Welcome to the Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas

Birds can tell us a lot about the environment in which we live.  Because they are sensitive to environmental stressors and occupy terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats, knowing where birds are and what habitats they use can help us assess ecosystem health. 

The Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas is a volunteer-based project to determine the distribution and abundance of all bird species breeding in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and on Prince Edward Island.  From 2006 to 2010, over 1,000 volunteers spent 49,000 hours combing the Maritimes in search of breeding birds.  During that time they gathered over 263,350 individual bird records, including 4,700 records for species at risk.  Now it is time to put that data to good use. 

Over the next year we will finalize the  hard-copy Atlas publication and website which we hope to make available by late 2015.  In the interim, you can use this website to access data summaries and view distribution maps, and the complete data set can be downloaded at www.naturecounts.ca.   We will continue to post our progress below under the "Latest News" and will be sure to let you know when the hard-copy publication is available.

A big THANK-YOU to everyone who has already purchased an advance copy of the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of the Maritime Provinces. In doing so, you have supported the coordination of the writing and editing of the final publication, and will help to determine the size of the print run. Your ongoing support of the Atlas project is very much appreciated.

Photo: Jim Strohmer

Atlas Latest News

February 1st 2015

Dear Maritime Breeding Bird Atlas-Followers

Be assured we haven’t forgotten about you, or about the atlas! As you know, it has taken us significantly longer than anticipated to produce this complex publication; but BSC staff continue to work hard behind the scenes and we are nearing final publication. We have completed data analyses, mapping, texts for species accounts and chapters, external reviews, translation, and most of the copy-editing. Finalized layout and design of the species accounts, chapters, and cover have been approved. The French chapters are in the final stages of copy-editing and the last of the photos are being chosen (we are actually still missing 20 key habitat photos, please take a look at the list below* if you think you or someone you know might be able to help).

Over the next few months Goose Lane will finalize the book design and layout and provide us with proofs to review. After that is complete, the book goes to print. Ideally we’d like to have the book in your hands for spring migration but our best estimate is that book launch will happen in time for fall migration in 2015. Please check back soon for details about book launches in your area.

We sincerely apologize for the delay and for straining the patience of all our followers. A hearty thank you to all of those who have already supported the Atlas by pre-purchasing a copy. Your support has allowed us to make this happen. We will notify all of you when the publication is going to print – we all look forward to the day when we can spend the afternoon poring over a copy of this long-awaited and compelling book about our Maritime breeding birds.

*We are looking for habitat photographs, areas where the species is most likely to be observed in the Maritimes, for the following species: Redhead, Greater Scaup, Northern Bobwhite, Gray Partridge, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Wilson’s Phalarope, Chuck-will’s-widow, Whip-poor-will, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Tufted Titmouse, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark.

Please contact Laura Tranquilla (ltranquilla@birdscanada.org) for details.

Thank you!

August 9, 2013 - Progress towards final publication

Progress to date
First, we apologize, we significantly underestimated the time that it would take to write, edit and translate this complex publication, as well as to complete all maps and data analyses. As a consequence, our initial launch of the pre-sale a year ago was overly optimistic. However, we have made lots of progress. At present, species accounts have gone through several editing stages, and have now been sent to external reviewers. The methodology behind several analyses has been finalized, and we are very close to finalizing how those results will be presented in the book. The analyses and resulting maps will go beyond what has been previously published in other Canadian Atlases, and set a new standard for mapping abundance and comparing change between atlases. Several initial chapters have also been drafted.

Next steps
Over the next two to three months, we hope to finalize all species accounts and maps, plus draft remaining chapters explaining results and conservation implications. Once these tasks are complete, all contributing organizations, as well as the editors, will read through the final publication to ensure accuracy and consistency.

We plan to complete all writing and internal editing by the fall 2013, at which point the book will go for layout, design and English copy-editing. This process will take approximately 3 to 4 months. The book will then go to translation, followed by scientific review and French copy-editing. We expect this process to take 5 to 6 months in total, at which point the book will be ready to go to print. We hope to deliver it to you by late 2014.  Thank-you again to all of those who have already supported the Atlas by pre-purchasing a copy.  We are sure you won't be disappointed and, like you,  we are eagerly anticipating having the hard copy in our hands.

Thank-you to the many photographers who gave us permission to use their photos for Atlas publications and on the website. We really appreciate it!

Latest News Archives

Our Partners

Online maps available for every breeding species

The 1st Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas is available online!  Click the image below, or contact us for your copy.

Read Atlas-related features in Bird Studies Canada's quarterly magazine BirdWatch Canada:

Maritimes Atlas: From Field to Print

Completing the Maritimes Atlas

O Canada Warbler

Using atlases for conservation

Conservation has gone Rusty!


List of participants who contributed the most to data collection. For a complete list, click here.

Participant Total

Breeding Bird Atlases are coast to coast!



Our Supporters

The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species At Risk


THE harrison Mccain foundation


Mr. Harvey Gilmour NB SEEDS




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