Tuesday, November 2, 2010

COSEWIC-listed species

The following is a list of all COSEWIC-listed bird species that breed in Manitoba (and one species that has a provincial listing but not a federal listing). WHEREVER POSSIBLE, please document these with precise location data (e.g. by completing a rare bird form or entering coordinates into casual observation form or by using the Google maps tool). Click on the table to view it at full screen or contact the Atlas office for a printable file.

A question mark beside a region number indicates that the species in question in very uncommon there. An asterix beside a species name indicates that there is some difference in the way subspecies or populations are listed by COSEWIC but only subspecies or populations relevant to Manitoba are given.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How To Enter Casual Observations

Here is how to enter casual observations for the Atlas (click on images to view in larger format):

Go to: http://www.birdatlas.mb.ca/ and then go to “Data and Maps” and then click on “Online Data Entry”. You then need to enter your atlasser number and password and click on “login” (direct link = http://www.birdatlas.mb.ca/mbdata/login.jsp )

Click on “Casual Obs.”

Enter a square ID number of the left, then the date on the right then the species and breeding code. In this example I have entered 14PA22 (western Winnipeg), then May 2nd, then I entered the code SOSP and pressed the tab button and the program atomically recognised SOSP = Song Sparrow, then I entered the code S (for “singing”).

You can then go to the next line and enter another observation either in the same square or in a different square…

If you don’t know what square your observation is in click on the little blue circle and a map will pop up like this – you can navigate with the map, zooming in or out as needed as then when you are ready click on the “Transfer” button…

The coordinates will then transfer to the form – note if you have transferred coordinates in this way you do not need to fill in the square number (the program will do it for you)

When you have entered all the casual observations you want, click on the “Continue” button on the bottom of the page

The records will appear in a list – check the details and then click “Finalize these records” and you are done (you can then start a new form or go back to the main data entry page or log out)

HAVE FUN!! How to fill out a breeding evidence form is in the post below!

How to Enter Breeding Evidence Online

Here is how to enter a breeding evidence form for the Atlas:

Go to: www.birdatlas.mb.ca and then go to “Data and Maps” and then click on “Online Data Entry”. You then need to enter your atlasser number and password and click on “login” (direct link = http://www.birdatlas.mb.ca/mbdata/login.jsp )

For breeding evidence you need to define your squares first. If you have entered casual observations already, you will have a list of squares. If not, click on “List of squares

When the screen comes up enter in the square number of the square that you want to enter breeding evidence for (you can give the square a name too although this is optional)

When you have your squares defined, click on “Go back

Select the square you want from the list that says “Select a square” and click on “Breeding Evid.” (this will become step one once you have done this a few times)

The data entry screen appears. If you want to indicate the name of any assistants you had during atlassing in this square you can do so on the left (optional). Once you have named an assistant there name can be checked when you do data entry at any future date for any square.

Then enter in the date of your visit number – here I have added May 2nd from 07:15 – 10:30 and since my group never split up while atlassing the total party hours = 3 hours 15 minutes. You can define multiple visits if you want. When you have your visits defined, click on “Species 1” (the visit information and other data will save automatically each time you tab through the form)

Work your way through the species list, adding codes where appropriate. In this example, I had already added some casual observations of Pied-billed Grebe and Blue-winged Teal so these appear on the form automatically with a visit number of “0”. In this case I am adding the visit number of “1” and the code of “AE” beside Cooper’s Hawk (just an example!)

I then click on the “Species 2” tab at the top and then “Species 3” and so on until I have finished and then click the “Finish” tab – a list of species entered in this square to date will be shown…
THAT'S IT - YOU ARE DONE! Be sure to log out when you leave the site.

Now, If you would like to see your data in action go to “Data and Maps” and then click on “Square Summary Sheets” (direct link = http://www.birdatlas.mb.ca/mbdata/squareinfo.jsp?lang=en ) and enter in the square number in the box as shown (I have chosen 14NA80) then click on “Download Square Summary Sheet for XXXXXX

The summary square sheets shows you not only the list of expected species but also which species have data entered already and the highest breeding evidence code used and the percentage of squares for which data has been entered where any given species has been recorded to date.

