Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (Audubon MN)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Audubon Minnesota
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
July 2010
End Date
June 2012
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2010, Chp. 362, Sec. 2, Subd. 03c1
Appropriation Language

$372,000 is from the trust fund to continue development of a statewide survey of Minnesota breeding bird distribution and create related publications, including a book and online atlas with distribution maps and breeding status. Of this appropriation, $211,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audubon Minnesota and $161,000 is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Natural Resources Research Institute. The atlas must be available for downloading on the Internet free of charge.

2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

A state Breeding Bird Atlas is a comprehensive systematic field survey of the occurrence, distribution, diversity, and breeding status of bird species within the state. Atlases are used to set conservation priorities, develop conservation plans, and guide habitat protection and restoration efforts. Minnesota is one of only seven states in the country that has yet to complete a Breeding Bird Atlas. Audubon Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota - Duluth will use this appropriation to continue development of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas and create related publications, including a book and online atlas with distribution maps, breeding status, and historical species information.


The Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas is a statewide survey of the breeding distribution of Minnesota's birds. The project combines efforts, coordinated by Audubon Minnesota, of volunteers and multiple partners to obtain detailed information on breeding status of Minnesota's birds, with systematic and habitat based abundance data, coordinated by the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The combination of these two efforts represents a powerful addition to understanding the distribution, relative abundance, and habitat use by Minnesota's breeding birds.

Over 800 volunteers have participated in the project and have reported over 22,000 hours of donated time. Twenty-nine individuals act as regional coordinators helping to recruit, train, and monitor volunteers. Our database has 207,000 observations on 245 species and confirmed breeding by 226 species around the state. Data has been reported from 5,596 blocks, including 2,166 priority blocks (there is one priority block per township) which gives us data from 92% of the state.

Final products will include a book and on-line atlas, including distribution maps, species breeding status, and conservation and historical information. Products will be available to the public as well as conservation agencies and organizations. Information gathered during this project is at the sub-township level and will provide spatial detail more compatible with contemporary remote sensing imagery available for vegetation, water, and development. Data will be useful to a wide variety of organizations including federal agencies, many state agencies such as the MN DNR and MPCA, county land management agencies, and both regional and local organizations to highlight tourism opportunities. Data will also be of great utility for use in agency decision-making regarding the dedicated funding legislation associated with land acquisition and water quality protection. These types of spatially-intensive data sets are essential to make wiser decisions about land use allocations for energy development, transportation networks, and other residential or industrial development.

The primary form of information dissemination to date has been through the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas website (mnbba.org). Because our data collection is not complete, and we have not subjected all of the data to quality control we have not made efforts to disseminate the information to a wider audience at this time but plan to do so in future efforts.

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Audubon Minnesota
Street Address
2357 Ventura Dr, Ste 106
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 739-9332