Email – November 21, 2011 – Autumn Newsletter


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November 21, 2011 (Newsletter #4 – This email is also available as a PDF, here)

The Ohio Atlaser

Final Atlas Field Report:

Over the last six years, Ohio’s second Breeding Bird Atlas has generated an immense amount of new information on the statewide distribution and abundance of birds. Volunteers and staff have amassed more than 992,000 bird records of over 200 species (193 confirmed breeders). This includes 17 species that were not recorded during the first Atlas, 4 species not known to have bred in 50-100 years, and 5 species not know to have bred in Ohio prior to OBBA II. There are many other highlights, including the successful acquisition of bird records from all 4,437 Atlas blocks in Ohio. Atlasters finished strong with nearly 400,000 breeding bird observations reported during 2010 and 2011. Let’s take a look at some important achievements and highlights of the last two years (see Species Highlights below).

Annual Block Coverage (click to open larger image)

Annual Block Coverage

Data Entry Guidelines:

With the end of the Atlas drawing near, we are busy making plans for the Atlas book. With your help and continued support, we need to acquire ALL Atlas data this fall if at all possible. For those of you who still have unentered data there is time to get your important observations and effort submitted. However, PLEASE contact us if you are unable to enter data before January as we would need to plan for that. Please read the list below to see how you can most easily contribute data:

  • Easily enter data online at
  • OR mail completed field checklists to the address at the bottom of this newsletter
  • OR if you only have a few records to share, give us a phone call and we’ll try to help entering all effort data (survey hours and mileage)
  • complete and submit rare species documentation
  • direct us to individuals or organizations that might have important breeding bird observations to contribute

With over 4,400 Atlas blocks in Ohio, there has always been a lot of ground to cover. As a result there are plenty of gaps to fill, even for fairly common species. Get in touch to find out how to get your observations on the map!



Though, we are already discussing plans for writing the OBBA II book, atlas field work isn’t over quite yet! Some important species will start breeding soon. Whoo? you ask. Owls, of course! Great Horned Owls enter OBBA II safe dates on December 20th, however, many individuals begin courtship by November. In addition, some early Barred Owl pairs can start to duet in late December. For those of you participating in Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), this is a great opportunity to obtain new records for owls. That said, please don’t wait for a CBC to get started. With help from several regional owl coordinators, we plan to survey priority blocks lacking records of these owls from mid November to 31 December, and we need your help. This is our last (but not least!) push for field data collection in OBBA II, so please get in touch with us and we can direct you to a Regional Owl Coordinator Let’s put Ohio owls on the map!

Sponsorship Program

We have created a sponsor-a-bird auction to generate funds for publishing the Atlas book. Printing large books is expensive, so proceeds will be dedicated to lowering printing costs (and final sale price) of the Atlas book. During the next few months, we will be auctioning each species that will have a full account in the published Atlas. Winning bidders will be recognized by name as the official sponsor on the species account in the book (see example above). For more details on this exciting program, visit our website.

Black-necked Stilts

Species Highlights:

Multiple Black-throated Blue Warblers were observed on territory in 2010 at Holden Arboretum (Geauga County) and in Columbiana County near the Pennsylvania border, yet confirmation of breeding proved difficult. Our luck changed in 2011, when Haans Petruschke reported a pair carrying food on 19 June at Holden and John Pogacnik found a male carrying food in Lake County on 27 June.

Many atlasers were excited by a Common Raven in Knox county seen from October 2010 through April 2011. However, this bird was likely unpaired and it moved on as the breeding season progressed. Four other observations of single ravens by field staff were reported in June and July 2011 in Jefferson, Monroe, and Noble counties. Though no new confirmations were obtained, it seems likely that ravens have new nesting locations in eastern Ohio.

Mark Shieldcastle reported a Canvasback brood (Fledged young) at Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge in Lucus County on 29 June. This is the third time the species nested at this location in the last 20 years, and a first record for OBBA II! The species was not reported during the first Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas.

Breeding Mississippi Kites were a big story in both years. In 2010, a nest with recently fledged young was found at Hide-A-Way Hills in Hocking County, where adults were observed feeding cicadas to the fledglings. The pair successfully nested at the site again in 2011 and (amazingly) a second pair was briefly seen not far from Hide-A-Way Hills, though the birds were not seen again. These recent records come on the heels of the kites that nested at the Brass Ring Golf Course in 2007, also in Hocking County.

On 26 May, 2011, Brad Sparks reported Black-necked Stilts at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Dave Slager was able to get video evidence of courtship behavior – copulating adults! (see image above). Unfortunately, the pair did not linger at the site. The species was confirmed however, in 2008, with a pair on nest in Sandusky County.

Several reports of Eurasian Collared-Dove were submitted in 2010 and 2011. On 23 May, 2010, Troy Shively reported a nest near Indian Lake High School in Logan County. Though the species was confirmed in 2009 with observations of fledged young and adults carrying nesting material, this was the first nest found in Ohio. In 2010, Hallie Mason and Su Snyder reported an individual mating with a possible Ringed Turtle-Dove in Tuscarawas County, where an adult was later seen on a nest. Eurasian Collared-Doves have been recorded in 16 Atlas blocks, almost exclusively in the more agricultural western half of the state. However, the Tuscarawas nest and expanding distributions in other states suggest it may become more regular in eastern Ohio.


...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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