HAVE FUN! Atlas time is here!!

Ready to roll!!

Ok folks – everything is ready – the square maps are available off the website www.birdatlas.mb.ca under the data and maps section and under the downloadable maps section you can download a map of your square… if you asked us to send you a kit look for it in the mail by the end of the week! If not, all the pieces of the kit are available for download off the web site. Just in time for the arrival of many species!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guide available!

The participant’s “Guide for Atllasser’s” is now available off the atlas website (www.birdatlas.mb.ca) , either from the home page or through Resources >> Atlasser Material >> Guide and Data Forms. This has a few minor tweaks from the one we handed out at FortWhyte (which we had run out of by the end of Saturday) but if you have a copy of that one you can still use it (the content hasn’t changed – just, with your input, we made a few minor editing changes)

The Data forms are also available in the same place. The breeding evidence forms print best on legal paper (14”x8.5”) so if you have difficulty printing on this paper type from home just let us know and we can do it for you. You could of course print these on 11 x 8.5 ( al little squashed but legible) for use in the field and then copy them over to a master copy kept at home and with everything printed very neatly. I recommend people keep one master copy per square they are atlassing in and then use this/these master copy/copies for data entry later. The forms we gave out at FortWhyte, which the watermark “DRAFT” plastered across them, can be used as rough field sheets but please don’t use them as master copies if you are going to send us in datasheets to be scanned.

The Guide For Point Counters will be up shortly. The point count forms are already available and print on letter-sized paper (11”x8.5”). We will soon have the remaining items in the “Atlasser’s Kit” such as the square maps and summary square sheets ready too for download. If you checked the “Yes, please send me the atlasser’s kit” when you registered we will have those in the mail within a week or two.

Casual forms and rare/colonial species forms and nest record cards are all available on the website too. Would be awesome to start the atlas with a rare bird!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

White-breasted Nuthatch

Nella Schmidt submitted the following photo:

Nella writes:
April 7.... Nest-building Whitebreasted Nuthatches...The male (I'm assuming) had some nesting material in his beak and as as he ascended, descended and circled the trunk, he shook his head continuously back and forth. The female ( presumed) watched him. Eventually he placed the material which I couldn't identify into the cavity. On my way home, when I stopped by shortly, the male had a white fluffy seed head in his beak, and again engaged in the same head movements while the female was occupied with arranging the nesting material in the cavity.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

House Finch Behavior

Garry Budyk has just sent these interesting behavioral notes:

March 3rd: At home in East Kildonan , I observed a male House Finch doing a spirited courtship dance around a female , with the female following his movements carefully and responding by lowering her head and opening her mouth wide . No food was exchanged but the interaction went on for several minutes . It seems much too soon for a serious mating attempt , but it may show how early House Finches begin their pair bonding and courtship rituals .

March 7th: I observed a male House Finch feeding the female

Friday, March 5, 2010

Atlas Launch - April 9 - 11 Schedule

Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas - Launch and Free Public Workshop:
FortWhyte Alive, Winnipeg

Dates and Times:
Friday 9th April 7pm – 9pm
Saturday 10th Apri1 10am – 4pm
Sunday 11th April 10am – 4pm

Friday April 9th 7pm – 9pm
Reception with the Minister of Conservation, Silent Auction and "meet the owl" with Nemo, Pepper and their favourite perch, Jim Duncan.

Saturday April 10th 10am - 4pm
All day registration available. View our maps and maybe select an atlas square or meet your regional coordinator

10:00am: Atlassing Presentation: Learn about breeding bird atlases –their history and their purpose and how you can get involved

11:00am: Enjoy the photography and stories of naturalist, photographer and author Bob Taylor as he showcases beautiful Manitoba

2:00pm: An outdoor workshop on how to atlas for birds – bring your binoculars and a pencil and clipboard!

