North American Breeding Bird Survey Routes


Identification_Information:
Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Department of the Interior; now at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Originator:Canadian Wildlife Service
Publication_Date:1966-present
Publication_Time:Annual updates
Title:
North American Breeding Bird Survey Routes
Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form:vector digital data
Other_Citation_Details:
Tabular data for these routes also available; this layer is the spatial component for the program.
Online_Linkage: http://mbirdims.fws.gov/nbii/file_dwnld.html
Online_Linkage: http://www.pasda.psu.edu/
Larger_Work_Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator:USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Originator:Canadian Wildlife Service
Publication_Date:1966-present
Publication_Time:Annually
Title:
North American Breeding Bird Survey
Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form:vector digital data
Publication_Information:
Publisher:USGS
Other_Citation_Details:
Updated annually in Spring with previous year's data
Online_Linkage: http://www.mp2-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/
Description:
Abstract:
The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), which is coordinated by the Biological Resources Division and Canadian Wildlife Service, is a primary source of population trend and distribution information for most species of North American birds. The BBS was initiated during 1966 by Chan Robbins and his associates at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to monitor the populations of all breeding bird species across the continental U.S., Canada, and Alaska. Approximately 2200 skilled observers participate in the survey each year. The BBS has accumulated 30  years of data on the abundance, distribution, and trends for more than 400 species of birds. These data are widely used by researchers, various  federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the general public. Analyses of BBS data by PWRC statisticians have been  instrumental in the development of innovative approaches for analyzing trends of wildlife populations. 
Purpose:
In the 1960's, chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides and similar poisons were widely used to control insect populations. Pesticide spraying not only killed insects but also killed birds, raising serious concerns over its effects on bird population trends. Unfortunately, no long-term regional or continental population data were available for most bird species, making it difficult for birders to demonstrate declines in bird populations. The Bird Breeding Survey has proven to be a valuable source of information on bird population trends. Robbins et al. (1986) provided the first continental relative abundance maps for various songbirds based on BBS data. When viewed at continental or regional scales, these maps provide a reasonably good indication of the relative abundance of species that are well sampled by the BBS. In addition, the BBS is a good source of information on temporal patterns in trends. Populations of permanent resident and short-distance migrant (birds wintering primarily in the U.S. and Canada) species may be adversely affected by episodes of unseasonal weather. The extent of any declines in a particular bird population is known after the data is analyzed. The BBS is also a good source of geographic patterns in trends. Few species have consistent trends across their entire ranges, so geographic patterns in trends are of considerable interest to anyone concerned with the status of the continent's birds. With the use of a Geographic Information System, route-specific trends are smoothed to produce geographic patterns that are not based on political boundaries or physiographic strata. These analyses allow identification of regions of increase and decline. Once these regions have been pinpointed, researchers can undertake studies that will allow them to identify the factors responsible for the population trends.
Time_Period_of_Content:
Time_Period_Information:
Range_of_Dates/Times:
Beginning_Date:1966
Ending_Date:present
Currentness_Reference:
Up to date for previous year's data
Status:
Progress:Complete
Maintenance_and_Update_Frequency:Annually
Spatial_Domain:
Bounding_Coordinates:
West_Bounding_Coordinate:-176.667206
East_Bounding_Coordinate:-52.677616
North_Bounding_Coordinate:69.155037
South_Bounding_Coordinate:24.589844
Keywords:
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus:ISO 19115 Topic Categories
Theme_Keyword:population change
Theme_Keyword:trends
Theme_Keyword:surveys
Theme_Keyword:route-regression
Theme_Keyword:relative abundance
Theme_Keyword:population trend
Theme_Keyword:population change
Theme_Keyword:estimating equation
Theme_Keyword:distribution
Theme_Keyword:bird counts
Theme_Keyword:breeding bird survey
Theme_Keyword:breeding birds
Theme_Keyword:abundance
Theme_Keyword:biota
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus:GCMD parameter keywords
Theme_Keyword:EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > POPULATION DYNAMICS
Theme_Keyword:EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ZOOLOGY > BIRDS
Theme_Keyword:EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > ABUNDANCE > Relative Abundance
Theme_Keyword:EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > ABUNDANCE > Species Abundance
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus:none
Place_Keyword:North America
Place_Keyword:Alaska
Place_Keyword:Canada
Place_Keyword:Mexico
Place_Keyword:United Status
Access_Constraints:Use the online BBS application to download any raw data, or contact Keith Pardieck of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Breeding Bird Office to acquire raw data. All of the trend information can be retrieved from BBS web site: http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/
Use_Constraints:
None
Point_of_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person:Keith Pardieck
Contact_Organization:USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Contact_Position:BBS Coordinator
Contact_Address:
Address_Type:mailing address
Address:
12100 Beech Forest Road
City:Laurel
State_or_Province:MD
Postal_Code:20708-4038
Country:USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone:301-497-5843
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address:kpardieck@usgs.gov
Security_Information:
Security_Classification:Unclassified
Native_Data_Set_Environment:
Microsoft Windows 2000 Version 5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 1; ESRI ArcCatalog 8.3.0.800
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Data_Quality_Information:
Attribute_Accuracy:
Attribute_Accuracy_Report:
In the early years, the data set had 500-600 routes. There are now more than 3000 routes. These routes are checked manually and computer edits performed. However, when there were only 500 routes, this was easier to accomplish. The computer performs edits for computational errors, species range errors. Print outs are sent back to original observer to verify. 

