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About the Avian Knowledge Network

What is the Avian Knowledge Network?

The Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) is an international organization of government and non-government institutions focused on understanding the patterns and dynamics of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere.

The goal is to educate the public on the dynamics of bird populations, provide interactive decision-making tools for land managers, make available a data resource for scientific research, and advance new exploratory analysis techniques to study bird populations.

The AKN is organizing observation-based bird monitoring in three fundamental ways. First, we are developing new ways to discover these data by displaying metadata in the bird monitoring data registry (BMDR). Second, we are expanding existing data schemas to organize these data through the bird monitoring data exchange (BMDE). Third, we are building the technical infrastructure to allow access to these data through a federated data grid environment. For more information follow the links below.

Who are we?

NatureCounts is one of the nodes of the Avian Knowledge Network. This site is maintained by staff at Bird Studies Canada. Additionally, we have active partnerships with researchers and staff at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Point Reyes Bird Observatory and Redwood Sciences Lab of the United States Forest Service.

We coordinate our activities across many bird observation data resources, and provide data to GBIF and ORNIS. Additionally, we are involved in international efforts to develop biodiversity information standards.

What kinds of data are available?

The AKN is bringing together observation data on birds. This includes data from bird-monitoring, bird-banding, and broad-scale citizen-based bird-surveillance programs.

All of the observation data are unified within a distributed information architecture that is constantly expanding. All data can be made accessible, and are archived in the various AKN nodes, including this one. While the focus of NatureCounts is primarily on Canadian bird data, you will also find other data from projects coordinated by Bird Studies Canada and its partners. Some of the same data are available through other AKN nodes, but some are only available from this site.

What can you do with the data?

You can explore the data resources of the AKN via interactive maps that allow you to view the distribution of bird populations during any time of the year and across all of the Western Hemisphere or within user-defined geographic extents.

You can obtain and visualize information on long term population trends of Canadian birds.

You can explore an individual species pattern of distribution or the species richness of a particular location via dynamically generated summary tables and graphs.

Finally, much of the observational data can be directly accessed and downloaded.

How can you contribute?

The AKN is interested in any bird observational data. If you are interested in contributing to the AKN please review how we organize the data resources and the infrastructure requirements necessary. If you have any questions please contact us.

We are also looking for examples of how the AKN is being used. If you have developed a data visualization or analysis using the AKN data please tell us!

The AKN is organizing observation-based bird monitoring data for the rapid discovery, access, and analysis of these vast resources.


About the AKN


Bird Monitoring Data Registry

Bird Monitoring Data Exchange

NatureCounts Data Sharing Policy

Levels of Data Access

Recommended Citation

More information



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NatureCounts is a site of Bird Studies Canada, and a partner of the Avian Knowledge Network.
Banner photo kindly provided by Ralph Hocken
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