Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Breeding Bird Atlas

In answer to Beckie's request for more of an explanation as to what is a Breeding Bird Atlas. The following I copied from the BBA website which you can read more of if you go here.

"Breeding Bird Atlas is a population survey project designed to cover large geographic areas using a grid based system and is generally organized at the state or provincial level. Each participant in the project referred to as an observer or 'atlaser', is assigned one or more blocs (grid cells) in which to conduct extnesive area searches. They record any breeding evidence observed for each bird species. This evidence is categorized as "confirmed", "Probable" or "Possible". The results can be mapped and will then provide comprehensive information about the distribution of breeding birds in the region covered. "

This map below shows an overall view of where the Atlases have been done in the past. I took this map from the site mentioned above so you can see some of the area. It is abig project to say the least.
So in essence my Dearly Beloved and I have 10 blocks here in Knox County that we are searching for evidence of breeding birds. Each block is apporximately 10 square miles. Unfortunately 10 blocs are too many for two people. We have one lady that helps us with one bloc. She is the only other birder in our county that we know.

This study is for 5 years. Believe me it will take all those years for us to try to throughly go over so many blocs. The first year I had a retired friend that helped me. She is not a birder but had the time and patience to go out with me whenever it was possible for us both to get out. Since my DB retired he has taken a great interest and goes with me. My DB did this 20 years ago with a good friend. They were young and had good hearing which helps with identification of birds in the field. It is interesing to see what changes in the habitat he has noticed in the blocs and of course how the diversity of birds breeding have changed.

I am the Coordinator for Knox County which means I must compile all our findings and enter them into the system for the project.
This Double crested Cormorant nest would be labled as "NE", nest with eggs, and considered a "confirmed" sighting.

Canada also does this so if any of you people out there see that your state or province is being atlased and are interested in helping with such a project you can go on the website and find who to contact in your area. Believe me I am sure they would appreciate the help.

So Beckie, I hope this answers your question. Of course this does not include our recreational birding. We report any sighting out of the ordinary no matter where we see it.

I hope you all didn't go to sleep on this one. As much as many of you report on your blogs about birds I was hopeful that you might find it interesting. Good birding to all.


  1. This was facinating. I'm not a birder, but I can imagine this a huge task!

  2. Kudoos to you (& the DB)for your hard work!

    Thanks for the post and the link!

    The resulting data must be very interesting! Quite the project!

  3. No snoozing just taking it all in!


  4. Lisa, thank you for the explanation. I find the reporting of birds fascinating. How wonderful that you and DB devote your time to such a great project. I see In. is one of the completed states so there must be a lot of bird lovers out there. I think the end results will be VERY interesting, and I imagine you will understand it better than most.

  5. This is a wonderful review of the BBA and I can't wait for the NYS Atlas to come out. I hope it comes out by this fall!

  6. I think this is what we did a couple years ago. We had a large area we drove around, at dusk, listening to whatever night birds there were. So, so sadly, there were no whip-poor-wills.

  7. It certainly sound like an large project, but one that will produce valuable data.


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