Thursday, August 7, 2008 - 1:30 PM

OOS 21-1: North American Breeding Bird Survey: 42 years strong and growing

David Ziolkowski Jr. and Keith L. Pardieck. US Geological Survey

Background/Question/Methods: Jointly coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) was established to monitor the status and trends of our nations’ bird populations. Since its inception in 1966, the BBS has grown from 600 roadside routes to more than 4100 roadside routes randomly dispersed throughout the continental U.S. and Canada, relying on a network of primarily volunteer participants, who sample approximately 3000 routes annually. Today the BBS serves as the foundation of non-game, landbird conservation in North America providing relative abundance and population trend estimates for over 400 bird species. These data are used, along with other indicators, by the USFWS, CWS, state agencies, Partners in Flight, and others to assess avian conservation priorities. Moreover, the BBS data set continues to demonstrate its diverse and lasting value to avian conservation and research through the many peer reviewed articles appearing annually in journals evaluating diverse and contemporary topics such as climate change, disease transmission, and migratory connectivity.
Results/Conclusions: In light of the demonstrated utility of the BBS, the USGS is taking steps to ensure that the program remains relevant for avian conservation well into the 21st century.   For example, we’ve outlined 13 objectives in the Strategic Plan for the North American Breeding Bird Survey: 2006-2010 for improving the BBS in decades to come, ranging from expanding the BBS into Mexico, in partnership with Mexico’s National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity, to addressing potential bias due to variation in detection probabilities, uneven habitat cover­age, and observer quality.