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The North American Breeding Bird Survey 1966–2011: Summary analysis and species accounts

November 1, 2013

The North American Breeding Bird Survey is a roadside, count-based survey conducted by volunteer observers. Begun in 1966, it now is a primary source of information on spatial and temporal patterns of population change for North American birds. We analyze population change for states, provinces, Bird Conservation Regions, and the entire survey within the contiguous United States and southern Canada for 426 species using a hierarchical log-linear model that controls for observer effects in counting. We also map relative abundance and population change for each species using a spatial smoothing of data at the scale of survey routes. We present results in accounts that describe major breeding habitats, migratory status, conservation status, and population trends for each species at several geographic scales. We also present composite results for groups of species categorized by habitats and migratory status. The survey varies greatly among species in percentage of species' range covered and precision of results, but consistent patterns of decline occur among eastern forest, grassland, and aridland obligate birds while generalist bird species are increasing.