Big Atlas Weekend – June 21-28, 2023

Get ready for the Big Atlas Weekend!  This exciting annual event is a fun way for birders from across the province to document breeding birds and come together as a birding community. For many birds in our area, breeding peaks in late June. It’s a great time to confirm breeding and fill gaps in the Atlas dataset.

This event is being coordinated across the four US states and two Canadian provinces currently conducting breeding bird atlases: Newfoundland, Ontario, New York, Maine, Maryland and DC, and North Carolina.


  • June 21 @ 6 pm EDT – Kickoff. Introduction by the participating Atlas coordinators, followed by trivia! [Register here]
  • June 23-25 – Big Atlas Weekend! Go atlassing in any of the six participating states/provinces from 6 pm EDT on Friday to 11:59 pm EDT on Sunday.
  • June 28 @ 6 pm EDT – Awards ceremony. Enjoy highlights from the weekend, share your stories in small groups with atlassers from all states/provinces, and find out who won the individual and state/provincial champion awards. [Register here]

How to Participate

Joining the fun is easy! All you need to do is go atlassing between 6:00 pm NDT Friday, June 23 and 11:59 pm NDT Sunday, June 25 and submit your checklist through the NatureCounts App or Web Portal.

If you’re new to atlassing, check out the Atlassing 101 and Data Entry videos on the Tutorials and Bird ID Videos page!

Challenges and Prizes

The Big Atlas Weekend will have prize opportunities for atlassers of all skill levels, ranging from first-timers to veterans. One prize winner will be randomly selected in each of the following categories to win a Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Academy course of their choosing.

  • Complete Atlas checklist in a square you have not atlassed in before

  • Coded species (i.e., species with breeding evidence) that were not coded in that square before the Big Atlas Weekend

  • Complete Atlas checklist with at least one confirmed species

  • Complete Atlas checklist with nocturnal effort

    • A nocturnal checklists is one submitted between 20 minutes after sunset and 40 minutes before sunrise
  • Complete Atlas checklist with at least one coded rare/priority species

  • Complete Atlas checklist in an incomplete square

In addition, each region will be awarding an “MVP” award to an atlasser who makes an especially notable contribution over the weekend.

Inter-Atlas Competition

Just to make this event even more exciting, the Atlas team has set up a friendly competition between the six participating projects: Newfoundland, Ontario, New York, Maine, Maryland and DC, and North Carolina. The winning project will receive the Big Atlas Weekend trophy and have their state or province engraved on the side. Maine took it home last year; who will get it this year??

The winning region will be selected based on its rank in each of 3 inter-region challenges (standardized across regions by the number of atlassers). The region with the highest cumulative rank will become the overall winner of the Big Atlas Weekend – and recipient of the trophy!

The inter-atlas challenges are:

  • Nocturnal checklists
    • Number of nocturnal checklists submitted during the event in each region
  • Breeding codes
    • Total number of breeding codes submitted during the event in each region
  • New-to-user squares
    • Percent of atlassers in each region who submit an atlassing checklist during the event in a block they have not personally atlassed in before

Let’s all get out atlassing between June 23 and June 25 so that Newfoundland can claim bragging rights for the Big Atlas Weekend!

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