Dec 09 2012
‘Tis the Season for giving! If you have a Pennsylvania birder or scientist on your list, here’s a great gift idea.
The newly published Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania by Andrew Wilson, Daniel Brauning and Robert Mulvihill is now available from Penn State University Press. It’s a comprehensive, scientific look at all the birds who breed in Pennsylvania.
The data was compiled between 2004 and 2009 by over 2,000 volunteers. I was one of them. We traveled the state recording the location, habitat and behavior of birds during the breeding season. Were they courting? Building a nest? Carrying food? Were the adults scolding us for coming too close? Did we see babies in the nest? We took notes and uploaded our observations online. Our data became this book.
It’s a beautiful book and fascinating for its discussion of breeding trends. The second atlas (2004-2009) was done two decades after the first one (1983-1989) and a lot changed in Pennsylvania in those 20 years. Forests were cut down for highways and strip mines, old farms became suburbs and shopping malls, intact forests matured, former strip mines became grasslands, wetlands were lost or restored, and the climate continued to change. The birds responded in their distribution and density.
The Second Atlas absorbs me every time I open it: the trends, the species accounts, the maps. I’m especially fond of the great success of Pennsylvania’s peregrine falcons (pages 160-161) who went from 3 breeding pairs in 1989 to 26 in 2009.
Click here or on the book cover to read more about the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania and buy it from Penn State University Press. You can get a 20% discount online by using discount code SOC-12 during checkout.
(book cover photo from Pennsylvania State University Press)