Breeding Bird Survey - General Information

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is an avian survey designed to collect long-term data on the population status and trends of breeding birds throughout North America. It was initiated in 1966 in the United States by Chandler Robbins at the United States Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Tony Erskine was the first Canadian coordinator.

Today the BBS is coordinated in Canada by Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, and in the United States by the U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

The BBS is a volunteer survey. Close to 500 BBS routes are run by over 300 volunteers each year in Canada while more than 2300 routes are run in the U.S. Canadian participants run their routes between 28 May and 7 July. Volunteers are encouraged to run their routes during the peak of the breeding season, usually the first two weeks of June. The starting point and starting direction of routes are selected randomly in order to sample a range of habitats. Each participant runs his or her individual route for as many consecutive years as possible. Routes consist of 50 stops spaced 0.8 km apart along a 39.4-km route. Participants record the total number of individual bird species heard or seen within 0.4 km of each stop during a three-minute observation. Data on starting and finishing times, as well as weather conditions, are also recorded.

About Our Web Site

This web site is geared toward Canadian participants in the BBS. It provides some brief introductory material, Canadian instructions, and contact information for Canadian BBS coordinators. On this web site you have the ability to browse maps of Canadian BBS routes in your province and territory and look for available routes. We link to the the Breeding Bird Survey - Canadian Results Database, which provides the results of the analysis of Canadian BBS data. We hope you find this information useful.

Be sure to visit the BBS web site for North America in addition to ours! It is located on the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center site. It contains extensive information on the BBS, as well as functions that allow you to enter your BBS data over the Internet, download electronic copies of BBS data and BBS trend analyses, and so on.