Welcome to the Breeding Bird Study (BBS). Through a collaboration with UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s BBS development team has found an exciting solution for mapping and enabling access to the data using ArcGIS software.

The new BBS Web Map provides an interactive interface for exploring the location, timing, and other key details of the breeding activity of the 188 bird species that currently breed or have bred in Santa Barbara County. The data can be viewed, filtered, and queried by using a set of pre-determined filters, a spatial selection tool, and/or creating your own filter. A significant feature of the BBS Map is that photographs accompany many of the records thereby providing key visual evidence of an individual bird’s breeding activity.

Anna's Hummingbird
by Adrian O'Loghlen
Devereux Campus 09 July 2020
Western Screech-Owl
by Adrian O'Loghlen
Quiota Creek 10 July 2020

As of July 2022, more than 11,000 observations of 188 species have been gathered.  More than 320 citizens and scientists have contributed recent and historical records.  Birders’ observations, contract studies, theses dissertations, records extracted from bird cams, scientific literature, and museum records are the sources of the data. Bringing these data together allows explorations that can inform conservation, bird watching, research, environmental planning, land management, and education at several levels. 

The data in the BBS complements the breeding data available in Paul Lehman’s study of bird status and distribution, “The Birds of Santa Barbara County, California”. First published in 1994 through The Vertebrate Museum (now CCBER), and updated twice annually, this essential reference to the status and distribution of all bird species detected in the county is available for download at no cost HERE. The BBS Web Map shows Paul Lehman’s ornithological districts of Santa Barbara County directly on BBS generated maps.

Open the BBS Mapping System HERE

Marissa DeVille (UCSB undergraduate) offers tutorials on how to dig into the BBS Map below.

Submitting breeding observations:

Nesting is only one stage in the breeding effort.  It takes more than just a nest site to raise a bird successfully.  We want your observations of nest construction, food carries by adults, begging fledglings, and dependent young birds.  You will see the diverse evidence that can be used to document breeding as you dig into the BBS map displays.

Submission is simple and best done at home. Assemble the coordinates of the breeding event first.  There are several ways to find the GPS coordinates of the breeding event you witnessed (see “Notes on Finding Coordinates” below). If you have a photo as part of your evidence, please reduce the photo size to 1MB or less.

When you are ready, submit your observations HERE.

We hope you find that the Santa Barbara Breeding Bird Study is an easy to use, informative, and helpful resource.  Mark Holmgren and Adrian O’Loghlen will receive your records and within a few days upload them into the BBS Map.  Any changes or updates to the submission should be emailed to Mark at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Mark Holmgren and Adrian O’Loghlen

Notes on Finding Coordinates

This can be done in the field or at home, with or without an internet connection.  In the field, eitherGoogle Maps or Apple Maps reveals coordinates by dropping a pin of the breeding event’s location, then lifting up the data portion of the screen.  Mark uses an app, aptly named, “Coordinates”.  It is important to note that some cameras are set up to reveal the location of the photographer, which is not necessarily the location of the breeding event.  Therefore, some recalculation is necessary at home. 

At home, Google Maps is quick. Google Earth is easy.  Mark uses https://mapper.acme.com because it shifts between satellite image, topo map, and street map modes while holding on to your point of interest.

Video Tutorials

Data Submittal Tutorial

This video is from our old website but the information on working with the data submittal page is still valid.

Web Map Introduction

This video provides an overview of features and use of the BBS Web Map.