The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) was started in 1966, and provides information on population change and distribution for most of the birds in North America. The geographic extent of the survey, and the logistical compromises needed to survey such a large area, present many challenges for estimation from BBS data. In this paper, we describe the survey and discuss some of the limitations of the survey design and implementation. Analysis of the survey has evolved over time as new statistical methods and insights into the analysis of count data are developed. Survey results and analysis tools for the BBS are now available over intemet; we present new methods that use generalized linear models for estimation of population change and empirical Bayes procedures for regional summaries.