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Saturday, September 23, 2017

How To Use This Site

This site provides access to the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas II, and also for background and historical information and reference the first Atlas, published as a hard copy in 1991.  To some extent the data from Atlas I is incorporated into the mapping and species accounts of Atlas II, and provided for comparison, so this is the reccommended starting place for first time Atlas users.

Most users will come to this site searching for information on a particular species.  For these users it is best to go first to the Atlas II home page and down to the section on "Species Accounts" under this heading there are two links which will take you to the species accounts, choose listing with which you are most familiar, either Alphabetic (by common name) or Taxonomic, as locating the species of interest from either list will take you to identical information.  Once your species of interest is located, the link will continue to an Adobe .pdf file, opening in a seperate window for you to view the account.  You will need Adobe Reader to view this information, if you do not have it you may download it here.  While there are some accounts of species that are only rarely seen, or do not breed regularly in Michigan that will not contain all portions, most accounts will be comprised of the following elements:

1.  Name, scientific name of the species.

2.  Photo of the species.  Photos are not intended to be used as a field guide.  They were chosen for their aesthetic qualities and for their representation of the breeding habits, which are not always the most prominent characteristics to use for general field identification.

3.  A small version of the species map, noting the townships and level of confirmation observed by the species in each township for the species in each Atlas period.  This map contains a link that will bring up the full size version of the map, which makes it possible to read the summary information for the state and easier viewing or printing of the map only.

4.  Below the small map there is a link for a side by side comparison of the Atlas I and Atlas II data.  This contains the same information as above, however some viewers find it easier to make a meaningful comparison in this format to examine range movements and occupancy changes.

5.  In some species, where the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) adequately records observations of the species in the region and in the state, a link to a graph containing annual birds per route as provided by the BBS is included in the Population and Abundance section of the account.  This is not included for every species because the BBS is based on roadside surveys, which do not provide an adequate representation of many secretive, crepuscular, or species which prefer more interior sites.

6.  The species account contains vital information about the species, and about its history in the state of Michigan.  References are included in each account rather than as a listing for the entire work as in the previous Atlas.

After examining the species account, you may find yourself curious about how the Atlas work was performed, or what types of results came from this study? Or why species are located in one place and not another?  Other links in the Atlas II, table of contents will help you examine these questions and view the methods, results, information about the Geography and the state of bird conservation with the creation of IBA's.

The web page for Atlas I contains links to searchable PDF's  of original 1991 Atlas.  If you become more interested in making a comparison between the past results and those of the current Atlas, this is where to find that information.  This volume was originally published as a book.

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