We’ve had a few enquiries about how BUBO Listing differs from other online bird recording systems, notably BirdTrack (in Britain and Ireland) and eBird (predominantly in the US). We’re fans of all these systems, so thought it worth highlighting a bit about each.
WorldBirds is a global BirdLife International initiative that networks different online bird recording systems worldwide. The idea is that each country has its own recording system, but all are brought under a WorldBirds “umbrella”, from the WorldBirds portal at www.worldbirds.org. By entering your bird observations into a specific country system your data can be directly contributing to conservation efforts, locally, nationally and internationally. Wherever you are birding in the world, you can check the WorldBirds site to see if there is a system for that country. Many countries use a similar system, developed by BirdLife, RSPB and Audubon, although some have their own systems to meet differing local requirements.
BirdTrack is the Britain and Ireland member of the Worldbirds family, run by a partnership between BTO, RSPB, Birdwatch Ireland and Scottish Ornithologists’ Club. It tracks migration movements and distribution patterns of birds throughout Britain and Ireland, as well as providing facilities for observers to store and manage their own personal records. BirdTrack data directly supports species conservation through initiatives such as Bird Atlas.
eBird is a member of the WorldBirds family, originally launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, and primarily recording data for bird observations in North America. It recently expanded to support data entry worldwide, using the Clements checklist. With a vast amount of data submitted it allows any user to analyse this through a variety of graphs, maps and tables. eBird supplied data is provided to other organisations and systems including the western hemisphere Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) and the international Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).
The above systems primarily rely on users entering all their sightings whenever they are out birding. This data is generally held publicly, and is directly used in various conservation initiatives. With the backing of major conservation organisations we would encourage BUBO Listers to contribute where they can.
Understandably many birders do not have the time to enter all their sightings all their time, but may only want to record noteworthy sightings and keep track of their main lists. At the outset BUBO Listing was designed to appeal to all users no matter how deep their interest and involvement, and to be complementary to these systems. As such it has a few key objectives:
- data entry should be as simple, user-friendly and fast as possible – few people will continue to use a system that takes a considerable amount of their time to use
- users should only need to enter as much data as they are interested in – if a user is only interested in their World life list then they only have to enter new world ticks and are not forced to enter precise location information for them all; if they are interested in their local patch year list then they will enter more sightings. Effectively it is up to the user how much data to enter, and therefore how much time to spend
- related to both of the above, users shouldn’t need to enter similar data in two different places: many of our users do use eBird or BirdTrack as well, but it takes less effort for them to enter information into BUBO Listing
- BUBO Listing concentrates on providing features that birders want personally, whereas the WorldBirds systems tend to concentrate on getting the data that they need to meet other requirements
- lists should be appropriate for the location in question – throughout the world there are established authorities maintaining checklists for their locations. It therefore makes sense for sightings from a particular location to be based on that authority’s checklist, and, where possible, according to taxonomy and names of the best field guides to the location. For example, it makes little sense for me to enter a list for India using a Clements world checklist that includes species never before recorded in the country and, even for those species that do occur, uses different names from any of the field guides, or from those that birders I may meet would understand! We believe this is the key point that makes BUBO Listing the system of choice for bird listers anywhere in the world
In general we consider BUBO Listing more to represent the “fun” side of bird listing (click on the "Bubolisting" image for an illustration of this!) whereas the WorldBirds systems represent the “serious” side. Nothing wrong with being fun and serious at the same time, so we hope you will use and enjoy both!