Saturday, February 23, 2013

Milford and Stratford Point bird lists on eBird

Have you ever wondered about the species that occur in the mouth of the Housatonic River, from Stratford Point east to Short Beach and to the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point? Do you want to know what time of year a certain bird is present?  Would you like to see a dynamic listing of the birds we see? Do you want to help and contribute some of your sightings? Thanks to eBird you can now do this very easily. Your first step is to visit where you should sign up for an account if you have not. Next navigate to the "Explore Data" tab on the top of the screen.

From there click on the second option from the top of the left side of the page, "Bar Charts". Our region, the United States, should already be selected. Then you can choose Connecticut out of the list below this.  Click on the bubble to the right for "Important Bird Areas in Connecticut" and then scroll down to the bottom and hit "Continue". You will then get a list of the IBAs in the state, and the one you will be looking for is "Milford Point/Wheeler Marsh/Mouth of the Housatonic River". Selecting this and hitting "Continue" again will lead you to a page with a bar chart of bird observations from all that have been submitted publicly to the database for areas like Milford Point, the Wheeler Marsh, Short Beach, Stratford Point, and so forth.

If you have entered data for one of these locations and it is a "hot spot" or even your own location that you have not made private and have mapped correctly within the boundaries of the IBA then your sightings should show up in the chart. At the time of this entry I see we have 300 species and 30 taxa displayed. That is a strong total but it still is far from the true number as historical rarities and occasional oddities still have yet to be added. Milford Point alone has over 320 species on its list. Nevertheless, some long-staying mega rarities like the state-first White-tailed Kite were recorded very well.  It even shows others like the Chuck-will's-widow I found at Stratford Point last May that stuck around for just one night.

This easy to find and read chart shows the potential and power of eBird as it captures information from dozens and dozens of birders at multiple locations within this critically significant region. The next time you visit the CAS Coastal Center at Milford Point or the CAS managed Stratford Point please consider entering the birds you find into eBird if you are not already.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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