New York Breeding Bird Atlas III Update (from New York State Ornithological Association)
By Kathryn Schneider, Co-chair, NY BBA III Steering Committee
The Steering Committee for New York’s third Breeding Bird Atlas has been meeting since 2015 to fund, organize, and plan our next bird atlas. This project will provide a five-year snapshot of the distribution and abundance of breeding birds in New York State. With field work set to begin in 2020, the committee is excited to announce that Julie Hart has been hired to fill the position of Atlas Project Coordinator. Julie beat out an outstanding field of nearly 80 applicants who sought this position. She impressed the Search Committee with her combination of scientific training, field work, large-scale citizen science, and project management experience. Some New York birders will remember Julie from the years she spent in New York working on the Important Bird Areas program with Audubon New York. During this time, she was based at the Cornell Lab where she had the opportunity to work on eBird during its development. From 2007 to 2009 Julie was a Conservation Biologist for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. In this position she recruited, trained, and organized more than 150 volunteers for Mountain Birdwatch, a project that monitors high-elevation birds in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Julie has participated in bird atlases in Vermont and Connecticut and she has trained volunteers to use eBird. Her most recent position as a Database Manager for Yale’s Map of Life project involved managing large datasets not unlike those generated by a bird atlas.
Julie hit the ground running and attended her first Steering Committee meeting after only four days on the job. She will work in DEC offices in Albany as a part of the staff of the New York Natural Heritage Program and she will be officially supervised by Matt Schlesinger, Co-chair of the NY BBA III Steering Committee.
Everyone on our committee is delighted to have an individual on the team whose sole responsibility is the management and coordination of the atlas project, but we all know that the success of a project as large, complex, collaborative, and long term as our state atlas depends first and foremost on large numbers of skilled volunteers to gather the data. In the coming year we will be asking birders to commit to field surveys using atlas methodology. We are relying on you to get involved! We will want you to go places that you’ve never been before, and we will need you to watch and document the birds you see in new and different ways. Are you up to the challenge?