NEON breeding landbird point counts

Sampling event
Latest version published by National Ecological Observatory Network on Sep 1, 2023 National Ecological Observatory Network

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 17,882 records in English (22 MB) - Update frequency: annually
Metadata as an EML file download in English (11 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (8 KB)


This data product contains the quality-controlled, native sampling resolution data from NEON's breeding landbird sampling crosswalked to Darwin Core. Breeding landbirds are defined as “smaller birds (usually exclusive of raptors and upland game birds) not usually associated with aquatic habitats” (Ralph et al. 1993). The breeding landbird point counts product provides records of species identification of all individuals observed during the 6-minute count period, as well as metadata which can be used to model detectability, e.g., weather, distances from observers to birds, and detection methods. The NEON point count method is adapted from the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR): Field protocol for spatially-balanced sampling of landbird populations (Hanni et al. 2017; For additional details, see

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 17,882 records.

2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). Breeding landbird point counts (DP1.10003.001), RELEASE-2023. Dataset accessed from on August 30, 2023


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is National Ecological Observatory Network. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 516eb7c0-3586-4dfc-bc18-c1fc1e765b7f.  National Ecological Observatory Network publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Samplingevent; landbirds; community; population; distance sampling; point counts


Kate Thibault
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Lead Research Scientist
National Ecological Observatory Network
Sam Simkin
  • Point Of Contact
Research Scientist
National Ecological Observatory Network
Abby Benson
  • Publisher
  • Processor
U.S. Geological Survey

Geographic Coverage

United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Bounding Coordinates South West [15.623, -172.266], North East [72.289, -38.32]

Project Data

Count, distance from observer, and taxonomic identification of breeding landbirds observed during point counts

Title NEON
Funding NSF
Study Area Description This sampling occurs at all NEON terrestrial sites.
Design Description Depending on the size of the site, sampling for this product occurs at either randomly distributed individual points or grids of nine points each. At larger sites, point count sampling occurs at five to ten 9-point grids, with grid centers collocated with distributed base plot centers (where plant, beetle, and/or soil sampling may also occur), if possible. At smaller sites (i.e., sites that cannot accommodate a minimum of 5 grids) point counts occur at the southwest corner (point 21) of 5-25 distributed base plots. Point counts are conducted once per breeding season at large sites and twice per breeding season at smaller sites. Point counts are six minutes long, with each minute tracked by the observer, following a two-minute settling-in period. All birds are recorded to species and sex, whenever possible, and the distance to each individual or flock is measured with a laser rangefinder, except in the case of flyovers.

The personnel involved in the project:

Kate Thibault

Additional Metadata