Review of Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada

Cover Illustrations by David Allen Sibley

Nevada is a fast-growing state that can boast more public land than any other state with the exception of Alaska. It is much richer and more diverse than many realize. The founder of The Great Basin Bird Observatory, Graham Chisholm created the Nevada Breeding Bird Atlas project with goal to learn about bird populations in Nevada which will help with future environmental projects to continue preserving these species.

Atlas Of The Breeding Birds Of Nevada collected field data from 1997 to 2000 and uses digital spatial modeling for some of the survey. The size of the study site is so great that they had to use statistical modeling and make some assumptions, which increased the likelihood of errors. Nevada has many rugged unattainable areas in addition to large areas of inaccessible military land that makes a full survey very difficult.

The forwards to Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada are written by Senator Harry Reid and C. Richard Tracy. Ted Floyd, editor of Birding magazine, was the project coordinator and Ray Nelson was the Atlas illustrator. Instead of photos, illustrations for each bird are used and each has a unique pose or habitat differing from what is commonly found in field guides.

One of the very cool illustrations: Ladder-backed Woodpecker

The Atlas includes a chapter on the habitats of Nevada with photos and descriptions of each. Details on the methods to obtain data and the overview of the results are interesting and each species has its own page that includes information on its distribution, conservation status, and a detailed map of its location with probability of occurrence. There are 275 species included in this detailed book and near the end are 28 species that either previously occurred in Nevada or have not yet been officially confirmed.

Inside view of the Atlas: Violet-green Swallow

The acknowledgments and resources take up quite a few pages and it is hard to imagine the phenomenal amount of work that was put into this atlas. Any bird lover would be encouraged to possess this atlas and it could be used as a model to any other state or area yet without one.

Rating: 10 of 10 feathers

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