Reviews of An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT

Foreword on Volume 1 of the An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT
Dr Richard Major, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Museum

Australians are privileged to have their lives enriched by an immense diversity of native fauna, and the 800-odd species of bird are the signposts of this biodiverse heritage. A skilled, enthusiastic (and rather crazy) bird watcher is able to see more than 250 species in a single day in just the state of New South Wales, and most of these species will be unique to Australia.  But with this privilege comes the responsibility of living our lives in a manner that ensures that this environmental capital is not irreversibly eroded. More

Book Review
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT, Volume 1. Emu to Plains-wanderer
Neil Fraser, Editor The Whistler Magazine, Hunter Bird Observers Club

Have you ever wondered how the hundreds of hours you have spent being bitten by mosquitoes, shivering in freezing winter winds, wading through ankle-deep mud or getting tired and sunburnt while conducting bird surveys contributes to the understanding and conservation of our avifauna? The recently published Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT, Volume 1, (Atlas) answers this question with a comprehensive display of the power of the work of ‘citizen scientists’. More

Review of ‘An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT Volumes 1 & 2’
Dr Julian Reid, Research Officer, Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University.

When Volume 3 is finished in a year’s time this mighty effort by a small, dedicated bunch of amateur ornithologists will have culminated in over 2000 pages of published mapping and analysis of the distribution of every bird species in New South Wales. Led by Dick Cooper, and ably supported by Ian McAllan’s encyclopaedic and arcane knowledge of the NSW ornithological literature and Brian Curtis’s computer and databasing skills, Chris Brandis and others, the NSW Bird Atlassers kept on surveying birds in 10-minute grid blocks when the first Australian Bird Atlas (1977-81) left off. Consequently, and only in this state, there is a continuous record of moderately fine-scale bird distribution and species’ reporting rates from 1977 to the present, importantly using the same methodology – virtually a 40-year span. More

NSW Bird Atlas data: more woodland species in trouble
Dr Stephen Debus, School of Environmental & Rural Science, University of New England

The recently released Atlas of the Birds of New South Wales and the ACT volumes 1 and 2 (2014, 2016, NSW Bird Atlassers) reveal some further worrying trends for certain forest and woodland birds.  Comparisons between the first and second national bird atlassses revealed some downward trends at both a national and state level (see the Birds Australia Atlas 2 book, and also Barrett et al. 2007, Australian Zoologist 34: 37–77 for NSW specifically).  Despite the changed survey methods in national Atlas 2, the data resulted in two waves of woodland birds being added to the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act as Vulnerable (the first group being largely based on national Atlas 2, the second on Barrett et al. 2007).  More

Review of An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & ACT Vol. 2
John Peter, Australian Birdlife magazine

Bird atlases can be a mixed bag. Some are simply books of dots on maps, but others offer a treasure trove of valuable information. An Atlas of the Birds of NSW& the ACT Volume 2 is the latter, and a standout among the many Australian bird atlases.

The second book in a three-volume set and covering 165 resident and migratory species from Comb-crested Jacana to Striated Pardalote, it is filled to the brim with information. No reader could ever be left wondering. More

Book Review
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & the ACT, Vol. 2. Comb-crested Jacana to Striated Pardalote

By Neil Fraser

The New South Wales Bird Atlassers have published Volume 2 of The Atlas of NSW and ACT birds (Atlas), including those of the western Tasman Sea.  The volume contains information on 165 resident and migratory species from Comb-crested Jacana to Striated Pardalote. For each species, there are maps, graphs and tables that summarize the reported distribution, breeding distribution, seasonal and historic range changes, together with monthly breeding records and monthly and annual reporting rates. The text provides a summary of what is known about the occurrence, distribution, breeding biology, movements, history and current status of each species. More

Sir David Attenborough

Two letters on receiving copies of Vol 1 And Vol 2:
28 February 2019:
“Dear Richard Cooper ,.. I greatly admire the scholarship and fieldwork on which it must be based”.

7 March 2019:
“I have now had a chance to read something of your astonishing publication…and I congratulate you unreservedly on this great achievement”.

A third letter on receiving a copy of Vol 3
13 Aug 2020:
Dear Dick Cooper,
It is most kind of you to send me your final volume of your magisterial Atlas of the Birds of NSW.
If I find an opportunity to say something about the decline in avifauna that you describe, I will certainly take it.
Thank you again

An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT Volumes 1 & 2
Professor Tim Flannery

The Australian Museum

16 September 2019
“An Atlas of the birds of NSW and the ACT, Cooper RM, et al, Vols 1 and 2, provides invaluable data on changes in bird populations over time.

It’s an essential tool if we are to direct our conservation efforts effectively.”

Book Review
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW & ACT Vols.1, 2 & 3
By Michael Lenz

Three comprehensive volumes (2066 pages in all) on the birds of New South Wales, and even with the ACT in the title, have to be of great interest and significance to the Canberra birding community. And if one considers that many of us regularly go bird-watching across the border into NSW, and from the coast to the west of this State, and that COG’s Area of Interest extends well into NSW, then these three volumes are most relevant and deserve close attention. More

Book Review
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT, Volumes 1-3.
By Ian Bailey

This atlas is such a seminal contribution to Australian ornithology that it warrants an extensive review. It comprises three volumes: Volume 1 Emu to Plains-wanderer, Volume 2 Comb-crested Jacana to Striated Pardalote and Volume 3 Eastern Spinebill to Common Greenfinch. The mainland area covered is divided into 10-minute grids and the western Tasman Sea out to Lord Howe Island is also included. Nomenclature and taxonomy follow Christidis and Boles (2008). More

Book Review
An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT, Volume 3. Eastern Spinebill to Common Greenfinch
By Neil Fraser

The third and final volume of the Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT (Atlas) is now available. The accolades for this monumental work by NSW Bird Atlassers are many. Volume 2 was awarded the Royal Zoological Society of NSW Whitley Award for the Best Zoological Resource published on any Australian fauna or flora in 2016.