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Past Breeding Bird Atlas Data and Maps

Results of the First Two Atlases

atlas 2000 graphic

BBA Database - See species lists and distribution maps from the 1st Atlas (1980-1985) and 2nd Atlas (2000-2005) and see how the distribution of each species changed between the first two Atlases.

BBA Survey Blocks Maps on Google Earth - Download Google Earth Maps to view and identify Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) survey blocks and a list of birds breeding in each block.

For assistance using and downloading this data, review Using the Online Database (PDF) guidelines, which were prepared by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

About Past Atlases

A Breeding Bird Atlas occurs every 20 years in NY. The first Atlas took place from 1980 to 1985, the second from 2000 to 2005. The third Atlas will continue to improve our understanding of changes in the distribution of breeding birds in the state and provide the basis for more informed conservation and management of birds and their habitats.

Atlas 1: 1980-1985

In the first Atlas, over 4,300 volunteers submitted more than 361,595 observations of 242 species and three hybrids. This was the first time a detailed distribution map was available for some species, while it confirmed our understanding for others.

Ten species known to have previously bred in the state were not confirmed in the first Atlas:

  • Lesser Scaup
  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Rail
  • King Rail
  • Monk Parakeet
  • Bewick's Wren
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Wilson's Warbler
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Dickcissel

Five new breeders were documented:

  • Forster's Tern
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Boat-tailed Grackle

Citation: Andrle, R.F, and J.R. Carroll, eds. 1988. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. Cornell University Press. (Available from Buteo Books-leaves DEC website)

Atlas 2: 2000-2005

hawk sitting on fence post
2nd Breeding Bird Atlas book cover.

1,200 volunteers participated in the second Atlas and submitted over half a million (519,562) records. These intrepid volunteers documented 248 breeding species and 3 hybrids. Since this was the second Atlas in the state, we could look at the change in distribution of each species over the 20-year interval. About one quarter (28%) of species showed range expansion and one quarter (23%) reduced their range. We also lost a couple of rare breeders (Canvasback and Loggerhead Shrike), but we gained 6 more.

New species recorded in the second Atlas were:

  • Trumpeter Swan
  • Common Eider
  • Black Vulture
  • Merlin
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Wilson's Phalarope

Citation: McGowan, K. J., and K. Corwin, eds. 2008. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. Cornell University Press. (Available from Buteo Books-leaves DEC website)

The Second New York State Breeding Bird Atlas was a Cooperative Project of the Following Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The following links leave DEC website:

canada goose chicks in the grass
Canada goose chicks. Photo by Julie Hart.

Funding was provided by:

The following links leave DEC website:

For More Information, Contact:

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-4757
email us

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