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 Prince Edward Island. Since 2006, over 1,000 volunteers spent 49,000 hours combing the Maritimes in search of breeding birds, and now it is time to put that data to use!
Atlas Latest News
February 2013 - Advance pre-sale of the Atlas continues!
Book launch locations: Please note that
we have not made a final decision on the location of all our book
launches. We will hold them in major centers such as Halifax,
Moncton, and Charlottetown, but we may also hold launches in other
locations. We will let all purchasers know where the book
launches are to be held once the book is printed. There may
also be a number of books available for pick up at Bird Studies
Canada offices in Sackville NB and Port Rowan ON.
Revised book title: We have decided to
remove the dates (2006-2010) from the book title, as it appeared in
our Christmas pre-sale flyers. We were advised by those
involved with the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, that including the
years of field work in the title could quickly make the book seem
out of date. The Atlas will now be titled: “Second Atlas of
Breeding Birds of the Maritime Provinces”.
New data analyses and maps: We have
recently developed a new method of assessing the change in the
probability of observation of a species between the first and second
Maritimes Atlas periods. This new method provides us with a
map of an index of how species abundance has changed over the last
20 years. We have also used the same technique to produce new
abundance maps, which provide a more detailed picture about the
abundance of species in the region. We will now be able to
produce both types of maps (i.e. maps of species’ change and maps of
abundance) for a greater number of bird species detected. The
end result is an interesting new snapshot into population changes of
Maritime birds! Hooded Merganser Photo:
Glen A. Fox
November 2012 - Looking for a Holiday Gift for the Maritime Birder
on your List? Give a Gift Certificate for the Atlas!
Acknowledgements – Check
the spelling of your name for the Atlas
The second Maritimes Atlas is the most authoritative and up-to-date resource on birds in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and the largest citizen science project in the Maritime provinces. With over 200 photographs and 300 maps, the Atlas is destined to be a standard on the bookshelves of birdwatchers, naturalists, educators and resource professionals for years to come. Pre-order your copy now for $45 and save up to 30% on the anticipated retail price of $68.
20 February 2012 - Sneak Peak at Atlas Data Analyses
Although you don’t often hear from the Atlas office
these days, we are plugging away at analysing Atlas data in
preparation for the upcoming book. One of the more interesting – but
time consuming – of the recent analyses we have conducted is the
Habitat Association Analysis.
In the Maritimes, Blackpoll Warblers are most often associated with sapling balsam fir and black spruce often in industrial forests. Photo: Dan Busby
Here is how we did the analysis: First we compiled a list of every bird detected on a point count. Since each point count location was associated with a unique UTM co-ordinate, we could match the point count georeferences to spatial land cover and forest inventory data provided by the three provincial natural resource departments. By combining these two spatial data sets, we were able to generate a habitat description for each point count location, based on the set of habitat types, or variables, listed in the provincial land cover data.
This enabled us to describe each species’ habitat association based on the following habitat characteristics: 1) Forest Type (i.e., dominant tree species plus the age of the forest stand); 2) Forest Harvest Regime (e.g., clear cut, plantation, etc.); 3) Human Land Use (e.g., cultivated grassland, cropland, hedgerow, etc.); and, 4) Wetland Type (e.g., bog, fen, freshwater marsh, etc.). Although this sounds complicated, it can be more easily understood by looking at some of the graphs that our Editorial Assistant, Margaret Campbell has generated.
Eastern Wood-Pewees are most often associated with shade tolerant hardwood forests in the Maritimes. Photo: Ally Manthorne
Here is the graph for Eastern Wood-Pewee in the Maritimes (click here to see the provincial habitat graphs for Eastern Wood-Pewee). Major habitat classes are listed along the top of the graph, with more detailed habitat characteristics within the habitat class along the bottom of the graph. Each line in the dot graph represents the habitat association within circular areas, or buffers, of different sizes (50 – 1000m) around each point count location. Red dots indicate that there was a positive association between the species and that habitat type – in other words the species tends to be more frequently detected in that particular habitat. Blue dots indicate that the species-habitat association is negative, or, that the species is less frequently detected in that particular habitat. Darker dots (of either red or blue) indicate that the species-habitat association, or lack thereof, is stronger.
From the Eastern Wood-Pewee habitat graph it can
be seen that Eastern Wood-Pewee are most strongly associated with
mature shade tolerant hardwood forest, especially with older stands
of poplar and pine. It generally avoids young coniferous forests,
harvest regimes, human occupied areas and travel routes.
Here is the Blackpoll Warbler habitat graph for the Maritimes: (Click here to see the provincial habitat graphs). It shows (as you likely know!), that Blackpoll Warblers are strongly associated with sapling balsam fir as well as sapling and young black spruce stands. In addition, Blackpoll Warblers are found in clear cuts and industrial plantations that have undergone pre-harvest thinning.
The abundance map for Blackpoll Warbler nicely illustrates where Blackpoll Warbler typically occur in the Maritimes: at high elevations and in coastal landscapes throughout the region; habitats with a predominance of black spruce and balsam fir forests.
As you can see, we have been quiet but busy at Atlas headquarters
over the past while. We have also been analysing and mapping changes
in the probability of detection between the first and second
Atlases. All of these intriguing maps and graphs will be in the
upcoming book: stay tuned for our Maritimes Atlas pre-publication
sale sometime this spring! We are excited about the book, and with
this glimpse of what’s to come, we hope you are too!
TD Bank to support Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas Publication
“We are thrilled to support this great
initiative,” said Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of
the Environment Foundation. And the Atlas is thrilled to
have their support. Funding from TD FEF will go to the design and
layout of the Atlas publication and will reduce the cost of the book
for volunteers and other users.
"Maritimes Atlas: From Field to Print" in BirdWatch Canada
Conservation has gone Rusty! Read about it in BirdWatch:
Breeding Bird Atlases are coast to coast!