Many patterns occur in geographic coverage of the BBS. Some patterns occur as a consequence of logistics. BBS routes near human population centers tend to be consistently surveyed but remote routes are not surveyed every year, which causes regional variation in the efficiency of the survey (Robbins et al. 1986). Although all States and Provinces vary in coverage over time, some consistent regional patterns occur in BBS coverage.
Coverage in the Northeastern United States (excluding ME) is most extensive, with the highest density of BBS routes (up to 16 per degree block of
latitude and longitude) occurring in MD, DE, and NJ (See also Table 1). Routes are much less densely distributed elsewhere with maxima of 4-5 routes
/ degree block in a number of states while NV and portions of some Canadian Provinces have a minimum of 1 route degree block. Route densities are less than 1 route / degree block only in arctic and boreal regions. In Canada, the BBS is largely restricted to the south, and our summary maps truncate the range of each species to indicate the region with sufficient BBS data. 

Superimposed on the regional variation in route densities is temporal variation in the number of routes run in many states. Most states show a general pattern of increasing routes over time. In some cases, this pattern is extreme, with states such as ME having few routes until the early 1970's, when numbers started to increase. Some states (e.g., UT) have had consistently low numbers of routes over most of the survey period, while other states (VT, SC, SD) have had periods when the number of routes decreased. For some States and Provinces (e.g., Alaska, Yukon, PEI and NFD), the few years routes were run clearly invalidates any trend analyses from the data. 

Efficiency of the BBS Sample 

Overall sampling efficiency of the BBS for each bird species by examining sampling attributes over the entire range of the BBS, and categorized them as (1) not sampled by the BBS, (2) small sample-size, (3) highly variable, or (4) low relative abundance. Possession of one of these attributes does not necessarily eliminate the species from trend analyses. These species can be well surveyed by the BBS within portions of their breeding range or during certain time periods. However, long-term regional or survey-wide trend estimates for these species should be used with caution. Numbers presented
below were taken from an unpublished manuscript by Sauer and Droege, and use trend data from 1966 - 1990. 

The Species not sampled by the BBS-North American bird species that were seen on no more than 1 BBS route fall into broad categories of northern breeders (note that Alaskan BBS routes are not included in standard BBS analyses), tropical or Mexican resident species, pelagic or coastal species, accidental species, and exotics. 

Small sample-size species-These species have trend estimates with fewer than 14 degrees of freedom, which means that ([number of routes] - [number of strata within states in which the species occurred] < 14). The 99 species seen on few routes of the BBS fall into several general categories, most of which are related to breeding ranges or habitats of the species. Many northern-breeding species and coastal colonial species are seen on some BBS routes, but must be considered accidental occurrences on the BBS. Many tropical and Mexican species are seen on routes in southern Florida and near the Mexican border. Several species of owls and species with northern ranges are only infrequently recorded on BBS routes. 

Although some species listed by or under review for Endangered Species status are occasionally detected on BBS routes, the BBS provides little information of use for evaluating their population status. None of the BBS guilds contain a high proportion of species with extremely low sample sizes, and overall, 20% of all species seen on BBS routes are sampled with < 14 degrees of freedom. 

Highly variable species-Eighty-four species had trends with large variances. Several heron species, many duck species, waterbirds, a few species with northern breeding ranges, several warblers, some sparrow species, and some blackbirds occur in this list, among other species. These species can be characterized as birds with specialized habitats or limited distributions in the BBS range, spruce-budworm species, or colonial nesting species. Overall,
22% of the species in the survey were in this category, with hunted species, coniferous forest nesting species, waterfowl, and wetland nesting species guilds having > 22% of their species with high variances. 

