[CT Birds] Connecticut Bird Atlas

Chris Elphick elphick at sbcglobal.net
Tue Dec 5 10:59:25 EST 2017

Hi all,
There's been some great press coverage for the Connecticut Bird Atlas over the past few days, following on from last Friday's release of the 2017 Connecticut State of the Birds which Connecticut Audubon has dedicated to promoting the atlas project.  Unfortunately, some of the news articles have included errors about the project, which I wanted to correct here to avoid confusion.
First, the project is funded largely by CT DEEP, via Federal wildlife funding that originates from an excise tax on guns and ammunition. The project is a 5-year study, with 3 years of field work planned, plus time for data analysis and development of final projects, including on-line presentation of the project's results.  UConn is contributing to the cost of the project in the form of faculty research time (mine and Morgan Tingley's) and infrastructural support through my lab and Morgan's.  Other funding commitments so far come from COA, Great Hollow Nature Preserve, the New Haven Bird Club, plus several smaller donations that we will list online once the full web site goes live.  The project is not yet fully funded, but we are in a good position to achieve most of our goals with the funds that have been committed.  Connecticut Audubon's contribution to date has been to promote the project via the State of the Birds.  Most of the other birding groups in the state are partnering with the project in some way, e.g., via representation on the advisory board that we created to generate input from the birding community.  

Contrary to some of the reporting, this is not an Audubon project.  Nor do we view it as an exclusively DEEP/UConn project.  It is a project that will succeed only via the partnership of ALL of the organizations that care about birds and their conservation - and, most importantly, the help of 100s of birders from throughout the region.  The willingness of birders to volunteer their time to help collect data will be the most important contribution, and it is ultimately a project of the state's birding community.

If people want to volunteer for the atlas or to ask questions, they should not contact Audubon, nor should they call the DEEP offices.  The best bet is to do so via the project web site, which will ensure that the emails go to those of us coordinating the project: http://ctbirdatlas.org/   

I have heard of two cases where people had trouble sending emails via the web site.  In both cases it sounded like the problem involved the way that person's browser was configured (e.g., blocking email pop-ups or defaulting to an obsolete email address).  If you do have problems note that the email address is also posted on the web site and can be cut and pasted into a message.  Anyone who doesn't use email, should feel free to send me a note at my UConn address (see below).

Early in the new year we will be greatly expanded the web site with many more details about the project.  Ultimately all of the data will be displayed along with a lot of other information about the state's birds.

Min Huang, Morgan Tingley, Craig Repasz, and I will also be giving talks about the study at various meetings around the state over the next few months, including two on Thursday (Old Lyme and Greenwich). These talks will not be "training sessions" (as stated in some of the reporting), but rather a broad overview of the project and an opportunity for people to learn more about our goals and how they can get involved. Later in the spring there will be training sessions, where we provide more detailed information on how to collect data etc., but those are not scheduled yet.  For a full list of all events, see the web site:http://ctbirdatlas.org/Atlas_presentations.pdf
which will be updated as new events are planned.
Lastly, many thanks to the more than 130 people who have already expressed an interest in the project!


Chris Elphick @sstsEcology &Evolutionary BiologyUniversity ofConnecticut75 North Eagleville RdStorrs CT 06269
Storrs, CT 
elphick at sbcglobal.net

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