male Hooded Oriole delivering food














Nevada County Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) Project

                                                                                                                By Steve Rose

 SFAS is sponsoring a Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) project for Nevada County. If you don’t know what a BBA is, then you are like me a few years ago. A BBA is a collection of data about all of the birds that breed in a particular region — in this case, Nevada County. We divided the county into a 5 by 5 kilometer grid which yielded 109 grid “blocks”. The object is to have a map of the county showing all of the blocks where, for example, American Robins are found to be breeding. This is done for every breeding bird species in every block in the county. The 2015 season is our first full year of “atlasing”, and although not all the results are in, our 20 volunteer atlasers have so far nearly completed surveys in 19 blocks and at least 88 blocks have been surveyed at least once.

To date, 129 species have been found breeding in the county. If all goes well it will still take another 4 or 5 years of work to complete all 109 blocks, then more time to study the results and publish the findings. It’s a big project and an important one. There has never been a county-wide breeding bird atlas project done in the entire Sierra, and Nevada County, straddling both slopes of the Sierra, is in a great position to establish a county-wide baseline that can be used in the future to detect trends in breeding bird distribution, not only here, but for the Northern Sierra as well. No such baseline presently exists.

Want to help with the Project?

If you would like to help in the project, here are some ideas:

• Report or photograph any nests or baby birds you see from your yard or neighborhood — be careful not disturb the birds.

• Do the same when you are birding anywhere else in the county. Please note that we need a detailed location and date.

• Or, if you feel up to doing some surveys for us, we can train you to be an atlaser if you have basic birding skills.

For more info contact Steve and Diane Rose at:

Hairy Woodpecker feeding young

Hairy Woodpecker feeding young