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North American Breeding Bird Survey

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North American Breeding Bird Survey American Goldfinch

Participating in the North American Breeding Bird Survey

Get Involved!
Each spring over 2500 skilled amateur birders and professional biologists volunteer to participate in the North American BBS. We are always looking for highly skilled birders to join the team. Meet some of the BBS crew and see their routes at the photogallery.
Requirements for participation are:
  1. Access to suitable transportation to complete a survey.
  2. Good hearing and eyesight.
  3. The ability to identify all breeding birds in the area by sight and sound. Knowledge of bird songs is extremely important, because most birds counted on these surveys are singing males.
  4. New BBS participants must also successfully complete the BBS Methodology Training Program before their data will be used in any BBS analyses. The training program is available from the national BBS offices and the state, provincial, and territorial coordinators.

If you meet the first 3 criteria and would like to participate in the BBS, please contact your state, provincial, or territorial BBS coordinator, or the USGS or CWS national BBS office. You can explore our network of routes and see which are currently vacant by viewing our route location maps. To learn about the availability of internship postions in the BBS national office, please see Internships.

Resources For Current Observers
In addition to the materials mailed out by the national office each spring, current observers will find the following resources useful in performing their surveys:
  • Instructions for Conducting the North American Breeding Bird Survey [pdf]
  • 2023 Breeding Bird Survey Volunteer Services Agreement [pdf]
  • Add-as-you-go Field Sheets [pdf]
  • Survey Comment Forms:
    • USA and Canada - English [pdf]
    • Canada - Francais [pdf]
  • Information Handouts - a handy tool for when you get stopped in the field [pdf]
  • List of Species Previously Encountered on Routes

U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Eastern Ecological Science Center Laurel, MD, USA 20708-4038
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Last Modified:  2/3/2023
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