Sunday, June 5, 2011

Putting Ohio Birds on the Map

It was hot, hard work... but a ton of fun. The 2011 Ohio Ornithological Society's annual conference was the ultimate block-buster for the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II.

One of the OBBA most prodigious atlasers, Craig Caldwell and the event's Ringmaster, Julie Davis greeted people at the Friday afternoon registration table. Several of the OOS Board members worked hard to make this event possible. Paul Rodewald kicked the evening off with a program on the background info of the OBBA II, and an update of the current needs.

Here's our group bright and early Saturday morning, watching for breeding bird behaviors at Sandy Springs. Our groups fanned out throughout the Shawnee and Adams county areas. We spent six hours in the field on Saturday, and returned for an afternoon of Bare Naked (without binoculars, that is...) Birding with Ted Floyd of the ABA.

After supper, Ted rolled up his sleeves and encouraged us to think out of the box a bit, and try some night birding. The program must have been a resounding hit, because afterward a caravan of cars headed out to bird Adams County!

Standing along the road in front of the Eulett Center turned out to be the perfect place for an outstanding concert of Chuck-will's-widows. The avian concert was long and strong, with calls in the nearby, bushy understory!

"Kat Doc" Kathi Hutton listens intently to calling frogs and other strange noises off in the distance. No amplification was need for the Chuck's!

After a good night's sleep, round two of atlasing commenced in Adams County. Dan Sanders provided birding support as we documented the resident birds on the "Conrad Tract." This important piece of land was purchased with funds from OOS and Clean Ohio Funds and is managed by The Nature Conservancy. I have more to tell you about that, but it will get its own separate post (along with some botany.)

Dave Hughes tries his hand at marking the chit sheet as wife Laura and Craig Caldwell look on. The whole weekend was about reaching out to train new people on atlasing and refining our skills in bird observation. Thanks to all the people who gave of their time and talents to continue this important scientific work.

As much fun as it is to bird, there is also a good feeling to know we are making a difference and providing valuable information about the status of the birds in Ohio.

Good birding= great fun!

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