A schism exists in how the BBS is viewed within the conservation community. Some see the limitations of the survey as primarily logistical, while others reject the survey out of hand due to perceived limitations of the design. This schism must be resolved if the BBS is to be of use in the often contentious field of conservation biology. In this talk, I discuss a few of the issues associated with design and analysis of the BBS, and suggest some approaches to enhancing the credibility of the survey. One issue of particular relevance for discussion of the future of the survey is that of goals; modern survey uses require much more information than that provided by long-term trend estimates, and the presentation of survey results at temporal and spatial scales used in bird conservation places particular constraints on the survey. Field data indicate that detectability issues and roadside sampling invalidate the use of the BBS for population estimation and other goals relevant to conservation. Modifications to survey design can, and should, be implemented to enhance the value of the survey. Model-based approaches to survey analysis enhance the quality of the results by accommodating some features that likely bias survey estimates, permit better.
Additional Publication Details
The North American Breeding Bird Survey: Credible, or not?
Wilson Ornithological Society and Association of Field Ornithologists Joint Meeting, April 21-24, Beltsville, Maryland. Abstracts