Breeding Bird Atlas


Red-headed Woodpeckers by Allen Kurth

The Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas Project II is underway and needs volunteers. The project will update and refine the information collected during the first bird atlas project (1984-1989). In addition to basic information mapping the breeding ranges of all wild birds in Nebraska, this project will collect detailed data about the habitat used by each species. As with the first atlas project volunteer field workers are planning to collect data for the next 5 years. The end result will be publication of an atlas, with individual maps showing the current breeding distribution.

The atlas published at the end of the first project was used by federal, state and non-governmental agencies to develop management plans for the wildlife of Nebraska. It was used during the development of the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. Stated goals of the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project include: reversing the decline of threatened, endangered and other at-risk species; and keeping common species common. It is also useful for anyone with an interest in our birds.

To accomplish the goals of the project, the volunteer workers will survey the 520+ priority blocks scattered across the state. Each block is a quarter of a township - 3 X 3 miles. The workers will visit the blocks at various times during the breeding season to develop a list of the species that breed in each block.

During the first project, more than 125 observers drove more than 75,000 miles and logged nearly 6000 hours of observer time to complete the project. Those numbers will probably be exceeded this time around, despite the current gas prices.

The first project (1984-1989) was the first systematic, statewide attempt to map the breeding ranges of our birds. Since that time noteworthy changes have occurred. Bald eagles, which built only one nest in the state during the first project, now breed nearly statewide. House finches and great-tailed grackles have increased their ranges as well. Eurasian collared-doves, never seen in Nebraska until the late 1990s, are now found throughout the state. The list of changes goes on, with the extent of change unknown until completion of the project.

The project is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, with funding by the Nebraska State Wildlife Grant and matching funding by the co-sponsors.

PDF  Download the Field Card

Visit the Nebraska BBA site

For more information about the Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas, contact coordinator Wayne Mollhoff through our Leadership Page.