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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Breeding Bird Atlas : BBA Volunteers

Volunteers needed for second Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas


Volunteers are sought to join an exciting five-year mission to explore and document the wide range of bird species that breed in Delaware. Data collected from 2008 to 2012 will be compiled into the 2nd Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas, a valuable reference for conservationists, biologists, birders, educators, students and anyone interested in Delaware’s avian inhabitants.

“This project provides a great opportunity for birders, researchers, nature enthusiasts and students of all ages to participate in a large-scale survey project and make a significant contribution to the study of Delaware’s avian populations,” said Anthony Gonzon, atlas project coordinator. “We welcome advanced and experienced birders as well as eager and willing novices.”


Beginning early in 2008, volunteers will be offered training to participate in this ultimate citizen science project, using tried-and-true methods along with novel new ideas to build on the foundation of the first atlas produced in the 1980s.

The first Delaware atlas was sponsored by the Delmarva Ornithological Society and supported by DNREC, Delaware Audubon Society, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Tri-State Bird Rescue Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Delaware, Society of Natural History of Delaware, and numerous individuals.


As in that earlier project, Delaware will be divided into blocks each spanning about 10 square miles. Blocks will be grouped into six regions, each with a regional coordinator to work with volunteers.


To collect data, volunteer atlasers will survey their block(s) in search of evidence of breeding. Depending on bird activity observed, they will classify their observations into four possible categories: observed, possible, probable and confirmed. Atlasers will learn how to identify and confirm the breeding of birds, and about their habitats and how they might be impacted by current landscape change or change over the past 20 years.


“We have baseline data from the first Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas, which was done from 1983 to 1987. With the data in this new atlas, we’ll learn about the current status, distribution and abundance of Delaware’s breeding birds. This information will help us make plans to conserve and protect our state’s avian population for the future, including our species of special conservation concern,” Gonzon said.


The completed atlas will include species-specific summaries of the breeding histories of Delaware birds, detailed distribution maps for all bird species breeding in Delaware, analyses of changes since the first atlas and conservation recommendations. It will be published and available both electronically and conventionally on paper.


The Division of Fish & Wildlife is the primary sponsor of the 2nd Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas, which has been awarded federal and state grant funding.

Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service

The indigo bunting is among bird species that breed in Delaware.

The Division’s conservation partners interested in assisting with the project so far include The Delmarva Ornithological Society, The Delaware Nature Society, The Delaware Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others.


More information about the project will be forthcoming, including informative meetings, volunteer training and handbooks, and a web site now under development.


For more information on the 2nd Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas, please contact Project Coordinator Anthony Gonzon at 302-653-2880.

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