Frequently Asked Questions

What are the system requirements for BNA?

We recommend you use one of the following browsers to access BNA: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari. The minimum version required for Internet Explorer is Version 10.0. Users must have cookies and JavaScript enabled for full functionality.

I cannot seem to find a particular species. Why?

Please keep in mind that BNA only includes the regularly breeding birds of Canada and the United States (including Hawaii). Birds that pass through this region, just as vagrants, regular migrants, or occasional breeders are not covered by BNA. For information about species found in Mexico, Central America and South America, please check our sister publication Neotropical Birds.

Can I still purchase hardcopy BNA accounts?

Yes you can; Buteo Books now owns the remaining inventory of the paper copies of the Birds of North America single species accounts. Please call Buteo Books at 800-722-2460 or email for more information.

How do I cite the BNA database or an individual species account from BNA?

To cite the BNA database as a whole, you can use one of two formats:

The Birds of North America (P. Rodewald, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America:; AUG 2015.

or if you need to go with more standard author/date format:

Rodewald, P. (Editor). 2015. The Birds of North America: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

When citing a species account, give the author’s name(s) and initials and the year of publication in parentheses. If the publication has been revised, use the revised date. Otherwise, use the original print date. Next list the species name followed by the site information. You may add the date you accessed the information. See the examples below.

Haig, Susan M., and Elliott-Smith, E. (2004). Piping Plover. The Birds of North America (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved November 2, 2004, from The Birds of North America:

Marti, C. D. (1992) Barn Owl. The Birds of North America (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America:

Note: The Recommended Citation section of the accounts may contain the citation for the print version of BNA. Please use the format above instead.

What should I do if I find an error in a species account?

The BNA editorial staff welcomes your input on errors in the species accounts. We will work to correct these as quickly as possible. Please email your corrigenda to Paul Rodewald, BNA editor.

It is our goal to have all BNA species accounts continually updated, with the initial emphasis on recent species splits and accounts published early in the series. If you have updates to contribute to a species account, please email Paul Rodewald, BNA editor.

I am an AOS member and cannot access BNA through the AOS. Help!

If you are a current, paid member of the AOS, you can access BNA through the AOS proxy server. You will need your AOS member ID and your last name will act as the password but be sure to make the first letter of your last name uppercase. You will enter this login information here, at the AOS/BNA proxy server. If you have forgotten or do not know your AOS member ID, you can contact the AOS business center. You will not be able to log in to BNA from BNA’s main home page using your AOS Member ID.

I want to use a photograph/figure/map/audio/video file I found on BNA for a project. How do I obtain it and get permission to use it?

You must obtain permission directly from BNA/Macaulay Library in order to use any of our content in any fashion whatsoever. Some of our content has been licensed for one-time usage, and we do not have permission to distribute or allow you to use. In these instances, you will need to contact the content creator directly to request the image itself and permission for usage.

If you want to obtain and use a photo, video or audio recording for any purpose, you will need to first verify from what source the audio and/or video content is derived.  Most, but not all, of our photo, audio and video content comes directly from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library.  If the data for the photo, audio or video file shows that the content is from Macaulay Library, then you will need to contact the Macaulay Library directly. They can be reached at 607-254-2456 or by emailing:

If you are interested in using an illustration or a map that you’ve seen in BNA, please contact our sales manager, Laura Kammermeier, at (607) 254-1143, or email her at: