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Article in: Book Reviews
December 19, 2012

Review: Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania

The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania comes 20 years after the first atlas. Bird populations change a lot in twenty years, so a large tome like this is a valuable resource for casual birders and expert ornithologists alike.

The amount of work that went into the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Pennsylvania (and all atlases) is incredible and only possible from the lengthy list of volunteers that provided data.

All the atlas methods are covered in the first part of the book and numerous maps are included to show habitat types, tree cover, and specific forest types to name just a few.

Besides locating breeding locations for various species of birds, using habitat and forest types helps conservationists determine what areas have declined and what habitats are necessary for a lot of birds. One of the findings from this survey was a connection of 200 species of birds to hemlock trees.

There is an entire chapter on conservation that summarizes the findings and is helping to initiate further bird conservation planning and action.

Besides the species accounts, birders will appreciate the map that shows some of the best birding spots in the state, and those mentioned throughout the text.

The species accounts provide a photo, informative text plus maps and charts. The maps show the distribution of birds located on the survey as well as a map that shows the change from the 1st survey. For some species there is a map that shows density of singing males.

For the more studious ornithologist-birders, there are several appendixes that have even more data on results by physiographic region, habitat association, as well as the statistical methods used.

Overall, the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania is well organized and full of incredible information about the breeding birds of the Keystone State. Bird populations change constantly, so putting this much information into a static book and still making it useable is quite a feat.

A feat done masterfully well.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on Birdfreak.com. The links are to our Amazon Affiliate program.

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