3:00pm: An outdoor workshop on how to use hand-held GPS units – useful for recording the location of birds

Sunday April 11th 10am - 4pm
All day registration available. View our maps and maybe select an atlas square or meet your regional coordinator

10:30am: Atlassing Presentation: Learn about breeding bird atlases –their history and their purpose and how you can get involved

2:00pm: An outdoor workshop on how to atlas for birds – bring your binoculars and a pencil and clipboard!

3:00pm: An outdoor workshop on how to use hand-held GPS units – useful for recording the location of birds

Registration will be available the whole weekend! Workshops will be held in small groups so you can see first hand how to “atlas” for birds. Staff and experienced volunteers will be on hand to explain the project and answer questions. Drop in whenever you can!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Screech-owl pair bonding

In the last few days some Winnipeg Eastern Screech-Owls have been engaged in pair bonding including an observation of a pair copulating on March 1st (probable breeding). With the warmer temperatures, it is worth listening for owls already! Can you tell which is the male and which is the female in the pair of Eastern Screech-Owls in the photo below by atlas coordinator Christian Artuso?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Part of a team

The beauty of a breeding bird atlas is that ANYONE can participate and EVERYONE can build their skill set. Whether you are simply documenting a robin nesting under your eaves trough or a hawk nest you spotted on the road, or submitting a photograph of a species you can’t identify, or signing up to cover a grid square (20 hour commitment) or maybe conducting point counts or going wilderness camping with a supplied recording device, we need YOU!

The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas has 14 administrative regions. You can view a map of the regions below or go to: http://www.birdatlas.mb.ca/mbdata/regions.jsp?lang=en for a larger version and a list regional coordinators whom you can contact for more information or how, when and where to atlas and to sign up for a square.

And, if you are not from Manitoba, we would be delighted to invite you to come here to participate in this conservation initiative and to enjoy a truly remarkable wilderness experience. Anyone can participate as an individual or as part of a team. In fact, we want to get everyone involved as part of the largest team of all – people who care about the environment and who are actively engaged in protecting their environment in all sorts of ways. If looking for birds in prairie grasslands or experience the enormity and richness of the remote boreal forest appeals to you, please get in touch and we will provide logistical support and information. You may even be able to attend some of our training workshops or special events to learn more about “atlassing” for birds.

If you cannot come to Manitoba, there are currently four Breeding Bird Atlas projects ongoing in Canada. In addition to the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas, you can look at:

British Columbia http://www.birdatlas.bc.ca/english/index.jsp
Maritime Provinces http://www.mba-aom.ca/english/index.html
Qu├ębec http://www.atlas-oiseaux.qc.ca/index_fr.jsp

Declines in bird populations

A short while ago, the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas Coordinator, Christian Artuso, was asked to write an article on the decline of songbirds for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Here is his assessment of the situation: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/fast-facts-manitobas-silent-spring
You can also download a pdf of that same article by clicking on the above link, scrolling down to the bottom and then clicking under where it says “Download Related Material”

Hope you enjoy this article!
Canada Warbler - Threatened, COSEWIC 2008. Photo by Christian Artuso.

The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas

Welcome to the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas!

This is an exciting new project to engage as many people as possible in environmental monitoring. We firmly believe that by getting involved in the process of monitoring ecosystems that people will learn to better appreciate the environment and better understand the amazing biodiversity that exist right in our own backyard.

The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas will give you a chance to be part of documenting the distribution and abundance of all bird species that breed in Manitoba. Over five years (2010 – 2014), we will put together the most comprehensive data set on Manitoba’s birds ever assembled; a data set with numerous conservation applications and with enormous power to inform our conservation decisions and priority setting exercises. To do this we, we need to cover every corner of this province and to do that we need you!

If you’d like to get involved, please visit http://birdatlas.mb.ca/ . You can also stay tuned to this blog, or become a follower. We will document the progress of the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas here, with a liberal sprinkle of photographs and images!