San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego County Bird Atlas Project]

The quarterly newsletter for Bird Atlas volunteers
Spring 2002

In this Issue
Ahead to the Next Step: Publication

Notable Observations

Reports from the Field
Return to Starfish Cove
The Dipper Expedition—Take 3

Special Report
Bird Atlas Trivia—Take 3

Focus On...
The Snow and Ross' Geese

Progress Report

News and Updates
WingDing Things
Thanks and Kudos to Museum staff
Mammals of San Diego County
Final Reminder
Coming up at the Museum...

Ahead to the Next Step for the San Diego County Bird Atlas: Publication

Our final field season for the San Diego County Bird Atlas has now drawn to a close, but another period of intensive work is just beginning: the analysis of the results, generation of the maps, and writing of the species accounts. It is our goal to have this step completed and the final product ready for publication in one year. In fact, a commitment to accomplishing this comes with our recent grant from the California Department of Fish and Game.

Looking ahead still further, to the actual publication of the atlas on paper and electronically, we have more new support to acknowledge gratefully. A grant of $20,000, provided by an anonymous donor from the San Diego Foundation, will go toward publication in electronic media. Electronic publication offers exciting possibilities for users to generate their own maps and lists and make their own comparisons, greatly enhancing the usefulness of our results as tools for research, education, and conservation. Thanks very much to Carolyn Colwell and Ted Case of the San Diego Foundation, who came to the museum to interview us about the project, and Emily Young, who coordinated the award of the grant.

We are also delighted to acknowledge a contribution of $500 toward publication expenses from the Palomar Audubon Society. Many Palomar Audubon members have been critical to our field effort since the project's inception, and we're very grateful for their commitment toward ensuring that the results of their long hours get full use. Thanks especially to Clark Mahrdt and Dick Barber for their leadership in supporting us.

These contributions, in combination with many individual donations in honor of Margaret McIntosh and the grant received earlier from the San Diego Unified Port District, already credit us with $38,000 toward publication on paper. The amount projected for printing in two colors is $52,000, and in full color, as we hope to do, is $117,000. Likewise, electronic publication, on both a website and CD, including the sophisticated programming needed for the versatile functions we envision, is projected at $70,000. Clearly, we have a way to go in fund raising. But other possibilities remain, and the support we have received so far speaks volumes when we approach other sources for the remainder.

Photo of Yellow Warbler by Tony Mercieca
Yellow Warbler

One of the key steps in moving to the project's next stage is preparing a model species account. With this issue of Wrenderings, you will find such a model, using the Yellow Warbler. I chose the Yellow Warbler because it offers so many interesting complexities: overlap of migrants with the local breeding population, multiple subspecies, history of population change, conservation and management issues, and being on the California Department of Fish and Game's list of species of special concern. Few if any species will be more complex. We welcome your suggestions for improvement of this model. Please remember, though, that compromise among competing ideals is inevitable, and the print version, what you see here, will inevitably accommodate less than the electronic version. And please remember, with the end of the field season, we will be moving forward on these accounts quickly. Suggestions six months from now won't be incorporated as easily as those made today.

Though each species is unique, demanding flexibility, we will use the model as a guide for the structure of the other species accounts. And we hope it will fuel enthusiasm among our supporters for completion of the project.

Thanks very much to all of you who have participated in the project so faithfully over the past five years. Your efforts exceeded my wildest expectations. Please stick with us as we move into this final phase of the project. I will be contacting many of you with questions as I work on the accounts, and I will be asking many of you to review accounts of species with which you're especially familiar.

--Phil Unitt

Yellow Warbler photo by Tony Mercieca.

Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction