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New York State Breeding Bird Atlas

The Third Breeding Bird Atlas is Underway!

Osprey and chicks. Photo by Daniel Schlaepfer.

Birders of all backgrounds are invited to participate from 2020 to 2024. A Breeding Bird Atlas occurs every 20 years in New York. 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.

Visit the Third Atlas website (leaves DEC website) to learn more about the project and how to participate.

An Atlas of New York's Breeding Birds

The New York Breeding Bird Atlas is a statewide inventory of all the birds breeding in the state. The first Atlas was conducted from 1980-1985, the second from 2000-2005, and DEC is currently working with agency and conservation partners to conduct the third atlas from 2020-2024. Field work is conducted by dividing the state into small blocks (~9 miles2) within which volunteers record all the bird species using that area and document evidence of breeding.

The primary products of the Atlas are detailed maps of the distribution of breeding birds in the state. Birds are a good choice for conducting such a detailed survey because they are easy to observe, identifiable by many people, and serve as indicators of environmental health. The results of the third Atlas will allow us to detect distributional changes in New York's avifauna over the last 40 years.

Atlas Data Are Critical

Wood ducks. Photo by Daniel Schlaepfer.

Atlas data are proven to be among the most important tools for conservation and land management in the state. They provide critical information on where threatened and endangered species are breeding, which is invaluable for reviewing the impacts of proposed development projects like solar and wind farms. The distributional and change data are critical for determining which species are of conservation concern (e.g., Threatened and Endangered species) and knowing which areas should be protected or managed to support those species (e.g., Bird Conservation Areas).

Learn About Past Atlases.

See the Past Atlas Results Database.

DEC has a Breeding Bird Altas dataset for Google Maps and Google Earth that shows the location of the Atlas survey blocks in the New York State, a list of birds breeding in each block, and a map of the distribution for each species that breeds in New York.

For More Information, Contact:

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

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    Albany, NY 12233-4754
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