Field Biology 109-R
Breeding Biology of Birds:

2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas

Dr. Jerry Skinner, Capwell Hall 208.  Phone (570) 945-8404.  E-mail:

Required Texts:   Any field guide to the birds of North America. The Peterson Field Guide is a good one.

Class Meetings:  Daily, Capwell Hall 214.  8:30 am-12:30 pm and times to be arranged.  Come prepared for weather conditions.

Course Goal


Tentative Schedule


Date   Topic Assignment for next class
May 22 Course information.  Introduction to the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas Project; Atlasing in Factoryville 2 Familiarize yourself with the "Handbook for Participants"
  23 Atlas website; entering data; Visit Atlas website; Assignment 1
  24 Assignment 1 due. Assignment 2
  25 Assignment 2 due. Assignment 3


  1. Visit the Atlas website.  If you want to have your name listed as a volunteer in the book, register.  Check to see if the area where you live is 'owned'.  From the menu bar at the top of the page, click on "View Results".  From the drop down menu, select one of the species we have observed in the first two days of class.  Print out the maps for both the 1st (1984-89) and 2nd (2004-2008) atlas projects.  Compare the two.  Do you see any differences?  How do you explain the distribution pattern?  (E.g., The Hooded Warbler is mostly a southern species, found mostly  in the lower tier counties.)  Read the account for this species taken from the 1st atlas book, Atlas of Breeding Birds in PennsylvaniaBe prepared to give a brief synopsis of your findings the next time we encounter this species in the field.
  2. Decide whether you are interested in conducting a Marshbird or Owl Survey.  Using the Block Finder/Custom Mapper, click through until you have located the block you will be censusing.
  3. Visit Miller Library and peruse the Birds of North America (BNA) in the Reference section.  Select one of the species that we have observed so far in the class.  You may not use the same species as Assignment 1.  Read the BNA entry for that species.  Be prepared to be the class "expert" the next time we encounter this species in the field.
Weekly written quizzes (6@10 pts) 60
Instructor's subjective evaluation 25
Final written and practical examination 65
Total 150 pts