By Ashley Peele
Weekly Atlas volunteer story – Meet Dave Larsen!
Dave has now confirmed 72 breeding species, contributing a tremendous amount of his time and effort to the VABBA2 project. Here is a little of his story…
Dave started birding just after finishing graduate school in 1973. He was very active in his local bird club (Moriches Bay Audubon) and with friends would chase rarities up and down the East Coast. He wasn’t able to bird much through the 80s and 90s, as work and family took up his free time (a situation we’re all familiar with). After moving to VA, he retired in 2006 and returned to birding with gusto. He has taken the VA Master Naturalist courses and participated in the Virginia Working Landscapes Grassland Survey program. Although he occasionally travels to bird, he finds great satisfaction immersing himself in the local bird life near his home in Haymarket. Here’s what he had to say about the Atlas project…
“The Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project has come along at a perfect time for me as it adds a new dimension to birding my local patch. July used to be the month you traveled because there was nothing going on at home; time for a breather while awaiting the flood of fall migrants. Now I have motivation to get out early despite the mosquitos, ticks and chiggers to catch the morning activity before the oppressive heat of midday rolls in. For those who look at an Atlas block with no ebird hotspots and say it’s not birdable, I say give it a try. I have found a dozen or more new birding locations all within 5 miles of my house. Probable breeders that a year ago I would never have suspected include American Woodcock, Virginia Rail, and Northern Parula. I was able to confirm Louisiana Waterthrush this season, and it’s just a matter of time before I confirm Barred and Great Horned Owls.
Whenever I encounter a fellow birder with an iPhone I always ask if they use eBird (I may have recruited new eBirders as far away as Costa Rica, Chile andSouth Africa). Now, in Virginia, if I get a chance, I also ask if they’re contributing to the Atlas.”
We sure appreciate all of Dave’s efforts on behalf of the project. All of the effort by himself and the rest of our awesome volunteers will lead to a much clearer picture of the bird populations occupying your local patch, allowing management and conservation effort to better prioritize the species and areas of greatest concern. At the end of the day, that is what the Atlas is all about!
Thanks to Dave and all our other dedicated volunteers!