Bird Breeding Survey

Project Description
The BBS is a long-term, large-scale, international avian monitoring program initiated in 1966 to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the Canadian Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Research Center jointly coordinate the BBS program.

In the mid-twentieth century, the success of DDT as a pesticide ushered in a new era of synthetic chemical pest control. As pesticide use grew, concerns, as epitomized by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring, regarding their effects on wildlife began to surface. Local studies had attributed some bird kills to pesticides, but it was unclear how, or if, bird populations were being affected at regional or national levels. Responding to this concern, Chandler Robbins and colleagues at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center developed the North American Breeding Bird Survey to monitor bird populations over large geographic areas.

Although most concerns over pesticide use in North America have subsided in recent decades, bird populations continue to be subjected to numerous widespread threats including habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, land-use changes, and other chemical contaminants. Today, the BBS continues to monitor bird populations across North America and informs researchers and wildlife managers of significant changes in bird population levels. If significant declines are detected, their causes can then be identified and appropriate actions taken to reverse them before populations reach critically low levels.

This summary is taken from