Atlantic Offshore Seabird Dataset Catalog

Several bureaus within the Department of Interior compiled available information from seabird observation datasets from the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf into a single database, with the goal of conducting research and informing coastal and offshore planning activities. The cooperators were the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Environmental Studies Program (, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Division of Migratory Bird Management ( and the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center ( The resulting product is the Atlantic Offshore Seabird Dataset Catalog, which characterizes the survey effort and bird observations that have been collected across space and time. As of December 2013, the database contains over 70 datasets from 1906-2013 with about 300,000 records of seabird observations. Data were initially provided as summary web mapping services, with web feature services (for downloading and looking at single-species data) at the linkage given elsewhere in this document. A full archive of the scientific data is available at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). The data archived at NODC is comprised of roughly 50 datasets from 1938-2013 with about 260,000 observation records. This archive is a subset of the main database, excluding datasets from surveys where the scientific design was not specifically designed to sample marine birds (e.g. coastal portions of National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Counts).

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated July 15, 2019, 18:36 (CDT)
Created July 15, 2019, 18:36 (CDT)
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bbox-north-lat 64.9086
bbox-south-lat 23.3786
bbox-west-long -99.8626
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dataset-reference-date [{"type": "", "value": "1938"}, {"type": "", "value": "2013"}, {"type": "Date Received", "value": "2015-12-23"}]
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metadata-date 2018-08-23T20:40:18Z
metadata-language eng: USA
object_reference 43ce0ea5-ff3e-43eb-9b38-676e24ba069d
publisher ["U.S. Geological Survey"]
purpose As of December 2013, the database holds over 70 datasets from 1906-2009 with over 300,000 records of seabird observations. Summary maps provided as web services (see linkage) include representations of survey effort and bird detections. Effort was standardized into "five minute equivalents" so that both discrete and continuous transect data could be combined. This unit is essentially "five minutes of survey effort from a vessel traveling 10 knots". Species data were prepared for occurrence maps by adjusting counts using these five minute equivalents. The resulting species maps are referred to as "Naive occurrence maps" because, although some effort standardization has been applied, there are no corrections for biases introduced by differences in survey methodology, observers, and species detectability.The full archive of scientific data is available for download from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) contains information on individual observations as well as survey effort. Each observation record has a unique point location, date and time, species and observation count. There may also be biological information related to the sighting, such as animal age or behavior. The survey effort information (i.e. weather variables) may have been recorded for each individual observation but was more often recorded at the transect (line along which the plane or boat traveled) level. The dataset contains data primarily for seabirds, but some other observations accompanied bird data submissions and were not discarded: marine mammals, turtles, fish, and non-biological sightings such as other boats, fishing gear and trash.
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