An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT provides a comprehensive inventory and distributional analysis of the birds of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the waters of the western Tasman Sea. The New South Wales Bird Atlassers (NSWBA) was formed in late 1981 and its principal aims are to determine the distribution of birds in NSW, monitor their status on a continuing basis and promote better public awareness and understanding of birds. In an exceptional and entirely voluntary expression of concern for the welfare of birds of NSW and the ACT, a great many people willingly and enthusiastically participated in this project, gathering the essential data of many millions of records.
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT, Volume 1 is the first of three volumes. Volume 1 presents information on the 183 species of resident and migrant birds from the Emu to the Plains-wanderer. Later volumes will cover the remaining species. Details for each bird include current distribution, breeding distribution, seasonal and historical range changes and current status. Some analysis is also provided on breeding season and changes in reporting over time. These findings are a baseline against which future changes and the effectiveness of conservation measures can be evaluated and they confirm the need to continue the work of the NSWBA.
"mapping the fine-scale distributions of each species is just the launching pad, with the Atlas also providing an invaluable index of changes in species occurrence over time. Critically for conservation assessments, these changes are recorded over a 25-year period, providing the multiple-generation time frames necessary to assess population trends using IUCN listing criteria. [...]
These quantitative data have already proved to be highly influential in (assessing and) listing threatened species such as the Little Lorikeet and White-fronted Chat under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. The Atlas will have even greater influence in the future now that the data, including seasonal distribution maps and temporal trends, are available in printed form. [...]
its quantitative survey data in a long-term context by providing an assessment of historical changes in species distributions and status. This historical treatment has unearthed a wealth of early records that are not discoverable on-line, and aside from strengthening the novel data, the comprehensive scholarship that has been invested in the compilation of these records makes a precious resource its own right [...]
[the NSWBA] Atlas will prove an invaluable tool for scientists and wildlife managers and will result in more cost-effective conservation management. Conservation intervention is most challenging when delayed until a species is obviously in trouble and this is clearly apparent from the difficult, expensive and uncertain quest to prevent the extinction of flagship species such as the Regent Honeyeater and Orange-bellied Parrot. An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT provides an early warning system, flagging species that should be monitored closely and providing the basis for targeted research and conservation. It also enables the detection of biodiversity hotspots and critical locations in a species’ range that might be added to the conservation reserve network before the species requires direct conservation intervention.”
- Richard Major in the foreword.