The North American Breeding Bird Survey Needs YOU!

Each spring over 2500 skilled amateur birders and professional biologists volunteer to participate in the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).  Since 1965, these volunteers have contributed to one of the most widely used bird monitoring datasets in North America.  In 2009, the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership began a campaign to fill all vacant BBS routes in our region.  Each year, the number of vacant routes has decreased, and I challenge us to fill all vacant routes in 2017!

Requirements for participation are listed below:

  • Access to suitable transportation to complete a survey.
  • Good hearing and eyesight.
  • 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.
  • 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.

To accomplish this goal please consider adopting a vacant route near you, adding a route if you already run one, and getting the word out to your friends and neighbors.  As of March 21, we have a total of 79 vacant routes in our region!  To see if there is a vacant route near you, check out this handy mapping tool on the BBS website:

Contact your state BBS coordinator today:

Illinois: 8 Vacant Routes (contact Mike Ward; email:; phone: 217-244-4089)

Indiana: 7 Vacant Routes (contact Amy Kearns; email:  phone: 812-849-4586)

Iowa: 7 Vacant Routes (contact Doug Harr; email:; phone: 515-275-4818)

Michigan: 15 Vacant Routes (contact Katie Koch; email:; phone: 906-226-1249)

Minnesota: 14 Vacant Routes (contact Bob Janssen; email:; phone: 612-865-3802)

Missouri: 8 Vacant Routes (contact Janet Haslerig; email:; phone: 573-522-4115 x3198)

Ohio: 18 Vacant Routes (contact Nathan Stricker; email:; phone: 740-362-2410 ext. 122)

Wisconsin: 2 Vacant Routes (contact Mark Korducki ; email:;  phone: 262-784-2712)

Thank you for participating in this program and helping me get the word out.  BBS season will be here before we know it (even though it's snowing outside my window as I type this)!

Katie Koch

Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership

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