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Maine Birders Urged to Assist in Mapping Wintering Species

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Monday, December 27, 2021   

The Maine Bird Atlas is in its fourth year out of five, an effort to document the abundance and distribution of the state's wintering and breeding bird species.

It is what's known as a "citizen science project," meaning Maine residents are being asked to report the species and location of wintering bird sightings this season, and then next summer, breeding bird sightings.

Adrienne Leppold, wildlife biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and director of the Maine Bird Atlas, said the information will benefit generations of Mainers and Maine birds.

"A comprehensive survey like this for winter birds across the entire state has never been done," Leppold explained. "We have some baseline information on breeding birds that was collected in the late 70s."

She added the new information will allow them to compare, and see what has changed in the last 30-plus years since the last breeding bird survey, as well as to finally document abundance and distribution information for wintering birds. Maine is home to more than 190 winter species.

Leppold noted tracking and mapping Maine's birds is a major undertaking, and no one or group of biologists could do it without the help of the state's birding community.

She pointed out you do not have to be an expert birder to report a sighting as long as you can identify the species and its location.

"In addition to collecting the scientific data about where birds are, we've kind of built this effort of community and connecting people who are less experienced with people who are more experienced, and just building that passion for nature and birds," Leppold emphasized.

The data collected will be compiled into a resource for birders finding species of interest in the state, and for biologists and conservationists at the local, state, national and even global level.


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