A statement from our patron

I have had a life long interest in birds. They have brought joy to an increasing number of people around the world but especially in Canada. In recent years I have noticed an alarming decline in many species I once considered a common part of my world. Bird populations are of course the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The health of their populations relates to the health of humans. The Breeding Bird Atlas puts scientific muscle behind vague impressions. It also stimulates public awareness and even that sense of joy I had in my youth. — Robert Bateman, Patron of the Atlas. Photo by Birgit Freybe Bateman.

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The Canadian Intermountain Joint Venture (CIJV) Management Board recognises that the Atlas will provide a critical foundation to bird conservation in British Columbia, and unanimously endorsed the project at their Board Meeting on 20 November 2007.

British Columbia is an important part of the Pacific Coast Joint Venture. The BC Breeding Bird Atlas will provide much needed information for conservation planning. The PCJV Management Board fully supports this effort." - Tom Dwyer, US Co-Chair of the Pacific Coast Joint Venture.

Contact us
BC Breeding Bird Atlas
Bird Studies Canada
5421 Robertson Road
Delta, BC V4K 3N2

Welcome to the British Columbia
Breeding Bird Atlas!

Following five years of bird surveys by over 1000 participants, 54,000 observation hours, and covering nearly 450,000 square kilometers - about half of British Columbia's rugged terrain - the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas is nearing completion! Volunteer birdwatchers and professional biologists contributed +597,000 and breeding observations from locations throughout the province. Over 300 species of birds breed each year in B.C. - more than any other province in Canada. Sixty five species breed nowhere else in Canada and for several other species, B.C. holds the majority of the world population. Our province therefore plays a pivotal role in Canada's bird conservation efforts.

The mapping and account writing are now underway. Bird Studies Canada's data specialists are compiling and analyzing the huge quantities of bird records collected. Once all the data has been fully collated, reviewed, and entered, a series of maps for all the province's bird species will be compiled. One set of maps will show the presence of birds within the Atlas squares, while the second set will show the probability of occurrence of the species based on point counts and habitat suitability.

Latest news from the atlas

04 July 2014: Online Publication of the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas

Dear B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas Community

The B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas Steering Committee is prioritising publication of the Atlas online. This is both exciting and disappointing. It is exciting because it will be the most comprehensive online atlas that we are aware of anywhere in the world, including features that could not be published in a book, in an attractive, high quality, free and publicly available web form. It is disappointing because there is a high likelihood that we will be unable to publish an Atlas book, as we had originally anticipated. We sincerely apologise that we will likely not meet the expectations of all those (including ourselves) looking forward to a book. The reasons for this are financial and practical:

- In April-May 2014, we widely distributed a survey to assess the demand for a large format ?classic Atlas? book at two price points ($100 and $150). Thanks to all of you who participated. The results were: 425 of 756 respondents were willing to buy a book at $100, and 193 of 744 respondents were prepared to pay $150 for a book. In order to break even financially, we estimate needing to sell a minimum of 1,200 copies at $100.

- Relatively low interest in a book was shown by Atlas participants responding to the survey. Of 338 atlassers who responded (from a total 1,250 registered on the project), only 212 indicated that they would buy a book at the $100 price point.

- Bird Studies Canada, the organisation that coordinates and manages the project under the Steering Committee?s guidance, is not able to take on the financial risk of up to $100,000 to publish a book.

- There is little or no interest in the government/corporate/foundation donor community for funding a book, but high interest in online publication, from timing, financial and application perspectives.

- A goal of the project is to make the information as widely and rapidly available as possible; publication through the web is the most efficient way of achieving that goal.

When we embarked on this project, we fully expected to be publishing a book at the end of it, just like (almost) every other Atlas that has gone before ours. That was seven years ago, since when we have witnessed huge changes in the publishing industry and the way people are receiving information. We are all disappointed at the prospect of not producing a book at the end of British Columbia?s first Breeding Bird Atlas. We hope that being at the cutting edge of change, and publishing a benchmark online Atlas, may in time go some way to compensating for the lack of a hard copy publication.

We will be providing a tool to PDF, download and print off all of the individual species accounts at least. For those of you without internet connections, or with slow speed internet connections, we will provide electronic copies of the species accounts and other material (e.g. on CD/DVD). We will continue to pursue trying to fund a book, and also a bound print on demand option. Do please let us know if you know of anyone interested in funding a book (even if only partially).

Thank you for all of your support and important contributions to the Atlas ? we look forward to publishing and acknowledging each and every one of your contributions online in early 2015.

Yours sincerely

Dick Cannings, Chair

On behalf of the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas Steering Committee

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What is an Atlas

Mapping birds is quickly becoming a world-wide phenomenon. It is fun to participate of course, but the results are an invaluable foundation of information for conserving birds and their ecosystems. Not long ago, atlases were books of maps but more recently atlases have on-line versions that are interactive. The BC Breeding Bird Atlas will be on-line and we hope to have a book too. To find out more, click here.


From 2008-2012, over 1000 participants worked hard to put BC birds on the map! Data are already being put to use to better understand and conserve BC's birds. Thank you to all our volunteers and regional coordinators who made this project possible.

View species maps


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


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