Many people recognize the most common bird species in Virginia, but according to Ashley Peele, a research associate with the college’s Conservation Management Institute, there is still much that scientists don’t know about these species.
To fill those knowledge gaps, Peele is coordinating the second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas. This statewide project sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries gathers data collected by volunteer birders over a five-year period to determine where birds are living and breeding. “We tend to assume that common birds stay common,” Peele said. “But bird populations can begin to decline without us even realizing it. The atlas will provide an overview and assess the status of all bird species in the state, not just the ones that we’re already monitoring.”