BIRDATA UPDATE - Mornington Peninsula
From Mornington Peninsula Newsletter March 2019
Have you ever wondered what happens to the bird call list that is made at the end of an outing? Well, since the inception of the observers group on the Peninsula, the bird lists were initially kept by Ian Dowling as Word documents. With burgeoning numbers of records, it was decided that it would be a good idea to maintain a spreadsheet. Over this period, Birds Australia encouraged members to submit their sightings for the Atlas Project. The process was somewhat unwieldy but some of our outings records found their way into the Atlas, largely due to the efforts of Ian.
In recent years, there was a realisation that while the branch spreadsheet serves its purpose to conserve our records, there was a risk of it being neglected and corrupted, so an effort was made to produce a second, more robust version of the spreadsheet as well as migrating the records to the new and improved BirdLife Australia’s Birdata database.
Recently, that target was achieved and about 30 years of records are now more accessible to members in Birdata. For example, if you want to get a current bird list for a particular locality or a list of Peninsula birds, this can be done through the Birdata portal.
Over the years, there have been a few individuals in the branch who have regularly contributed sightings and records to the Atlas and its successor, Birdata. Entries of sightings are important as they form the basis to understanding the composition of the Peninsula bird communities and how they evolve over time.
The quickening pace of technology has made it easier for “us mere mortals” to record our observations. We are now at the stage where you can identify a bird at a locality and directly enter the record on your smart phone! Although it may seem to be a daunting prospect to get into the boffin-like world of record keeping, We are encouraging our members to have a look at the Birdata portal and spend 20 minutes or so reading up on how to record and enter sightings. It is easier than you think!
More records mean a more comprehensive picture of the state of our Peninsula birds.
MP Database Coordinator.
Image: Counting birds at the Eastern Treatment Plant. Photo by Alison Kuiter