For 6 years thousands of birders covered New York searching for breeding
birds. The result of their efforts The Atlas of Breeding
Birds of New York State, was published in 1988. The
project was a cooperative effort of three organizations -- New
York State Ornithological Association,
New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation, and Cornell
Laboratory of Ornithology.
Maps are the main feature of a breeding bird atlas publication.
A map for each bird shows where Atlasers found evidence of breeding.
Blocks with confirmed breeding are represented by a black square.
Probable breeding is shown with an cross in a square and possible with
a slash in a square. Accompanying each map is a discussion of the
bird's breeding status, habits and habitats. Each species account
includes a pen-and-ink drawing depicting an aspect of its breeding activity.
The publication comes with transparent pages that show various features
like river systems, elevation, forest types, etc. Used with the
species maps, they show how the breeding distribution relates to elevation,
forest type, or mean temperature.
In addition to a book, the results of the first Atlas are contained
in a database, kept by the NYS DEC. Look up the results for a specific Atlas block. New York birders
are now repeating the project (Atlas 2000) to learn how the breeding
bird distribution has changed over 20 years.
This is the first atlas map for the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. It
shows sapsuckers concentrated in the Adirondacks and Catskills and absent
from the southeastern part of the state. In Dutchess County, sapsuckers
were not recorded for the first Atlas. Recently we have found sapsuckers
nesting in eastern Dutchess. So we know about one difference we'll
see for Atlas 2000. Will sapsuckers show expansion in other parts
of the state?
Here is the map for Hooded Warbler, a bird with a quite different distribution
than the sapsucker. Again for Dutchess County, Hooded Warblers were
not found during the first Atlas. Since then, they have expanded
into the county. We have already confirmed breeding of Hooded Warbler
in Dutchess for Atlas 2000. Is this part of a general range expansion,
or just limited to the southeastern New York? Atlas 2000 will tell.
The Atlas of Breeding Birds of New York State, edited by Robert
F. Andrle and Janet Carroll, was published by Cornell University Press
in 1988. It is available from Cornell