Birdwatchers urged to submit their sightings
A growing global family of internet-based systems can now collect observers' personal birdwatching records and make sure the data contributes to conservation around the world.
Worldbirds is a joint initiative by BirdLife International and two of its Partners, the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and Audubon (BirdLife in the US). It links together existing and new internet-systems to collect and report on bird populations and movements in different countries around the world.
Development of Worldbirds has focused on a generic core system that can be tailored to a country to support its individual preferences and requirements (e.g. language and cultural changes, country species lists and names, maps and site lists). Information belongs to the participating country partner, is validated by them, and can feed directly into their conservation action.
The newest addition to the global initiative is from Africa and will be run by NatureKenya (BirdLife in Kenya). The key aims of Kenya Birdfinder are to increase participation among individuals interested in birds within Kenya, and to ensure that data are collected from visiting birders. Many of these records become 'lost' information that sit, for example, in personal notebooks, unpublished trip reports or on data sheets that have not been computerised. There are probably millions of bird records that fall into this category, many of them for countries that have very high bird diversity but no common system of monitoring their numbers.
"It was extremely encouraging to learn that many of the attendees at the recent launch were enthusiastic birdwatchers keen to learn more about Kenya Birdfinder. It is these individuals who will be integral to the success of the system by submitting their observations and empowering our citizen science network through getting people involved." —Ian Fisher, Manager of the Worldbirds project at the RSPB
How you can help
Are you a professional birdwatcher or do you record birds for fun? To contribute your records, visit the Worldbirds web page and select your destination country. This takes you to the appropriate system where your bird records can be entered. For example, click on Kenya and visit Kenya Birdfinder. You can add your data, find out what other people have seen, and create your own reports, maps and checklists.
Keep visiting www.worldbirds.org regularly and watch it grow as other country systems come on-line and join the global family. Wherever you travel, your observations can make a difference by helping us understand birds more completely and by making a valuable contribution to their future conservation.