BBIRD - Breeding Biology Research and Monitoring Database


The Breeding Biology Research and Monitoring Database (BBIRD) program was a national, cooperative program that used standardized field methodologies for studies of nesting success and habitat requirements of breeding birds.  BBIRD participants contributed their data to the national BBIRD database to allow examination of large-scale patterns and trends. The national database includes 1997-2002 data on nearly 60,000 nests and associated vegetation, representing more than 210 species of birds. BBIRD monitors nesting success and habitat of nongame birds by finding and monitoring nests at replicate plots across North America. Standardized nesting data collection and associated vegetation sampling was conducted at nest sites, non-use plots, and point count stations to allow detailed analysis of microhabitat requirements for successful nesting.

BBIRD protocols provided detailed instructions to potential investigators for initiating BBIRD sites and maintaining standardized data collection. Ultimately, BBIRD enabled scientists to provide true replication of studies and increase the power of their analyses through collaborative data-sharing.  This allowed for estimation of relative population health and habitat requirements for a wide range of species in response to dynamic landscapes and global change. The BBIRD program was managed under the Biological Resources Division, U.S.  Geological Survey and is supported in part by this program and by the USDA Forest Service. Data were provided by cooperators with wide sources of funding. 


This program provides standardized methods for data collection for nesting birds and the habitat used for nesting sites.  Also included are protocols for grassland bird populations and habitats. 


In providing a fairly comprehensive list of possible information to record, the methods are very detailed and may require much more effort than a land manager is willing to expend.  The database includes nest records from 1997 through 2002.

Examples of use

Martin, T.E., and G.R. Geupel. 1993. Protocols for nest monitoring plots: locating nests, monitoring  success, and measuring vegetation. J. Field Ornithol. 64:507--519.

Martin, T.E. and J.J. Roper. 1988. Nest predation and nest-site selection of a western population of the hermit thrush. Condor 90:51--57.

Lloyd, P., T. E. Martin, R. L. Redmond, M. M. Hart, U. Langner, and R.D. Bassar. 2006. Assessing  the influence of spatial scale on the relationship between avian  nesting success and forest fragmentation: a case study. Pp: 255-269 in:  J. Wu, K. B. Jones, H. Li, and O. Loucks (Editors). Scaling and Uncertainty Analysis in Ecology: Methods And Applications. Springer, Netherlands.

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