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WVDNR releases new West Virginia bird atlas

ELKINS, W.Va. — A new atlas including detailed information about bird species in the Mountain State has been published, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced.

The publication, titled “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in West Virginia,” can be purchased from Penn State University Press for $69.95.

“The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds represents the work of nearly 200 dedicated volunteers and state employees and is the culmination of more than a decade of effort,” said WVDNR Wildlife Resources Chief Paul Johansen. “The publication of the second atlas is a milestone in state bird conservation.”

The new atlas presents detailed accounts of 170 bird species and two hybrids and gives an overview of habitats, climate and geography. It includes chapters on atlas methodology, results and interpretation, along with maps and charts showing statewide observations, estimated occurrences and information about population density and trends. The atlas also provides estimated changes in the state’s bird populations since the original atlas project was conducted from 1984-1989. The history of bird study in West Virginia is woven throughout the book, which also includes a chapter on historical and current developments in bird conservation.

“This book is the best available resource on the state’s birds for the general public and provides critical data for state, federal and private conservation efforts,” Johansen said. “Atlas data are already being used in conservation actions throughout West Virginia and will continue to be used through the next atlas project, scheduled to start in 2034.”

The project was funded by the WVDNR Wildlife Diversity Section and federal wildlife grants administered by the state. Field work, conducted from 2009 to 2014, included gathering more than 100,000 records of observations and conducting surveys throughout the state to measure bird populations.

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