A new website keeps track of wild bird breeding in Minnesota.

A new website keeps track of wild bird breeding in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, https://mnbirdatlas.org, launched last month, the Mankato Free Press reported . The resource has graphs, interactive maps and data including where, when and how many birds are breeding in the state. Almost 250 species were observed and more than 230 bird species were confirmed during the project.

Eight organizations, 700 field volunteers and 43 photographers worked with researchers and a technical review team to create the website. Nonprofit Audubon Minnesota led the project. Experts from the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute assisted.
The Minnesota and Natural Resources Trust Fund helped fund the project. Work began in 2009 and was completed in 2013.

"I was 'boots on the ground' — collecting data," said volunteer Chad Heins, an associate professor of biology at Bethany Lutheran College.

The website lists counties were certain species have seen sighted and provides details about the number of breeding pairs in the area. The information is available to naturalists, bird watchers, historians and the general public.

A comprehensive study on the state's breeding birds hasn't been compiled since 1936. T.S. Roberts' second edition of "Birds of Minnesota" is still referenced today to track changes in bird populations.

"Most states put out new bird atlases every 10 to 20 years. Minnesota was one of the last states to put out a new one," said Alexis Grinde, a wildlife ecologist and research program manager for the university's natural resources research institute.