Field Trip Reports MBP Field Trips

Field Trip Report: Citizen Science for the Birds!

June and July are the best months for documenting breeding birds because so many birds are gathering food for their young as well as feeding fledglings and collecting nest material to start a second nest.

Red-shouldered Hawk – Photo by Sue Muller

The original plan was to meet in Washington County for this field trip, but the weather forecast was only good at best for the morning and always had the threat of storms. So, a quick change was made to hold the field trip in Howard County since those who signed up were from the east side of the piedmont and the rain was expected later. There were five of us who met at Dayton Oaks Elementary School to learn the ins and outs of using eBird to conduct a breeding bird survey as part of the Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas (3), . This citizen science project is mapping the distribution of breeding birds every 10-square miles across the state. The group learned a lot about observing breeding behavior and how to apply appropriate breeding codes in their eBird checklists. Seven species were confirmed breeding:

Red-shouldered Hawk – 2 chicks in the nest testing their wings out and climbing onto limbs (above photo), very close to fledging

Gray Catbird – carrying food

Eastern Kingbird – fledgling following an adult 

American Robin – carrying food

Eastern Bluebird – nest with young

Northern Cardinal – fledgling begging for food

House Sparrow – fledglings begging for food

We also made some non-avian observations for MBP. We certainly couldn’t pass up the adorable [White-tailed Deer] fawns.

When we went into the pavilion to look for Barn Swallow nests, we found a nest of Common Paper Wasps instead, a first record for the Clarksville quad!

We also observed European Pear Rust on Bradford Pear.

We wrapped things up by 11am and a good time was had by all!

– Sue Muller, Trip Leader

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