Brian Caffrey, co-ordinator of BirdTrack for Irish partner organisation, Birdwatch Ireland, introduces this new tool for recording and managing your personal bird records, and contributing to a body of data that helps inform bird conservation on a local, regional, national and international level.
BirdTrack (www.birdtrack.net) is an exciting project that looks at migration movements and distributions of birds throughout Britain and Ireland. It 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 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.
In recent months a fantastic new BirdTrack Home Page has been launched.
It’s packed with interactive features to make BirdTrack more relevant to birdwatchers on a day-to-day basis and encourage even more people to get involved. There’s never been a better time to add your records. You can now explore maps to find out what has been seen locally or view graphs to see the arrival and departure times of our migrant species. You can also see which members of the BirdTrack community have been most active via the ‘Top BirdTrackers’ tables… and log in to see how your own stats compare!
In addition to the new website a superb new BirdTrack smartphone app is now available for free download, allowing BirdTrackers to enter bird sightings on the go. Download it free today from http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdtrack/taking-part/birdtrack-apps.
Jeff Copner from Co. Clare is one of Ireland’s top BirdTrackers. Here’s what he has to say about BirdTrack:
“The website is easy to use and it only takes a few minutes to enter my records at the end of a day’s birdwatching, while my photos are uploading. I can also use BirdTrack as a type of birdwatching dairy…I can look back at certain migrant species and see which dates I recorded them in (e.g. The arrival of Grasshopper Warblers at Lickeen Lake). All my records are used by BirdTrack, which is run by BirdWatch Ireland in Ireland, so I know my records are in the right place, and are available for use within conservation. Above all …it’s the best Birding List website on the net and its 100% free”
Do you use BirdTrack? Tell us what you think in the comments below.