TOOLS: Follow the Birds

Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1881
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1881c

This mapmaker from the U.S. Geological Survey integrates land-use data with results from the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey, which for nearly 30 years has tallied avian numbers across the country (Netwatch, 28 September 2001, p. 2355). Designed to help conservation planners, the site lets users chart developed and agricultural acreage, vegetation types, wetlands, and other geographical information, along with more than 1000 bird survey routes. On this map of Texas and adjacent states, for example, blue and green denote areas with the highest amounts of grassland. You can click on bird survey paths to summon census data, or search for all the routes near a particular location. The tool also lets you glean historical trends for a route or region.

Hunting for more bird population databases and atlases? This site connects to a dozen others covering everything from waterfowl to the sage grouse.

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