Upland Goose
Upland Goose (Bar-breasted) Chloephaga picta

FAQ for Birds of North America individual subscribers

This is an exciting time for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, our subscribers, and the worldwide ornithological community. Soon the entire world of birds - a dynamic collection of comprehensive, authoritative articles powered by a global network of scientists and media contributors - will be at your fingertips, accessible from anywhere in the world.

Birds of North America (BNA) will undergo a major expansion and rebranding to become the new Birds of the World. This dynamic platform is made possible by merging two of the Cornell Lab’s flagship publications (Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds) with content from the renowned Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW Alive) and Bird Families of the World, originally published by Lynx Edicions. Birds of the World will be supported with real-time data from eBird and multimedia from the renowned Macaulay Library.

Built with scientists and amateur ornithologists in mind, Birds of the World will feature in-depth, comprehensive, and authoritative species accounts that will allow researchers, biologists, naturalists, and birders a deep dive into the remarkable life of birds.

How will Birds of the World be different from Birds of North America?

First of all, it will be MUCH bigger in scale, covering all the world’s species and families, rather than 760 North American species. But the enhancements go far beyond that. We think you will love the way our platform brings together definitive content on birds and blends it with real-time distribution and abundance data as well as an ever-evolving library of multimedia content.

Why the change?

For the past 25 years, the Cornell Lab has invested heavily in leveraging the power of the internet and rapidly advancing technologies to share authoritative information about birds with the world’s scientists and with public audiences. In so doing, the Lab has developed revolutionary tools for birders such as eBird and Merlin, gathered and archived the world’s natural history media at the Macaulay Library, and served the professional ornithological community through scholarly digital publications such as Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds. The opportunity to expand this model to cover ALL the birds of the world and offer it to our subscribers is a great privilege and fitting extension of the Lab’s mission.

When will Birds of the World be launched?

The new Birds of the World platform will launch in early 2020. Until then, access to the existing Birds of North America will continue as normal. If you subscribe to BNA anytime between now and launch, you will automatically receive Birds of the World.

What will happen to my BNA account?

Everyone with an active BNA user account will automatically gain access to Birds of the World when it launches. That is, BNA subscription accounts will simply transition into a Birds of the World account. 

Will there be a price increase?

Birds of the World will be unprecedented in scope and scale. Our goal is to make it available to the widest possible audience and keep it accurate, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art. There may be a modest increase from Birds of North America prices, but it’s our goal to keep it affordable! 

Will American Ornithological Society members continue to get free access to Birds of the World?

Yes. Our free access arrangement with American Ornithological Society (AOS) still stands. By the way, our partnership is predicated on the need for the greater ornithological community to invest their time and expertise into helping the Cornell Lab keep Birds of the World content cutting edge and up-to-date. This Cornell Lab/AOS partnership led to great gains for Birds of North America and we will continue and build upon that partnership for Birds of the World. 

Are you a BNA author or revisor?

BNA authors and revisors will continue to have free author access to Birds of the World. We will be reaching out to BNA authors and revisors regarding the transition in the near future. If your contact information has changed since you were last in contact with BNA staff please let us know the best way to reach you. We look forward to answering any questions you might have!

What taxonomy does Birds of the World use?

Birds of the World will be underpinned by the same eBird/Clements taxonomy system as Birds of North America. The 2019 eBird’s taxonomy update that rolled out in August 2019 focused on bringing Clements and BirdLife/HBW taxonomies into closer alignment. Moving forward, eBird/Clements and BirdLife/HBW will continue to align.

How can I help?

This project aims to engage a global community of partners and contributors to build the biggest, most accurate, and deeply informative ornithological resource ever assembled. After launch, there will be opportunities to volunteer, edit, donate, and contribute. Stay tuned!

Any questions?

Please email us.