Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

2023 Release - North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset (1966 - 2022)

July 19, 2023

The 1966-2022 North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings). These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily in June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada. Routes are roughly 24.5 miles (39.2 km) long with counting locations placed at approximately half-mile (800-m) intervals, for a total of 50 stops. At each stop, a citizen scientist highly skilled in avian identification conducts a 3-minute point count, recording all birds seen within a quarter-mile (400-m) radius and all birds heard. Surveys begin 30 minutes before local sunrise and take approximately 5 hours to complete. Routes are surveyed once per year, with the total number of routes sampled per year growing over time; just over 500 routes were sampled in 1966, while in recent decades approximately 3000 routes have been sampled annually. No data are provided for 2020. BBS field activities were cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic and observers were directed to not sample routes. In addition to avian count data, this dataset also contains survey date, survey start and end times, start and end weather conditions, a unique observer identification number, route identification information, and route location information including country, state, and BCR, as well as geographic coordinates of route start point, and an indicator of run data quality.

Publication Year 2023
Title 2023 Release - North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset (1966 - 2022)
DOI 10.5066/P9GS9K64
Authors David Ziolkowski, Michael Lutmerding, Willow B English, Veronica I Aponte, Marie-Anne R. Hudson
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center at the Leetown Research Laboratory