Low relative abundance species - Ninety-five species had rangewide average counts of < 0.5 birds/route in the BBS. This list has similar species categories as the highly variable and low sample size lists, including the widely distributed nocturnal birds, rails, hawks, ducks, and species whose breeding ranges only partially overlap with regions surveyed by the BBS. Several species that are widely distributed but sampled at low numbers on the BBS occur in this list, such as Wood Ducks, American Woodcock, and Great Horned Owl. Overall, 20 % of the species contained in the BBS data had low relative abundances, and the only guilds with 20 % of species in this category were the hunted and primary cavity nesting guilds. 

Overall, 204 (41%) of the 504 species we analyzed for 25-year trends were in at least one of the categories. The guild with the lowest proportion of species in the lists was urban species (8%), while hunted, wetland nesting, and waterfowl guilds had > 41% of their species in 1 of the 3 categories. 

Biases in BBS analyses 

Other potential biases in the BBS cannot be documented from analysis of the survey. These biases were discussed in the publication (Bystrak 1981,
Droege 1990), and we will only mention them here to remind BBS users of the potential problems. They include: 

Proportion of range in the survey area-All BBS analyses incorporate data only from BBS routes. Analysis of survey data cannot tell us the proportion of the individuals in a species that breed outside the range of the survey. Species that are recorded only on the margins of the surveyed area are often of low sample size or variable, but many species (e.g., Canada Goose) may have substantial populations within the survey area. Trends are always specific to the areas surveyed. 

Roadside biases-The BBS is a roadside survey, and a major criticism of the survey has been that habitat changes along roadsides may not be representative of regional habitat changes. Trends from the BBS may therefore reflect only populations along roads rather than regional bird population changes. 

Habitat biases-Within the range of the BBS, many habitats are not well covered, and species that specialize in those habitats are poorly sampled. Wetland birds and species occupying alpine tundra habitats are examples of groups thought to be poorly represented in the survey. 

Even with all of the sampling and other biases discussed above, the BBS represents a unique attempt at a survey of breeding populations of birds in North America. Enormous amounts of data have been collected that provide the only information on regional population trends and breeding distributions of birds. The challenge for the future is to maintain and augment survey effort, and to identify and minimize deficiencies in the survey. 
Logical_Consistency_Report:
not-applicable
Completeness_Report:
Continental U.S., Canada, & Alaska, with spotty coverage in Alaska and northern half of Canada. 
After experimental surveys were conducted in Maryland and Delaware in 1965, the BBS has expanded to cover the continental United States and southern Canada. The survey was initiated in different years in different parts of its range. BBS routes were run only on routes in the United States east of the Mississippi River and in Quebec and the maritime provinces of Canada in 1966. In 1967, the BBS extended to the Central United States, with a few routes in Ontario and Manitoba. By 1968, all of the continental United States was covered, and routes were run across southern Canada. Routes in Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Territories were added during the early 1980s. 
Positional_Accuracy:
Horizontal_Positional_Accuracy:
Horizontal_Positional_Accuracy_Report:
Rules of the survey indicate that observers should conduct surveys within +/- 0.1 mi. from the prescribed stop; stops may also be moved over time. Further, survey includes a 400m radius. Therefore, exact locations of birds surveyed should not be inferred within approximately 500 meters of a survey stop location. See methodology section for more information.
Lineage:
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Dataset copied.
Source_Used_Citation_Abbreviation:
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Process_Description:
Dataset copied.
Source_Used_Citation_Abbreviation:
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Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Dataset copied.
Source_Used_Citation_Abbreviation:
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Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Dataset copied.
Source_Used_Citation_Abbreviation:
Server=164.159.212.111; Service=port:5151; Database=avian; User=avian; Version=SDE.DEFAULT
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Spatial_Data_Organization_Information:
Indirect_Spatial_Reference_Method:
Based on local reference names
Direct_Spatial_Reference_Method:Vector
Point_and_Vector_Object_Information:
SDTS_Terms_Description:
SDTS_Point_and_Vector_Object_Type:String
Point_and_Vector_Object_Count:5421
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Spatial_Reference_Information:
Horizontal_Coordinate_System_Definition:
Geographic:
Latitude_Resolution:0.000000
Longitude_Resolution:0.000000
Geographic_Coordinate_Units:Decimal degrees
Geodetic_Model:
Horizontal_Datum_Name:North American Datum of 1983
Ellipsoid_Name:Geodetic Reference System 80
Semi-major_Axis:6378137.000000
Denominator_of_Flattening_Ratio:298.257222
Vertical_Coordinate_System_Definition:
Altitude_System_Definition:
Altitude_Resolution:1.000000
Altitude_Encoding_Method:Explicit elevation coordinate included with horizontal coordinates
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Entity_and_Attribute_Information:
Detailed_Description:
Entity_Type:
Entity_Type_Label:Breeding Bird Survey Route
Entity_Type_Definition:
Surveys conducted along 24.5 mi. routes with 50 bird point counts; most attributes are in joined tables
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:OBJECTID
Attribute_Definition:
Internal feature number.
Attribute_Definition_Source:
ESRI
Attribute_Domain_Values:
Unrepresentable_Domain:
Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:FNODE_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:TNODE_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:LPOLY_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:RPOLY_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:LENGTH
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:BBS_ROUTE_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:ROUTE_
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:ROUTENAME
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:ACTIVE
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:STRATUM
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:BCR_REGION
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:ASSIGN2001
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:SOURCETHM
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:Shape
Attribute_Definition:
Feature geometry.
Attribute_Definition_Source:
ESRI
Attribute_Domain_Values:
Unrepresentable_Domain:
Coordinates defining the features.
Attribute:
Attribute_Label:Shape.len
Overview_Description:
Entity_and_Attribute_Overview:
Breeding bird survey routes are surveyed annually (with some gaps) between 1966 and the present. Routes are digitized route paths. Attributes are bird counts conducted at stops along the routes.
Entity_and_Attribute_Detail_Citation:
See the Breeding Bird Survey website for full up-to-date information and citations. For population trend analysis from resulting data collected on these surveys, see http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/bbs.html 
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Distribution_Information:
Distributor:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person:Keith Pardieck
Contact_Organization:USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Contact_Address:
Address:
12100 Beech Forest Road 
City:Laurel
State_or_Province:Maryland
Postal_Code:20708-4038
Country:United States
Contact_Voice_Telephone:301-497-5843
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address:kpardieck@usgs.gov
Hours_of_Service:9-5 Eastern US Time
Contact Instructions:
Email is the preferred method of contact.
Resource_Description:Downloadable Data
Distribution_Liability:
Although the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data have undergone substantial editing and review prior to posting, not all errors or inaccuracies have been detected. Thus, BBS data should be regarded as provisional since subsequent reviews may result in significant revisions to the data. Data users are cautioned to consider carefully the provisional nature of the information before using it for decisions that concern personal or public safety or the conduct of business that involves substantial monetary or operational consequences. 

