BCN Survey

The BCN Survey: Monitoring Chicagoland's Birds

Birds of Concern

View the updated 2014 list of Birds of Concern in the Chicago Wilderness Region - a prioritized list of species in region with significant conservation issues according to both national and regional analyses.

A Brief History of the BCN Survey

Bird Monitoring initiatives by citizen scientists have been active in the Chicago region since at least the 1980's. In the past, a lack of standardized protocols and the daunting task of entering reams of data into digitized files meant that much of the information amassed over the past years remained inaccessible and difficult to analyze.


Standardized protocol for bird monitoring was implemented in a 1998 effort - spearheaded by Judy Pollock, Alan Anderson, Terry Schilling, Lee Ramsey, and Elizabeth Sanders of the Bird Conservation Network (BCN), with major participation from a group of dedicated birders, scientists, land managers and conservationists including Jerry Garden (Chicago Audubon Society), Jerry Sullivan (Cook County Forest Preserve District), Doug Stotz (Field Museum), Stephen Packard (Audubon - Chicago Region) and Dan Niven (Illinois Natural History Survey). This effort transformed monitoring practices and resolved central difficulties.


Web publication and quick analysis of this data became a reality in 2001 when Cornell Lab of Ornithology's BirdSource teamed up with BCN and the Field Museum to unveil a new web site. This site came about thanks to the efforts of Debby Moskovits and Doug Stotz (Field Museum),

White-eyed Vireo by Jerry Kumery
Terry Schilling, Lee Ramsey, Alan Anderson and Suzanne Checchia (BCN volunteers), Steve Kelling and Michael Brutvan (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) and Judy Pollock, Rickie White and Steve Frankel (Audubon-Chicago Region). 


Joining eBird in 2003, the database moved to a special BCN version of the eBird website, a nationwide side for data entry managed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology & Audubon. This move provided easier access to data for research purposes and casual observations, and also allowed monitors to easily enter their sightings at any of the predefined birding hot spots in the Chicagoland area.

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