Both an indispensable scientific work and a beautiful collection of art, The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State documents and illustrates the current distribution of breeding birds within the state and the significant change in bird distribution that has occurred since the publication of The Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, edited by Robert F. Andrle and Janet R. Carroll, in 1988. Each species account features a black-and-white illustration of the bird, colour maps of the current (2000-2005) breeding distribution and of the twenty-year change in distribution, and an overview of the species' breeding range, habitat preferences, history in the state, trends in distribution, and conservation implications. The book not only chronicles shifts in bird distribution but also celebrates the 244 species that breed within the state's borders by showcasing majestic landscape paintings of family groups and original artwork of each species.
Long-term changes in the distribution of bird populations can be driven by habitat alteration caused by development, deforestation, and climate change, but significant change also occurs in the short term. Based on comprehensive, statewide research efforts conducted from 2000 to 2005, this landmark volume shows the surprising amount of change in the distribution of breeding birds in New York that has taken place in the last twenty years: a few species no longer breed in the state (e.g., Loggerhead Shrike), a few breeding species were gained (e.g., Merlin and Black Vulture), and over half of the species changed their distribution in the state, some dramatically. The consistency of survey methods in the two atlas efforts, including census of the same 5,333 survey blocks, allows for statistically significant comparisons.
In all, 1,187 volunteers spent 140,000 hours in the field, making this a substantive work of citizen science with broad applications for bird research and environmental management. In addition to the species accounts, there are chapters on methodology, results, habitats, land use, history of New York birding and ornithology, conservation, and appendixes of rare breeders as well as an updated table of the seasonal timing of breeding that completes this monumental work. The documented changes in bird distributions and land use in this stunning celebration of New York's birds will be of critical interest to both birders and conservationists.