Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Acknowledgements

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker - John Sill

The Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2 would not have been possible without the foresight, hard work, and dedication of everyone associated with the first Atlas. To all of you we say thank you.

Any project of this scale relies not only on the dedication of those in the field, but also of their families. This work requires long hours in the field, with the observers often missing family events, rising early in the morning or going out late in the evening. To all of you we offer our thanks.

The earliest kernel of this idea came from Dr. Taber Allison then Vice President at Mass Audubon. He, along with then Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson, Wayne Petersen, Chris Leahy, the Board of Directors, and the entire Philanthropy staff raised the money to commit the staff to get this work done. Sylvia Guthrie at Mass Audubon deserves special recognition for her hard work writing grant proposals for this project. Banks Poor helped shepherd some administrative tasks along, and brought his typical calm and interested manner to the process. Gary Clayton mentored this work during the last four years. He kept us on schedule and served as the harbormaster as we brought the ship into port. Kim Peters stepped ably into the role of Chief Scientist and helped see this work to completion.

Financial support for this work came from Foundation M, The Saquish Foundation, Susan Lisowski Sloan, the contributors to Mass Audubon’s Preserving a Commonwealth of Birds campaign, all of our Bird-a-thon supporters, and the members of Mass Audubon. Thank you.

The Mass Audubon IT staff were with us from the earliest days of the project, and designed and launched the Atlas 1 website, as well as the site that shared the handbook with the volunteers, the State of the Birds 2011 and 2013 websites, and the Atlas 2 final results website. Matthew Smith helped us in many small and very large tasks, always making the path easier to tread. Michael P. O'Connor, and the entire Marketing Staff at Mass Audubon, helped us to hone our craft and present the best final report we could. Henry Tepper, President of Mass Audubon, supported us as we brought this project to completion, and it is fair to say that without the kindness and organization of Elaine Kile at Mass Audubon this would have been much more difficult. Our regular meetings at the Brewster House lunch table often helped us to resolve challenges in day-to-day project management.

Our colleagues at the state of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, specifically Tom French, Chris Buelow, Scott Melvin, and Carolyn Mostello, worked with us to streamline the work and facilitate data sharing. These individuals and their colleagues do a tremendous job to help defend the rare species in the state, and we recognize their contribution. Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program also shared data with us and added their expertise to this work.

Breeding Bird Atlases often use materials from sister projects from nearby states or provinces. In the infancy of this work Rosalind Renfrew from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies generously shared documents and materials with us, and greatly shortened our launch time. Our colleagues in other atlases around the world, working through the North American Atlasing Committee, also helped throughout the project.

Many bird clubs from around the state actively recruited Atlasers, and organized “block busting” trips to cover areas that otherwise would not have been covered. Thanks goes to the Athol Bird and Nature Club, Forbush Bird Club, Paskamansett Bird Club, Hoffman Bird Club, Hampshire Bird Club, Essex County Ornithological Club, Allen Bird Club, Menotomy Bird Club, South Shore Bird Club, Cape Cod Bird Club, and Brookline Bird Club.

During the design phase of the BBA2, we were approached by the USGS with the idea of using their data collection portal, the BBA Manager, for our project. They built a module that supported the Massachusetts work, and went beyond that to help make this work a success. Mark Wimer, Naoko Griffin, and Allison Sussman get the credit for doing all of the heavy lifting to build the data-entry portal, the error-checking programs, the interim maps, and all other data-handling aspects of the data-entry phase. They also have become good friends, and approached this complex job with humor and grace.

There are hundreds of landowners—private, town, state, and federal—across the Commonwealth who gave Atlasers access to their property. This work would have suffered without their cooperation and we thank them.

Jeff Collins and James DeNormandie helped automate the production of the maps. Most images used are from the Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art’s collection, and many are repurposed from Atlas 1. Thanks are due to John Sill and Barry Van Dusen for their beautiful paintings, and to David Sibley for filling in the artwork gaps. Thanks go to Amy Montague, Director of the museum, for making the images available.

The species accounts were edited by Wayne Petersen and Ann Prince, and were improved by their comments. Ann Prince line-edited the entire document, a herculean task, and we thank her for her expertise and passionate commitment to conservation.

E-book layout and design was by Scott & Nix. This is the first time a Breeding Bird Atlas is presented as an e-book, and it opens the door to get this information into more hands at a fraction of the cost of a printed book.

Both Matthew Kamm and Margo Servison began work on this project as interns, morphed into employees, and influenced the work greatly. They deserve much of the credit for the final report. Jessica Harold, Martine Wong, Ben Rifkin, and Evan Sibley also served as interns on the project and helped enhance the final report.

The field volunteers for the project, listed below, did all of the fieldwork. They took on a massive task that stretched on for years, they printed forms and maps, plotted routes, drove to their field sites before dawn, talked to landowners, explained to law enforcement professionals exactly why they were out at dawn with binoculars, tracked down birds, recorded data, transcribed data, entered data, proofed data, then went out and did it again the next day and the next year. This is your work, you made a difference, and you built a benchmark in our ornithological literature that will be used forever.

The Regional Coordinators were the heart and soul of the project. They came on board early in the process, recruited volunteers, trained field workers, and responded to nearly endless queries. René Laubach (Berkshire County), Mary Alice Wilson (Franklin and Hampshire), Al and Lois Richardson (Hampden), Mark Lynch and Sheila Carroll (Worcester), Jim Berry (Essex), Marj Rines (Middlesex and Greater Boston), John Galluzzo (Plymouth and Bristol), Mary Keleher and Blair Nikula (Cape Cod), and Simon Perkins and John Liller (Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket) got the job done, and brought their expertise and humor to this project. Thank you.  

Space does not permit us to list everyone who helped make this project a success, and errors of omission are solely the responsibility of the editor. But to all of you who helped, thank you.