South Carolina Breeding Bird Atlas
Although South Carolina has a long history of ornithological survey, dating back to the colonial era, much of this work was concentrated in the coastal zone and sporadic in nature. Large portions of South Carolina, especially the interior of the state, have never had an adequate natural history survey.
The Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) Project was designed to increase our knowledge of the states's breeding bird distribution and status through systematic surveys over a fixed period of time. The Atlas Project was patterned after similar surveys conducted in other states. One-sixth of a seven-and-a-half-minute USGS topographic quadrangle map, an area of about ten square miles, was the survey unit. Nearly all survey blocks were surveyed by volunteers, but unlike many states which had large numbers of volunteers, South Carolina had relatively few observers qualified to identify birds in the field by sight and sound. We were therefore only able to conduct a limited survey and used one block of every other quadrangle map as the survey unit. Breeding criteria, based on field observations, were similar to those in other states and grouped into 3 main catergories: possible, probable, and confirmed breeding. In order to get the best picture of a species' breeding range, we also used random observations ("casual observations") and information reported in the literature ("literature note"), mainly the Chat, the quarterly bulletin of the Carolina Bird Club, and unpublished field notes of various observers. Unpublished field notes and literature notes were used dating back to 1965, while casual observations were used during the same time period as the Atlas survey. Like most other states, we intended for the South Carolina BBA to be completed in 5 years. 1989 was the first full year of coverage, as 1988 got off to a late start and was used as a "trial run", but we had to extend coverage through 1994 and 1995 in order to finish all assigned blocks.
Because of restricted coverage, the South Carolina BBA did not effectively survey the breeding distribution of certain species such as Bald Eagles, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and other endangered and threatened birds, nor colonial-nesting wading birds or shorebirds. For information on the breeding status and ranges of the latter two groups, see Dodd, M.G., and T.M. Murphy. 1997. The status and distribution of wading birds in South Carolina, 1988-1996. Chat 61(3): 129-181 and Wilkinson, P.M. 1997. Survey and census of colonial nesting seabirds in South Carolina. Chat 61(4): 233-259.
Because of space limitations, it is not possible to acknowledge the more than 175 volunteers here who contributed to the South Carolina BBA. However, we would like to recognize those individuals who surveyed five or more Atlas blocks: Robin Carter, Dennis Forsythe, Lex Glover, Tim Kalbach, Tom Nicolls, Perry Nugent, Bill Pulliam, and Peter Worthington. Katherine Boyle of the SC Department of Natural Resources also deserves special recognition for her dedication and software skills that made the final product possible.
Funding for the South Carolina Breeding Bird Atlas Project was made possible by the Endangered Wildlife Fund (formerly the Check for Wildlife), the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Pittman-Robertson Grant-in-Aid Program.
We also intend to produce a hard copy of the Atlas with a list of all contributors and a brief species narrative to accompany each map. For more information or questions, send email to Amy Tegeler.
The names below will take you to see the Atlas maps
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler