The PA Breeding Bird Blitz (June 27-30)

Winter features the Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count, spring has the migration count, and fall is dominated by hawk watches counting migrant raptors and passerines. Every twenty years or so, the Breeding Bird Atlas comes up to which gets people out and about during the breeding season, but otherwise summer is an overlooked time of year.

By the time June and July rolls around, birders are tired out from the migration madness that is May, and are sleeping in (let’s face it, no one wants to get up at the crack of dawn when the crack is at 5am) and hiding in the air conditioning. But the breeding season is great, there is a whole host of fascinating bird behaviors that happen at no other time of year, such as nest building, courtship, laying eggs, fledging….the list goes on. It’s also an important time of year to be surveying birds because the populations of breeding birds can often tell us more about a species status than counts during migration which vary so much based on weather.

A couple of us have been brainstorming a fun summer project to get people out looking for birds in the peak of summer and what we’ve come up with with is the Breeding Bird Blitz, mostly because Vern really loves his alliteration. Read below for details about the blitz and about the prize.

What is the PA Breeding Bird Blitz?

The PAB3 is a great time to get out during the peak of the breeding season. We hope to get a quick snapshot of the breeding birds present in PA during this period.

When is the Breeding Bird Blitz?

The PAB3 is during the last weekend of June and includes the Friday and Monday on either side of it.In 2014 it will be on June 27th-30th.

Why the Breeding Bird Blitz?

The PAB3 is a means of gathering data on an annual basis of the breeding bird population in PA. Similar to the Great Backyard Bird Count, it will provide a snapshot of the birds in our state.

What’s in it for you?

You get to go out and find birds! There are prizes too! But most importantly you help to add some meaningful data about PA Breeding Birds!

What Kind of Prizes?

June 27th – A gift membership in the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology for yourself or a friend. This includes 4 issues of the PSO journal PA Birds. (Bonus prize: medium Red-winged Blackbird tee from PRBY Apparel)

June 28th – A Free Copy of the 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas (Bonus prize: PhoneSkope tee)

June 29th – A $25 gift certificate to the one and only Lost Creek Shoe Shop in Mifflintown PA. (Bonus prize: Leica hat)

June 30th – A signed copy of Birds of Central Pennsylvania by Greg Grove and Nick Belgian (Bonus prize: PhoneSkope tee)

How do you participate?

  1. Go out and count birds one or more of the days.
  2. Submit your list(s) to eBird where the data will be put to good use.
  3. Email one of your daily eBird checklists* each day to to be eligible for that day’s prize which will be drawn randomly each evening from the entries received before midnight of that day.
  4. Follow daily updates one or more of the following three ways:

*Prize eligible eBird checklists will meet the following criteria:

  1. Checklists will be either traveling or stationary counts (no incidental counts).
  2. Traveling counts of 5 miles in length or less.
  3. Checklists will be complete checklists (“Yes” to reporting all birds identified).
  4. Only the person sending in the checklist from a group will be the prize winner.

All members of a group can enter by sending in a copy of a shared checklist or of another checklist submitted to eBird by the group that day.

Breeding Codes: While not mandatory it is suggested that you add the highest possible breeding codes for each species on your eBird checklists.These can be found by clicking the “Add Details” button after the species name on the checklist. Doing this, will make the data you submit even more beneficial.

Any Questions? Contact Vern Gauthier at