North American Breeding Bird Survey

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The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the primary source for critical quantitative data to evaluate the status of continental bird species, keeping common birds common and helping fuel a $75 billion wildlife watching industry.  Each year thousands of citizen scientists skilled in avian identification collect data on BBS routes throughout North America allowing us to better understand bird population changes and manage them.  The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterEnvironment and Climate Change Canada, and the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity jointly coordinate the program, which provides reliable population data and trend analyses on more than 500 bird species.

Participate in the Survey - Each spring over 2500 skilled amateur birders and professional biologists volunteer to participate in the North American BBS. We are always looking for highly skilled birders to join the team.

Get Raw Data - Search and download raw data results

Strategic Plan for the North American Breeding Bird Survey, 2020–30 - The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) has been the cornerstone of continental bird conservation and management for hundreds of North American bird species in the United States and Canada for more than 50 years. This strategic plan was developed in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders and charts the ambitious course for the BBS over the next decade (2020–30). Using this plan as a guide, the BBS program will set out to improve the breadth and depth of standardized data collection and analytical products; ensure its products are widely used and recognized as the authoritative source for long-term population change information for most birds; and secure adequate resources, internally and through partnerships, to realize the expanded vision of the BBS intended to support avian management needs through 2030.

The BBS Action Plan - A companion document to the Strategic Plan for the North American Breeding Bird Survey: 2020-2030, the BBS Action Plan identifies 28 specific actions for the U.S. Geological Survey, Canadian Wildlife Service, Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity and other possible collaborators providing a road map and starting points for accomplishing the three goals and eight strategic objectives of the BBS Strategic Plan over the next decade. The action plan is a living document, subject to annual review and updates as tasks are accomplished and priorities change through time.

Evening Grosbeak with Trend Map

Evening Grosbeak with BBS Trend Map (Credit: Mikey Lutmerding, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Public domain.)




BBS Analysis - The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) Summary and Analysis Website provides summary information on population change for >500 species of North American birds.  The BBS provides data from 1966 for the contiguous United States and southern Canada (the “core” area), and the scope of inference expanded in 1993 to include additional regions in northern Canada and Alaska (the “expanded” area).  The website provides geographic displays and quantitative information on population trend (interval-specific yearly percentage changes) and annual indices of abundance for each species at several geographic scales, including survey-wide, states and Provinces, Bird Conservation Regions (physiographic strata), and for individual survey routes in the United States.  Custom analyses of population change allow of analysis of change for any combination of years over which the survey was conducted.

BBS Bird ID - The Bird Identification Infocenter is a collection of breeding and wintering distribution maps derived from North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count data.  Along with maps, images, song and call recordings, and life history information are provided for species encountered along BBS and CBC surveys.

Patuxent Bird Quiz - The Bird Identification Quiz was developed to allow users to test themselves on visual and aural identification of birds likely to be seen on North American Breeding Bird Surveys and Christmas Bird Counts.  We also include a quiz in which users get to test their knowledge of wintering and breeding distributions of North American Birds.




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