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various Atlas questions

  • charluthin
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5 years 2 months ago #182 by charluthin
charluthin created the topic: various Atlas questions
Hi Nick & Ryan,

As I have begun atlasing, there are several questions that have come to mind. Here are a few:

1) When is Agitated behavior (A) NOT a sign of a probable nest? I've spent some time walking in cattail marshes recently. Several times a pair of redwings pops out of the cattails, lingers in the area, giving stressed/agitation displays until I depart (unable to find a nest). Same is true of song sparrows, swamp sparrows, catbirds, etc. Why would A not be confirmed, if DD is a confirmed nesting behavior?

2) I observed a pair of sandhill cranes with a 1-2 week old chick in a wet meadow where I know they were nesting (but didn't wander in to disturb them). What is the code for a pair of birds with precocial chicks? Think... grouse, turkey, waterfowl.

3) Is the only way to confirm cowbird breeding by observing eggs or young in nests of songbirds?

4) How do you confirm nesting of chimney swifts? There are plenty in my block, and I'm certain they are using chimneys in my neighborhood. Short of climbing a roof or checking out the chimney from inside (unlikely!), how can we confirm their nesting?

Thanks for your response.

Charlie

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  • Nick_Anich
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5 years 2 months ago #183 by Nick_Anich
Nick_Anich replied the topic: various Atlas questions
Good questions.

1. DD is only performed with a nest, whereas theoretically birds could be agitated for other reasons. In all likelihood many A are nests, but you just never know what the story is, hence it's a probable.

2. I'd say this is FL (recently fledged young) assuming you think the birds are still hanging around the area where they hatched. You should just be very cautious with older young that are fully flighted, independent, and mobile. Young that are still fuzzy, short-tailed, limited mobility, hanging with parents, should all be coded FL. (In reality some number of these may have strayed into an adjacent block if they are near block lines, but assuming they are still fairly young, with limited mobility, and depending upon parents, I think using FL is good enough).

3. NE, NY, or FL (baby cowbird being fed by another species). Potentially ON if you caught a female in the act of laying, but that would be a rare occurrence.

4. This is a good question. I would say the best way would be to watch for repeated visits to a chimney, which would be ON. But a single visit to a chimney would be N. I assume nesting or not, most birds are roosting in chimneys so just seeing them in or out of one at dawn or dusk may not qualify as confirmed.

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5 years 2 months ago #184 by ryanbrady
ryanbrady replied the topic: various Atlas questions
I agree wholeheartedly with Nick's response. Only thing I'd add is FY would also be appropriate for cowbird confirmation. We could also consult the Wisconsin Chimney Swift working group for behavioral insights as well.

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  • charluthin
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5 years 2 months ago #185 by charluthin
charluthin replied the topic: various Atlas questions
Thanks for your prompt response, Nick.

I'm certain the sandhill cranes are nesting in that area, as the young is too small to have traveled any distance and it is an isolated section of wet meadow/marsh.

Even though chimney swifts may be visiting the same chimney night after night, how can one tell if there is nesting versus roosting? Still a mystery!

Thanks again.

Charlie

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5 years 2 months ago #186 by charluthin
charluthin replied the topic: various Atlas questions
Thanks for chiming in, Ryan! Charlie

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  • Nick_Anich
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5 years 2 months ago #187 by Nick_Anich
Nick_Anich replied the topic: various Atlas questions
Presumably roosting birds would primarily be leaving the chimney near dawn or dusk. If you see birds entering the chimney on more than one occasion during midday, then I would feel comfortable with ON. You also may be able to catch a glimpse of a stick or food in its mouth going into the chimney, which could be CN (away from nest site) or NB (if seen going into chimney) or CF with food.

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