SatBird: a Dataset for Bird Species Distribution Modeling using Remote Sensing and Citizen Science Data

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Datasets and Benchmarks Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Mélisande Teng, Amna Elmustafa, Benjamin Akera, Yoshua Bengio, Hager Radi, Hugo Larochelle, David Rolnick


Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, impacting ecosystem services necessary to ensure food, water, and human health and well-being. Understanding the distribution of species and their habitats is crucial for conservation policy planning. However, traditional methods in ecology for species distribution models (SDMs) generally focus either on narrow sets of species or narrow geographical areas and there remain significant knowledge gaps about the distribution of species. A major reason for this is the limited availability of data traditionally used, due to the prohibitive amount of effort and expertise required for traditional field monitoring. The wide availability of remote sensing data and the growing adoption of citizen science tools to collect species observations data at low cost offer an opportunity for improving biodiversity monitoring and enabling the modelling of complex ecosystems. We introduce a novel task for mapping bird species to their habitats by predicting species encounter rates from satellite images, and present SatBird, a satellite dataset of locations in the USA with labels derived from presence-absence observation data from the citizen science database eBird, considering summer (breeding) and winter seasons. We also provide a dataset in Kenya representing low-data regimes. We additionally provide environmental data and species range maps for each location. We benchmark a set of baselines on our dataset, including SOTA models for remote sensing tasks. SatBird opens up possibilities for scalably modelling properties of ecosystems worldwide.