Want to find nests of early breeding raptors? Here are some tips . . .
Great Horned Owls, Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks
These species all nest early in the year and existing nests can easily be seen in leafless trees. These are stick nests (no leaves) and can range in size from two to ten feet across. In January, Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks may be building nests or adding material to an old nest; Great Horned Owls don’t build their nest, they just take over an existing nest. Adults may be perched in the area or you may need to watch for a while to determine which species is nesting there. Around sunset, you may hear a territorial owl or a pair of owls calling to each other. In February and March adults will be on nests or chicks will be hatching. If you find a nest, check in periodically to see what is happening.
This is what volunteers for the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (MNBBA) look and listen for to report breeding evidence for these early breeding species. After four years of data reporting, more than 800 volunteers and partners have added data to 2200 priority blocks, including breeding information on 245 species. Thank you to each of our participants, for all your contributions!
Highlights from Season 4 (2012)
We are beginning to see patterns in the data that suggest changes to breeding ranges and last year, some very interesting sightings were reported. A former breeding species in Minnesota, a Lark Bunting, was photographed in Jackson County, the only sighting for many years. Another surprise in southern Minnesota was a brood of Bufflehead in Cottonwood County, also photographed. The only expected location for breeding Bufflehead is in the northwestern Minnesota is Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, more than 300 miles away. Northern Mockingbirds and Solitary Sandpipers were also unusual reports last year. Want to see these and other results to date? Check out http://www.mnbba.org/blockmap/cresults.php and select your species of interest.
Still thinking about contributing to the Atlas?
This 5-year, state-wide, citizen science project is coming to a close at the end of this breeding season. 2013 is your last chance to help write the book on Minnesota’s nesting birds by participating in this historic project for Minnesota’s breeding birds.
If you have any questions, please contact Bonnie Sample at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-739-9332 ext. 20 for more information and to get connected to the Regional Coordinator in your area.
Join us – it’s going to be another great season!
Funding for this project is provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and a partnership of bird conservation organizations.