Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (U of MN)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
University of Minnesota - NRRI
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2010
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 05d2
Appropriation Language

$270,000 is from the trust fund to develop 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, $169,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Audubon Minnesota and $101,000 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.

2009 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

Overall Project Outcome and Results
This project is the first two-years of an anticipated six-year effort in the development of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas - the first-ever comprehensive survey of Minnesota's breeding birds. The overall project is divided into two parts - 1) volunteer observations organized by Audubon Minnesota and 2) systematic surveys of Minnesota's breeding birds organized by the University of Minnesota (summarized here). Because of the vastness of Minnesota, both of these efforts are necessary and complementary. Objectives of this portion of the project were to gain uniform statewide coverage for all of Minnesota's birds, estimate breeding bird populations by habitat type, and contribute to a nationwide network of bird atlases in the United States. The first two years of this project focused on the experimental design to sample all townships in Minnesota over a five-year period, an interactive data entry system, data gathering using standard 10-minute point counts, and a brief data summary. Data gathering was primarily completed by graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. All were required to pass a test of 80 bird songs, verify their hearing ability, and participated in field standardization exercises.

Over the two breeding seasons (2009 and 2010) covered by this project, the target of 40% of Minnesota townships (>920) was sampled. We observed over 200 species of birds and counted over 78,000 individual birds during the first two years of these efforts in over 950 townships and in over 2800 individual point counts. In addition, all bird censusers contributed thousands of observations to the volunteer data base in the complementary study organized by Audubon Minnesota, including over 4,000 probable or confirmed breeding records for Minnesota birds. Over 98 % of the data gathered in 2009 and 2010 have been entered and error checked.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
These data will be downloaded to the Minnesota breeding bird atlas during the fall of 2010 through the Cornell University interface. All of these data will be incorporated into a comprehensive atlas of Minnesota's breeding birds that will be used as 1) a first-ever baseline on the current population status of this important Minnesota resource, 2) critical information for future conservation planning, and 3) as a guide for such activities as identifying important bird areas or for nature-based tourism activities.

For more information, visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn/all_projects/2008_projects.html.

Project Details