FARMINGTON — Western Maine Audubon will open its spring program series by presenting a talk about the Maine Bird Atlas by Maine Audubon naturalist Doug Hitchcox at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the North Dining Hall, University of Maine at Farmington.

The goal of the Maine Bird Atlas is to document the current distribution of breeding birds in the state, with an interest in including wintering birds beginning 2018-19. The bulk of effort for the statewide five-year project will need to come from birder citizen-scientists reporting breeding activity observed in Maine birds whether surveying local blocks for five years or just report a chickadee visiting a birdhouse.

Hitchcox will discuss the purpose, goals and expected outcomes of the atlas and how to help.

A Maine native, Hitchcox grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. The year he graduated, he traveled to every corner of the state trying to observe as many species as possible in what is known as a “Big Year.” He ended the year having seen 314 species, a new record for Maine.

Throughout college, Hitchcox worked at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, running their store and leading walks and tours. He was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in 2013, a “dream job” for him. In his free time, Hitchcox is a Maine’s eBird reviewer, owner and moderator of the Maine-birds listserv, York County Audubon board member and secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

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