Methods & Accounts

The information that follows is an abbreviated description of the basic techniques and procedures that were used by the volunteers in the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 project. Read More

A set of standardized criteria, similar to those used in most other atlases, was used to establish the breeding status of species recorded during the Atlas 1 period. Species were classified as either "possible," "probable," or "confirmed" breeders by classifying their behavior. A list of the breeding criteria codes and the definitions of the accompanying behaviors that were used during Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 follows. Read More

Two of the more monumental tasks associated with managing the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 project were compiling the breeding-confirmation data at the end of each field season and creating the final maps. It is important to point out that the "age of computers" was still in its relative infancy when the original data for this project were being compiled and when the mapping program was being created in the 1970s and early 1980s. Richard A. Forster, Massachusetts Audubon's Atlas 1 coordinator throughout most of the five-year project, shouldered most of the task of annually updating the breeding confirmation data for every block in Massachusetts. Read More

The data reflected in the maps that follow were collected between 1974 and 1979. No attempt has been made to update these data, as this would confound the chief value of any distributional survey, namely to serve as a clearly delineated benchmark with which to compare future surveys. Dramatic status changes during the late 1990s have been noted in the appropriate species accounts, and brief accounts of "new" species are described in the section Additional Species. Readers seeking additional information about the status, seasonal distribution, and migratory behavior of birds in Massachusetts should refer to Birds of Massachusettsby Richard R. Veit and Wayne R. Petersen (1993). Read More