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Grab Your Binoculars, Big Atlas Weekend is Coming

Join the North Carolina Bird Atlas for Big Atlas Weekend 2024 and participate in a statewide initiative to map breeding birds.

DURHAM, NC—Grab your binoculars, guide books, hiking boots, and best birding friend for a weekend of non-stop atlasing from June 28-30. North Carolina, along with states from New York to Puerto Rico, are participating in the fourth annual Big Atlas Weekend for birders of all skill levels to connect with the Atlas and win prizes. 

The North Carolina Bird Atlas is a state-wide community science initiative to map breeding and overwintering birds in our state so we can better understand resident birds and the habitats they need. We’re in the final two breeding seasons of the North Carolina Bird Atlas and we need your help to make them count. Last summer, 171 North Carolina atlasers participated in the weekend and spent 582 hours identifying 173 species, recording 12,575 breeding behaviors, averaging 7.4 checklists per person with a total of 1,192 checklists. Let’s submit more checklists this year! 

“The weekend gives us a significant amount of data for the atlas during one of the most important times of the year, the breeding season,” said Scott Anderson, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Science Support Coordinator. “We need as many birders as possible getting out to under-birded areas of the state and submitting checklists with breeding observations during Big Atlas Weekend and beyond.” 

The goal is to get birders to visit as many priority areas as possible to confirm what birds are breeding and where. There will be a virtual kick-off event on Wednesday June, 26 from 6-8pm, where participants will learn more about atlasing and the challenges for the weekend. Challenges and prize opportunities will span all skill levels from beginner to veteran atlasers. 

Participating is simple: start any time after Friday at 6pm, stop at least one minute before Midnight on Sunday, June 30, tag the North Carolina Bird Atlas when posting to Instagram and Facebook to inspire others.  

Here are this year’s challenges: 

  • Submit nocturnal checklists (between 20 minutes after sunset and 40 minutes before sunrise).
  • Submit a newly coded or upgraded species in a block. 
  • Submit atlas checklists in an incomplete block. Check the status of blocks here.  

Make sure to tag atlas-related photos on Facebook (@ncbirdatlas) and Instagram (@ncbirdatlas). The winners of each atlasing challenge will get a prize from Cornell’s Bird Academy. Eligible checklists must be complete and submitted to the North Carolina Bird Atlas portal in eBird between 6pm June 28 and 11:59pm June 30 ET.  

If you’re ready to take your birding skills to the next level, joining Big Atlas Weekend is a great way to start your journey with the North Carolina Bird Atlas. The most important thing is to add breeding behavior codes to your observations in eBird. More information about breeding codes, how to use the North Carolina breeding bird portal in eBird, and choosing where to atlas can be found here. 

Looking to get more involved in the weekend? Spread the word using our social media toolkit and don’t forget to tag @ncbirdatlas with your atlasing pictures and stories. 

Media Contact: Brittany Salmons,   

About Audubon North Carolina   

Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society, has offices in Durham, Boone, Corolla, and Wilmington. Learn more at and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

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