This document describes the content of Version 3.0 of the Partners in Flight (PIF) Population Estimates Database, which provides population estimates for breeding USA/Canada landbirds at several geographic scales following the Partners in Flight approach described initially in Rich et al. (2004) and by Rosenberg and Blancher (2005) and most recently refined by Stanton et al. (2019). The Handbook also provides details about how the estimates were derived, information on limitations and caveats, a guide to using the estimates, and future desired directions for improving the estimates.
This version of the database is intended as a companion to the Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan: 2016 Revision for Canada and Continental United States (Rosenberg et al. 2016), although estimates for most species included in the database have been updated from those used in the 2016 Plan. Most of the estimates in the database are based on North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data for landbirds from the decade 2006–2015. The information in this 2019 Version of the Handbook, for Version 3.0 of the database, describes all changes that have been made to the database since 2007 (Version 1.0, cf. Blancher et al. 2007)—including the additions documented in the Handbook for Version 2.0 (Blancher et al. 2013)—and therefore serves as a single source document describing the current database.
Version 3.0 of the database addresses some of the recommendations suggested by Thogmartin et al. (2006) but does not yet fully address other limitations noted by Thogmartin et al. (2006), Blancher et al. (2007), Thogmartin (2010), Matsuoka et al. (2012), and Twedt (2015). By far, the most substantial change to the database comprises the incorporation of quantitative uncertainty bounds around population estimates for most species (see Stanton et al. 2019 for details). PIF Science anticipates that future versions of the database will occur in stages: first, improving elements of the basic PIF approach (e.g., incorporating more recent BBS data, updating Time of Day Adjustments, and refining Pair Adjustments); next, addressing additional concerns inherent in the PIF approach (e.g., replacing average maximum detection distance bins with research-derived species-specific effective detection radii); and later, perhaps replacing the sample-based PIF approach with a spatially-explicit, model-based (pixel-based) approach that more deliberately incorporates habitat and road biases and the proportion of birds available but not detected by current sampling methodology.
This current Version 3.1 of the Handbook updates citations in the Literature Cited and incorporates relatively minor improvements in text clarity over the previous 3.0 version. The content of the Population Estimates Database itself remains the same except for changes to the global and USA/Canada estimates for Northern Bobwhite and Black Vulture.