebe, Barn and Cliff Swallows, and oriole nests can also be easily seen from roadways and park trails. As the season progresses more and more vacant nests will become visible as trees lose their leaves. Atlasing can continue late into 2011!

Thank you so much for all you do for the OBBA II, and happy birding!

Paul Rodewald, Matthew Shumar, & Kate Batdorf
Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II


...putting the nesting birds of Ohio on the map!
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