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BirdMap - a source of information on bird distributions and movements

Information on bird distributions is valuable for bird conservation. It can help to inform land-use planning and environmental impact assessment, can help to identify gaps in research and monitoring needs, and can inform birders and naturalists what species they might expect in an area. Information on migration routes is also important to determine connectivity -- where do the birds from different parts of Canada migrate, and which of these areas are particularly important for their conservation.  

Many different sources of bird distribution data exist, including quantitative surveys, nest records, museum records, casual observations, banding records and range maps. Such data are gathered by many different organizations and individuals, and stored in a wide variety of formats. .

BirdMap has been developed to start bringing together some of these sources of information onto a single site where the results can be compared and contrasted, and overlaid with information relevant to planning, such as Bird Conservation Regions and Important Bird Areas. The initial version focuses on several of the major quantitative bird surveys in Canada:

  • Breeding Bird Survey, which provides quantitative information on where species were found in the breeding season
  • Christmas Bird Counts which provide information on the distribution of species in winter
  • Range maps, which provide a broad picture of where particular species might be expected
  • Band Recovery data that provide information on movements of birds among areas

To launch the interactive map, click here

To launch the interactive map in full screen mode*, click here
(* please disable pop-up blockers, e.g., IE, Firefox, Google, Yahoo, Norton, etc.)


In time, we hope to expand this site in two major directions:
  • incorporation of additional sources of data on bird distributions, as they become available, such as regional surveys, Breeding Bird Atlasses, museum records, nest records, casual observations and checklists
  • more analysis of data, such as mapping groups of species, mapping relative abundance, or estimating species diversity

Project Information and Acknowledgements:

This initial version of BirdMap has been developed through a partnership between Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Information System for the Environment (CISE), the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), and the Miistakis Institute for the Rockies, in cooperation with many other institutions that house data on Canadian birds.  Several of the datasets portrayed in this application are also available as OGC web services - click here for details.

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