Many of you may be interested in the BBC Springwatch webcams:
The world famous BBC Natural History Unit is streaming high quality video live on the internet direct from spring nests for the next two weeks, and for the first time ever these are available all across the world! UK audiences have been glued to their screens; now you too can watch Grey Heron nestlings, fledgling Redstarts, Barn Owls in infra-red and the first few days of Pied Flycatcher life (with many more videos to come), all from Springwatch's stunning location at Ynys-hir in Mid Wales.
A great source of the latest news items related to birds, biodiversity and conservation around the world is the BirdLife Community. In the last few days they have announced a major initiative to determine conservation priorities across vast mountainous regions of eastern Africa as well as both positive and negative news regarding single species: whilst the satellite tracking of the globally endangered Sociable Lapwing received a boost with signals from a bird in southern Uzbekistan, it is saddening to read of yet more illegal shooting in Malta, this time of a juvenile Osprey just hatched this June.
The BirdLife Community also maintains a list of extinct species which was depressingly updated earlier this year with the addition of the Madagascan Alaotra Grebe. This is one list we do not intend to introduce to BUBO Listing...
If you find yourself overloaded trying to keep up with the latest in bird news and conservation, then at least check out the important stuff at the BirdLife Community!
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.
Nice idea though it was, WorldBirds seems to have been discontinued.
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!
You may have heard about the devastating forest fire on the island of Madeira which has almost completely destroyed one of the few existing breeding colonies of the endangered Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira. As reported on the BirdLife website, 65% of this years chicks have been killed, and BirdLife have started an appeal to attract funds for emergency conservation work.
To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/zinos-petrel-disaster.
The excellent Collins Bird Guide has finally released its second edition. This book, subtitled "The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe" and authored by Lars Svensson with illustrations by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, is widely regarded as the best European field guide ever published. No self-respecting birder can afford to be without it; whether Europe-based or not everyone with an interest in birds will benefit from it. In fact, if any BUBO Lister does not already own it they should be embarrassed! And anyone who does have it should immediately buy this update, with additional text and illustrations!
You can also help support BUBO Listing by buying it through the BUBO Store.