These data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, however no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. This disclaimer applies both to individual use of the data and aggregate use of the data. It is strongly recommended that these data are directly acquired from a USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center or Canadian Wildlife Service source, and not indirectly through other sources which may have changed the data in some way. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data retrieved from the North American Breeding Bird Survey data retrieval Internet site. 

Not all data available on this site meet the various methodological criteria of the BBS. Run type codes are used to distinguish between routes that meet BBS criteria and those that do not. Run type "1" is acceptable data; run type "0" is unacceptable data for BBS purposes. The run type codes for each route are available in the "weather data" file. See the Run Type link in the Help section for a more complete discussion of run type codes and their application. 

Information concerning the accuracy and appropriate uses of these data may be obtained from the U.S. or Canadian National BBS Coordinator. 

These data are the result of efforts by thousands of U.S. and Canadian BBS participants in the field, as well as, USGS and CWS researchers and managers. All publications based on these data should acknowledge all of these efforts. If a publication is based solely on the analysis of BBS data, we suggest that you involve the BBS office with the writing and/or review of the manuscript. We would also appreciate receiving a reprint or photocopy of any such article at the time of its publication.
Custom_Order_Process:
Custom data searches are available through the Breeding Bird Survey website, including full dataset downloads via ftp. Some data may be requested on CD if other means of data acquisition are not available.
Technical_Prerequisites:
Connection to the world wide web and ftp.
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Metadata_Reference_Information:
Metadata_Date:20100204
Metadata_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person:Bruce Peterjohn, Mark Wimer
Contact_Organization:USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Contact_Address:
Address_Type:mailing address
Address:
12100 Beech Forest Road
City:Laurel
State_or_Province:Maryland
Postal_Code:20708-4038
Country:USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone:301-497-5841 (Peterjohn)
Contact_Voice_Telephone:301-497-5596 (Wimer)
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address:bruce_peterjohn@usgs.gov
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address:mark_wimer@usgs.gov
Contact Instructions:
Preferred method of contact is email; contact Mark Wimer to update the metadata.
Metadata_Standard_Name:FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata
Metadata_Standard_Version:FGDC-STD-001-1998
Metadata_Time_Convention:local time
Metadata_Extensions:
Online_Linkage: http://www.esri.com/metadata/esriprof80.html
Profile_Name:ESRI Metadata Profile
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