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Bird science gets technological boost

BTO partners BirdGuides….

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) will mark a new partnership with BirdGuides Ltd at the 2009 British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water. BirdGuides are releasing two new interactive reference works produced in association with the BTO. This software documents the nesting habitats of over 700 species from across Europe, and includes data from the BTO's Nest Record Scheme. They will also be announcing the appointment of a jointly funded bird-news manager. ‘Better birding through technology' from BirdGuides combined with high-quality bird science from the BTO will deliver powerful and accessible new resources for birders. To launch this partnership, BirdGuides in association with the BTO is publishing the definitive digital identification guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of over 700 bird species found across the Western Palearctic region. A UK and Ireland edition is also available. With the help of a dedicated band of fellow nest finders, authors Peter and Richard Castell have spent the past 35 years recording the breeding biology of the region’s avifauna, documented with 9,000 superb photographs. Dr Dave Leech, Head of the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme is delighted with the results: “These guides are a testament to the huge contribution that the efforts of enthusiastic amateur naturalists continue to make to ornithology. As a reference resource, they are easily the most comprehensive of their kind, containing huge numbers of photographs as well as summary data from the BTO Nest Record Scheme dataset.” A new staff position jointly funded with the BTO will enable BirdGuides to extend its news gathering activities, generating an enhanced flow of bird sightings. These are delivered via birdguides.com, direct to computers, mobile devices and via SMS. The new team member will also help to expand the range of articles and news reports on BirdGuides' popular BAFTA-winning webzine. Dr Max Whitby, Chairman of BirdGuides, is delighted about the partnership. "We feel a strong sense of common purpose with the BTO. BirdGuides generates a constant stream of valuable sightings that in time will benefit the BTO's scientific activities. Furthermore, we can offer the BTO direct contact with the wider birding community through our website and news services." The BTO Director, Dr Andy Clements, said “This is an exciting partnership for the BTO, and BirdGuides. We each bring different strengths to the collaboration and we believe that this team approach will result in great benefits and improved services for our members and supporters”. NB The BTO’s Nest Record Scheme is funded by the BTO/JNCC partnership. Since 1939, volunteer nest recorders have visited birds’ nests to collect information on the timing of breeding and the success of the attempts monitored. The resulting dataset contains over 1.3 million records of individual nesting attempts, from which long-term trends in breeding success are calculated, allowing Government and conservation organisations to determine the causes of population declines. See http://www.bto.org/nrs for more info.

4th July 2014