Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 p. 4

What is BirdTrack?

BirdTrack is an online bird recording scheme developed through an exciting partnership between BTO, RSPB and BirdWatch Ireland. It is a year-round recording scheme that will use bird-watching lists and other records to support species and site conservation at local, national and international scales. Results produced by BirdTrack will include mapping the migration and movements of birds and monitoring of scarce birds in Britain and Ireland. BirdTrack follows on from the successful Migration Watch project that looked at spring migration in 2002-2004. 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 of which we would like to know much more about their populations.

The development of BirdTrack is an on-going process and new features will be added to the website over the next two years. We intend to provide a comprehensive bird recording scheme that birdwatchers can use to store all of their bird-watching records. We will be working closely with county bird recorders to ensure that records are also available for use at a local level. With the permission of the observer, records will automatically be forwarded to the relevant county recorder together with full contact details of the observer. Over the next few months, together with county bird recorders and data managers, we will be looking at the best way of passing on records to bird clubs so that they can integrated into the various club recording systems.

We need lists!

The success of BirdTrack relies on collecting birdwatching lists. We need to gather a large number of lists at all times of the year from throughout Britain and Ireland. We prefer complete lists of birds (all species seen and heard) because the proportion of lists with a given species provides a good measure of frequency of occurrence that can be used to assess arrival and departure patterns, distributions and changes in status. Incomplete lists and casual records can also be entered because they too build our understanding of populations and so provide a comprehensive record of what you have seen.

Look at the results

The local and national results are available on the website for everyone to look at - you don't have to be a BirdTrack recorder. There are animated maps showing the arrival and departure of migrants and the seasonal movements of birds. For scarce species, such as Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Woodcock and Water Rail we will be building up a picture of their distribution throughout the year. You can also view your own records through specially designed features.

How to take part

Visit the BirdTrack website (www.birdtrack.net) to register as n recorder (it's free!). If you took part in Migration Watch please use the same user name and password and you will be able to access all of your Migration Watch records. If you are new to the website, there are a few simple steps to get set up as n recorder. You can then start to enter your bird records. If you have any queries please contact the BirdTrack Organiser by e-mail: birdtrack@bto.org,

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