Using the Interactive Map

The map will look something like this when opened:

Click-and-drag to move the map. (The arrow keys will do this as well.)

Use the scroll-wheel on your mouse, or the Zoom control in the upper-left to zoom in or out. You can also hold down the Shift key while you click-and-drag with the mouse to zoom to a specific area on the map.

The legend in the upper-right corner shows which bird is being mapped. Click on the bird name to open the species account page for that bird. (The page will open in a new tab or window so as not to disturb the map.) The legend also shows the color that is assigned to each region (atlas block, county, ecological units), determined by the highest evidence code recorded for the species. You can toggle each color on or off by clicking its entry in the legend. For example, if you only want to see blocks where the breeding evidence is “confirmed” simply click the other entries to hide them. The “not surveyed” and “not observed” blocks have been toggled off in the image above.

When you hover the pointer over a region a small info-window will appear in the lower-right corner of the map containing details about that region.

The Menu button in the upper-left corner opens a tabbed window containing the controls to adjust various settings. Click a tab along the top of this dialog to display the controls. Click the X in the upper-right of the menu window to close it.

Select a bird

The list of qualifying birds is continually refined as you type in the selection box. All birds with the current sequence of letters appearing either in their name or in their 4 letter abbreviation are displayed. Scroll through the resulting list to select the desired species.

There is also a button that will select a species at random.

Map layers

There are 3 different map layers available. Click on a heading to display the controls for that layer. Click the heading again to hide the controls. Each layer’s opacity can be controlled individually depending on your needs.

1. Breeding evidence, by region

This is where you can select the regions (atlas block, county, ecological units, custom) to assign colors based on their sighting evidence. Choices are

  • All blocks
  • Priority blocks
  • Counties
  • Ecological provinces
  • Ecological sections
  • Ecological subsections
  • Entire state
  • Custom area

If the “All blocks”,  “Priority blocks only” or “Custom area” option is selected you will also have an option to show the boundaries of one of the other regions, such as counties.

“Custom area” behaves slightly differently than the other options. A circle with a specified radius will appear if you click anywhere on the state map. The breeding evidence list shows the highest evidence category recorded for each species from all of the blocks with centers inside this circle. The list also provides an option to change the size of the circle. The legend shows the number of qualified blocks for each sighting evidence category.

2. Predictive Breeding Distribution

There is a checkbox that toggles a layer that displays the results of the statewide distribution modelling for the species. (This layer is not available for every species.)

3. Base map

Select from several background maps. Options include aerial imagery, maps showing detailed boundaries of Wildlife Management Areas, road maps, stylized maps, and no map at all.


Displays a pie chart showing the sighting distribution of the current bird species in either all of the blocks in MN, or just the priority blocks. For convenience, you can toggle between those 2 choices here. This does the same thing as changing the selection in the “Breeding evidence, by region” section in the Map layers tab.

Click the 3 bars icon on the upper-right corner of the chart to download a copy of the chart in a variety of formats.



Coloring options

This control allows you to change the color scheme used to depict the evidence codes for the regions. The best option may vary, depending on the base map being used.


This will attempt to pinpoint your location on the map. When you click the “Show my location” button you will be prompted by the browser to allow location access. Answer yes and it will attempt to find your current position using the best source available – e.g. your device’s GPS, IP address, cell tower location. It will tell you the estimated accuracy, and will place a marker on the map at that location. You can click on the marker to see the time and coordinates, or to remove the marker.


The help tab (?) provides brief help on using the map. It also contains a link to this page for more details.

Click a location on the map to generate a pop-up window listing the evidence for each species spotted in that region. The region being detailed will depend on what is currently being shown on the map – i.e. block, county, etc. The selected region will be outlined in red on the map.

As a convenience shortcut, you can click on a bird name in the list to change the bird being mapped. This has the same effect as using the “Select a bird” feature in the main menu.

As another convenience shortcut, controls are provided in this window to allow switching to a different region delineation, for example from block to county. Clicking on the region name in the list window displays a dropdown list of the available choices. Changing the region here has the same effect as changing the “Breeding evidence, by region” selection in the Map layers tab of the menu. The map and evidence list will be updated accordingly, referring to the location coordinates of the original mouse click to determine which of the new regions is highlighted.

Checkboxes at the top of the list provide various sorting options, and allow toggling between listing all species, or just those species that were observed in the selected region.

If you are showing a custom area you will be able to adjust the size of the circle.

Use the “View this list in a printable window” button to open the list in a new browser tab or window so that it can be printed easily. (You might have to adjust your browser settings to allow pop-up windows from this site.) For a better fit on the page, the list will be formatted to use 2 columns when the listing is printed.

The very nature of interactive maps in the browser makes them tricky to send to a printer. The map is redrawn on the printer “canvas”, but the results can vary depending on the browser being used, and the fact that this app doesn’t know much about such things as your paper size or orientation. So, you might have to do a little experimentation to get the results you are looking for. Try using a different browser if you are having trouble. MS Edge is particularly troublesome – use its settings option to open the page with Internet Explorer.

Here are some other tips:

  • The map is drawn starting from the upper-left corner of what is shown on your display, so position your region of interest accordingly.
  • If necessary, the legend will automatically be shifted to fit on the upper-right side of the page, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it. The Menu button and zoom slider control will automatically be hidden on the printed page.
  • Use Print Preview to see what the results will be before printing. This is done automatically when printing from Chrome. Select File >> Print Preview in the Firefox or Internet Explorer menu. Cancel and adjust the map zoom and position until you get your desired results.
  • Firefox: If the colored boxes don’t show up in the legend select the Page Setup >> Format & Options >> Print Background (colors & images) checkbox option.
  • If all else fails you can just use the maps that already have been generated on the species account pages.