2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas

The Atlas

'Great Horned Owl Fledgling' by Bob Schamerhorn
Our Vision:
From the swamps of the east to the mountains of the west, Virginia’s birds represent a rich cultural and ecological heritage, a living legacy whose loss would threaten our own identity. We believe nature and its conservation is the province of all people.

What is the Breeding Bird Atlas?
The second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2) is a survey of all bird species breeding in the state. Data collected will help map the distribution and status of Virginia’s breeding bird community in order to better inform our natural resource and conservation decisions.

Why is the VABBA2 so Important?
Over 25 years have passed since the completion of the first Atlas in Virginia and many environmental changes have occurred. Climate change, urbanization, and energy development change are rapidly altering the conditions that birds and other wildlife must cope with in order to survive. Data collected for the VABBA2 can tell us when and where birds are forming territories, building nests, laying eggs, fledging chicks, as well as their distributions among different habitats throughout the state. In essence, Atlas surveys can tell us how bird communities are responding to these changes. 

Who Collects the Data?
The VABBA2 is a citizen science project, with volunteers conducting most of the key data collection. Virginia has a strong birding community that we hope will partner with the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO) and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to accomplish the largest bird monitoring effort in the state. We also strongly encourage folks who have an interest in birds, nature, or outdoor recreation, but may not yet be birders, to use this as an opportunity to learn about birds and become involved with a critically important conservation project.

How Does It Differ From Everyday Birding?
Volunteers collect information not only on the identity and number of birds they observe, but also evidence of breeding behavior. The Atlas use a series of breeding codes to describe the different types of breeding behavior that may be observed (See Handbook and Materials for more details). Survey data will be entered into the Atlas' eBird portal.

VABBA2 Partners
Several organizations have committed to fully support the Atlas over its 5-year span, including VSO and VDGIF. Given the size and range of habitats in Virginia, these organizations seek to work with local bird and conservation groups to carry out the atlas surveys.

VABBA2 is led by a steering committee comprised of VDGIF biologists, as well as past and current board members of the VSO. Members of this committee were instrumental in launching this second bird monitoring effort for the state of Virginia.


VABBA2 Steering Committee:             

Sergio Harding (VDGIF Biologist)
Becky Gwynn (VDGIF Assistant Bureau Director)
Amy Ewing (VDGIF Biologist)
Jeff Trollinger (VDGIF Deputy Bureau Directior and Acting VSO President)
Bill Williams (VSO Board Member)
Rexanne Bruno (VSO President, 2009-2011)
Joe Coleman (VSO President, 2013-2015)
Scott Klopfer (Conservation Management Institute Director - Virginia Tech)