22 March 2010

Breeding Bird Atlas Report March 2010

2010 marks the third year of the five-year data-gathering effort for the British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas.

Two years worth of data have brought us some very interesting discoveries and maintained what we here in the Southern Rocky Mountain Trench already knew - that this is the best and prettiest place in BC to live and bird.

189 species have been documented in our region!

169 of these are definitely or strongly suspected to be breeding here.

This is compared to the 254 species that breed, migrate, or occasionally fall out of the sky into our area.

Certain species documented at last
The great news is that some very wonderful species have been breeding in our area including:

Barred Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Williamson's Sapsucker, Lark Sparrow, Common Grackle and possibly American Avocet.

K. K. of Fernie was the first to bring to provincial attention that the COMMON GRACKLE have invaded the southeast corner of our province and have been here for years.

The LARK SPARROW was known to be in the Skookumchuck area for some years. Last year, P.D. and G.R. stumbled upon one of these nests in a very dreary but obvious place. Two weeks later, the eggs were pipped (as confirmed by yours truly) and later in the season, the young were seen with their family. Yay!

The furthest southeast corner of our province has given up a very nice record of an AMERICAN PIPIT carrying food as recorded by a researcher from Alberta.

Our region's progress
How are we doing?

Well, compared to the other 40 regions, not bad for having only 11 regularly active atlassers. Mind you each region has a different number of squares. We have over 200 squares. (Squares are based on the Universal Trans Mercator grid and are 10 x 10 kilometers.)

Breeding evidence: we've complete 6 squares (20 hours spent in a square over the 5 years).

Point counts: we've completed 1 square (15 point counts per square).

Squares: we've got some data in 86 squares but no data in over half our squares.

Species: we've recorded 189 species.

Hey, we missed some
Yup, no one has yet documented definite breeding evidence of ROCK PIGEON, BLACK TERN, or VIRGINIA RAIL!

Hopefully, they won't go anywhere (except migration) by the end of the Atlas period so somebody will confirm their breeding.

And other species we might possibly get breeding are: BALTIMORE ORIOLE, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, BOREAL CHICKADEE, BLACK SWIFT, and the ever elusive TURKEY VULTURE.

Carry on, gang
It's a large and diverse province, as we who have travelled anywhere in it know. But, each region is 'known' for something so each has 'priority' squares that would yield the most useful information when considering the whole province. Region 1 Southern Trench has unique mountainous habitats, not often accessed by the non-hiking birder, but there is some road access to some squares.

If you find yourself in any of our 10 priority 1 squares that yet have no data, please be sure to note species, date, location and breeding evidence. Check out the Breeding Bird Atlas of British Columbia or contact me for a list of these squares.

Point counts
Our region has over 200 squares. Each square has a target number of point counts = 15.
Ha ha - that's over 3,000 points.

91 point counts have been done over the previous two years. Only one is considered to have enough point counts.

Have fun! Stay safe! And thanks to all those who have contributed so far!