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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

- Robert Louis Stevenson


What is a Bird Atlas?

A bird atlas is typically a citizen-science project to establish a comprehensive list of birds in a particular area and provide information on their distribution.

Most bird atlases are conducted at the state level and collect data only on breeding birds. The Loudoun County Bird Atlas is unique in that the project is county-wide and includes year-round data for both breeding and non-breeding birds.

Birds play a key role in our ecosystem and are important indicators of the overall health of our environment. Loudoun’s diverse habitats, ranging from forests and wetlands to suburban parks, make this county an important breeding and wintering site for many birds. This atlas project will create a baseline of information that can be used to identify important bird areas and guide future conservation activities.

How did we conduct our Bird Atlas?
We divided Loudoun County into a grid of 75 blocks, based on sections of U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle maps. Each block is approximately 10 square miles. Participants were assigned to different blocks to ensure county-wide coverage.
Volunteers used a field card to collect data on the occurrence and behavior of birds throughout Loudoun County.  Data processing was handled by BBA (Breeding Bird Atlas) Explorer, an online system hosted by USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.  Field data was collected from April 2009 through March 2014.

What did we find out?
Check Out our Data
Check Out our Results
Check Out our Report Summary

Stay tuned for more results!

The outcomes of this project

  • A new and improved Birds of Loudoun Checklist. This list now includes 305 bird species identified in the county through March 2014, with over 120 reported breeders.
  • An article summarizing our Bird Atlas findings.
  • Comparisons with 1985-1989 Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas data, including which species experienced the greatest increase and decrease in blocks. 
  • Identification of important bird areas throughout Loudoun County, with the possibility of conducting abundance surveys in these areas.
  • An in-depth Birds of Loudoun print publication.

Resources for Bird Atlas Volunteers:

Listen to our Podcast (from 2008 when the Bird Atlas was just hatching!)

Any questions?
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Bird Atlas Coordinator Spring Ligi at sligi@loudounwildlife.org.