New Bedfordshire Bird Atlas

Starting in April 2007 and running for five years, the Bedfordshire Bird Club will be collecting data to produce a new county breeding bird atlas by surveying all 378 tetrads (2-km x 2-km squares) that include part of the county. This project will use exactly the same methods as were used in the two previous surveys thereby allowing direct comparisons. It is expected that the survey will reveal substantial changes in bird population and distribution since the last study was completed in 1992.

At the same time fieldworkers will be encouraged to engage in the fieldwork for the national Bird Atlas 2007-11, which is being jointly organised by the British Trust for Ornithology / BirdWatch Ireland / Scottish Ornithologists Club. That project covers the whole of the UK and Ireland and will map winter distributions as well as summer.

February 2015 update

It is completed!!

Thanks to a lot of hard work by many people we finished the last field work in summer 2011. This site now shows the final state of play as of the end of survey work. It is intended that this shall remain on-line for the forseeable future.

Beds Bird Club : February 2015

Bedfordshire Bird Atlas / Bird Atlas 2007-11 Co-operation

To allow the data which we are gathering as part of the local atlas project to be usable by the BTO for Bird Atlas 2007-11 we need to be able to provide a date for each record. Therefore, in future, when you submit on-line records to this site you will have to enter a minimum of month and year; of course if you are able to add the day as well please do so. The majority of records already received meet this criterion, so for most people there will be no obvious change.

As we enter the second month of the site's existence we have gathered more than 2500 records through the on-line record submission facility. It has always been a major driver behind the website initiative to make taking part in this survey as simple and as accessible to all as possible - we seem to be making some progress in that respect.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 24 June 2008

Bird Atlases 2007-11

As most of you know, the first breeding season of fieldwork for the new Bedfordshire Breeding Atlas was completed during 2007, while the first winter season of fieldwork for the BTO Bird Atlas was completed at the end of February 2008. Many thanks to those who participated and helped in various ways. A good start was made and results continue to be collated. Details can be found on the bird club's website and on the BTO's atlas website.

Much remains to be done over the next four years, and in the forthcoming breeding season both surveys will run concurrently. We hope that existing volunteers will continue their fieldwork and that many more of you will join in. The results of these important projects will in many ways set the agenda for ornithological research and conservation action for many years to come. It is an exciting opportunity to get involved, whatever your level of experience. Records from your garden, general birding, dedicated atlas visits or anywhere you happen to be are all valuable. When you go out atlasing, it doesn't matter how many or how few birds you see; the records you submit will all be equally important.

For the county breeding atlas, recording cards are obtainable from the organisers and the 10-km square stewards. All you have to do is note what species you see in a tetrad (2-km x 2-km square) and what evidence of breeding you observe, from territorial singing to adults collecting food for chicks. If you plan to make dedicated visits to specific tetrads, it would be most helpful to notify the organisers and stewards, so that coverage can be coordinated across the county.

For the BTO atlas, two survey methods are being used:

  • Roving Records of species seen and their breeding status can be submitted by anyone for any location within the county or indeed anywhere in Britain & Ireland. Paper forms are available or you can enter your records directly on the website. These records will be used to compile comprehensive species lists for each 10-km square. Please note that there are a couple of minor differences between the breeding codes used by the county and the BTO. Details are on the forms and cards.

  • In addition, the BTO use a quantitative method called Timed Tetrad Visits (TTV). This involves walking a route for one or two hours (the choice is yours) through a tetrad counting all the individual birds seen or heard. From these figures, we will be able to compare the relative abundance of each species between 10-km squares throughout the country. Two winter visits and two breeding season visits are required for any one tetrad. The tetrad needs to be allocated to you first to avoid duplication of effort, after which recording forms are available to you on the website, or paper forms can be posted. Details of tetrad allocations can be seen on the website, where you can also make a request, or contact the organiser directly.

We encourage people doing one or other of the atlases to do both, which in many cases simply means filling in two forms instead of one. A staggering total of 32 counties are running local atlases in conjunction with the British & Irish one. Without doubt, it is the most ambitious atlas project ever undertaken anywhere. Please help us make it a resounding success.

Rob Dazley, Local Atlas Organiser

Nigel Willits, BTO Atlas Organiser for Bedfordshire