Friday, October 12, 2012

Bigging-up the BTO Pt 1: BirdTrack

There are plenty of really good reasons to join the BTO: conservation, environment, education, research, good scientific practice and surveys. But for on-line interactivity you can’t beat spending a bit of quality time using BirdTrack. In their own words BirdTrack is: ‘The online bird recording system that increases the personal, local and national value of your sightings.’ The best way to explain what it is is to quote directly from the site:
‘BirdTrack is an exciting project, through a partnership between the BTO, the RSPB, Birdwatch Ireland, the Scottish Ornithologists' Club and the Welsh Ornithological Society, that looks at migration movements and distributions of birds throughout Britain and Ireland. BirdTrack provides facilities for observers to store and manage their own personal records as well as using these to support species conservation at local, regional, national and international scales.

                       The idea behind BirdTrack is that if you have been out birdwatching anywhere in Britain and Ireland, or simply watching birds in your garden, records of the birds you have seen (or indeed have not seen) can be useful data. Thus the scheme is year-round, and ongoing, and anyone with an interest in birds can contribute. Important results produced by BirdTrack include mapping migration (arrivals and departures) timings and monitoring scarce birds. We know very little about the timing of arrival and departure of winter visitors and this is just one area in which BirdTrack will provide useful information. There are also many scarce birds where we would like to know much more about their populations.' 

      If you are into listing, stats, graphs, listing and more lists then this is going to be right up your street. You have to sign-up, enter sites and sightings etc. as you would expect but the stuff you can generate and the info. it provides on your birding is awesome. There is a vast range of reports that you can generate and download. Visit lists, site lists, species lists, combinations of all lists generated by your data. You can find out which birds have been seen in your area, get up-to-the-minute migration news, monitor population changes and lots and lots of other good stuff. Your county recorder can use your observations too.


I urge all birders who have not yet had a look at this on-line tool to do so. Whilst there why not download a list of species for any location in Britain or Ireland - put in your post code and find out what's been in your area.
Click on the following link. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

As an example I have just returned from birding Kilvington Lakes in Notts. When I got home I entered my records into BirdTrack; took about ten minutes, and the program allowed me to download a printable list of today's sightings, it up-dated my total species list for the lakes, the year and the month . Today's sightings are available to the Notts recorder and the locality species list is improved. On top of this I have added valuable information to the BTO's data bank.



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