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The New Mexico Breeding Bird Atlas Project

Atlas Handbook

Relative Abundance Card

Measuring the relative abundance of each species may be important for detecting difference in bird populations between various areas of the state and changes in bird populations over time. These differences and changes may not be as quickly or easily visible from presence/absence breeding information, as from timed counts of birds during atlas work. Follow the methods on page 9 to record relative abundance. Select which kilos you plan to survey for relative abundance (Figure 2). You may choose any eight kilos (or more if access is easy) and conduct the relative abundance counts in any order. The two-hour counts may be divided between visits to a particular kilo, as long as birds are actively singing. For each kilo, record the number of species (Figure 3) with individual species checked off (Figure 4) on the relative abundance card included in your packet of materials. Note that visits 1-4 are on one side of the card while visits 5-8 are on the other side. For more than eight kilos, request an additional relative abundance card from you regional organizer.

Figure 2: Kilo numbering system.
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25

Figure 3: Relative abundance summary information.


Kilo number

Dates visited

Total species

1st Kilo          
2nd Kilo          
3rd Kilo          
4th Kilo          

Figure 4: Example of information to be written onto the relative abundance card.

Species Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Kilo Kilo Kilo Kilo Kilo Kilo Kilo Kilo
Juniper Titmouse                
Red-breasted Nuthatch                
White-breasted Nuthatch                
Pygmy Nuthatch                
Brown Creeper                
Cactus Wren                
Rock Wren                
Canyon Wren                
Bewick's Wren                
House Wren                
American Dipper                
Golden-crowned Kinglet                
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
Western Bluebird                

Go to the Atlas Forms page for a printable version of the Relative Abundance Card.

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