This page is dedicated to the 2nd Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas. Here we will present suggestions for atlasing, recent interesting results, and resources about the BBA.
The Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) is entering its 5th and final year, and can always use dedicated birders to assist in gathering breeding bird data. If you would like to volunteer, contact one of the regional compilers or the BBA Coordinator, Anthony Gonzon (Anthony.Gonzon@state.de.us).
A new Breeding Bird Photo Gallery has been added as a link, and we encourage you to submit breeding bird photos of interest (email to email@example.com). Links to other BBA sites are also presented below, as well as on our Links page.
Grasshopper Sparrow in full song by Chuck Fullmer
Look for them in new developments where a number of the lots are still vacant and un-mowed.
Three easy ways to generate a Probable Breeding record. Probable evidence is almost as good as Confirmed, and it is much easier to obtain. Following are my preferred approaches: (BBA codes are in bold)
1. S - Male singing on territory twice, 7 days or more apart, both times within the Safe period.This is the most effective way to generate a Probable, but it does takes attention to detail.
What I do is:
a. On my first trip to a block, I enter location #'s on my block map for where I stopped to bird, and I record what species were singing at these locations.
b. When I get home, I enter these species as a Possible (an X) in the USGS data base.
c. Then I go back to that block in 7 or more days, follow the same route, and note repeat singers at each stop #.
d. On returning home, I enter these as Probables with S code.
Note: You have to make the 1st and 2nd entry, 7 days apart, both within the Safe period, for the computer to accept the S entry.
2. T - Birds defending territory. Most often two males of same species counter-singing, in other words each can hear the other, but can also be two males chasing each other.
3. P - A male-female pair of same species observed in suitable habitat.
For Confirmed Breeding records, I do NOT recommend looking for nests, as this can be disruptive and very time consuming. My favorite approaches are:
1. AY - Attending young, especially by carrying food in bill.
2. CN - Carrying nesting material. Note this is not allowed for large birds such as crows and eagles which can carry nesting a long distance. If in doubt, try it and the computer will tell you if it is not allowed.
3. FL - Recently fledged young incapable of moving a long distance. I interpret "long" to mean from one block to another.
The above is just a very brief summary. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Thanks and good atlasing. Also note we have some new BBA photos in the Breeding Bird Photo Gallery.
Region 4 Compiler
Grasslands. Below is an exceptional field located by Ken Bass in one of his BBA blocks. This field currently holds 2 pair of Dickcissels and at least 2 pair of Grasshopper Sparrows. So if you happen to find a field like this be sure to check it out thoroughly. Ken has talked to the landowner and been assured it is in a conservation easement.
Grasshopper Sparrow is a Delaware breeding bird I used to consider fairly rare, that is until I learned to look for them in new developments where a number of the lots are still vacant and un-mowed. In one recent development, we had 3 signing on territory within ear shot of each other, along with an Eastern Meadowlark.
Other species to look for in unfinished developments with large mounds of earth are Rough-winged Swallow, and if you are very lucky, Belted Kingfisher.
Bill Fintel, Region 4 Compiler, firstname.lastname@example.org