Research Birds of North America Online

Written by Greg Anderson, Reference Librarian

meadowlarkWas that really a Western Meadowlark you heard while walking in the Oldfather Prairie? The Birds of North America Online has a sound clip to help you find out.

Based upon its renowned print predecessor (18 volumes, over 18,000 pages, and seven feet of shelf space at QL681.B625 in the Library’s Book Collection), the  Birds of North America Online (BNA) provides detailed, authoritative scientific information for each of the 716 species of birds nesting in the United States and Canada.

Written by hundreds of highly qualified ornithologists, biologists and academics, under the leadership of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologist’s Union, the BNA Online features:

  • Audio and video galleries for many species to illustrate key behaviors and features of habitat.
  • A detailed, up-to-date, color-keyed map showing breeding and wintering ranges.
  • Detailed accounts of feeding  habits, songs and calls, and other behaviors.
  • Full data on the species’ breeding success, life span, mortality and disease, as well as demographics and population.
  • A comprehensive bibliography for each species.

The BNA Online is a work in progress. Account contents are updated frequently by both  professional researchers and designated citizen scientists. Future work will focus on increasing the number of audio and video contributions, speeding revisions via efforts coordinated online, and significantly  boosting the number of photos available.

The Birds of North America Online is now available in the library’s online resource collection. To get to it from our home page (, move your pointer over Research Tools, and click on Databases & E-Resources. It can be accessed alphabetically, by clicking on the letter B, or by subject, by clicking on Biology.