3rd Breeding Bird Atlas of Maryland and the District of Columbia (BBA3)

Photo Collage - See photo credits at end of this webpage

Bird Lovers and Volunteers - Come one, come all!

January 2020 marked the beginning of the 3rd Breeding Bird Atlas of Maryland and the District of Columbia (BBA3), and we need your help to make it a success. Birders of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, both amateur and professional, can volunteer to contribute valuable data on the breeding status of our regional birds.

Our goal for this comprehensive, 5-year field survey is to refine our knowledge of the current distribution, relative abundance, and the timing of breeding for all the breeding birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Why do we need a third atlas?

We already have two! Atlasing is different from other survey methods. By utilizing the skills of hundreds – sometimes thousands – of volunteers to systematically survey the State over a standard period of time, we can assemble a snapshot of the bird species, their abundance and distribution, and breeding status. By conducting multiple atlases over time using similar methods, we identify trends, changes in distributions, and any new breeding species gained or lost. Our first and second Breeding Bird Atlases, 1983-1987 and 2002-2006 respectively, identified many changes in our breeding bird fauna. This third atlas will extend that across 40 years. We can then compare the data to habitat and land use changes, as well as other abiotic and biotic factors, which will better inform our management decisions for conserving Maryland’s birds. Click here for a Brief History of the MD/DC Breeding Bird Atlas.

A key change from previous atlases will be the use of eBird for data collection. eBird offers robust tools for real-time data entry and outputs, so you’ll be able to follow along with results throughout the breeding season and across the entire project period. See the Tutorial Page​ or the Atlas Handbook to get started with eBird and atlasing!

The 3rd Atlas is made possible through our partnerships​ with the Maryland Ornithological Society, the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (the creators of eBird), and hundreds of bird enthusiasts like you.

Visit the MD-DC BBA3 primary Atlas website​
for everything you need to know about the Atlas.

Or contact MD-DC Atlas Coordinator:

Gabriel J. Foley
E-mail: mddcbba3@mdbirds.org
Phone: 202-681-4733

Photo Credits (left to right):

  • Prothonotary Warbler in Flight: Ed Surrey
  • Eastern Screech Owls: Catherine Holland
  • Baltimore Oriole: Dennis Murphy
  • Brown Pelican Chicks: Stephen J. Badger
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak: Linda Walls Dorco​

MD-DC Breeding Bird Atlas logo