Welcome to BirdLife Australia’s new Birdata web portal. Here’s a few things you need to know to make your birding count. Birdata was formerly the online tool for entering data into the Atlas of Australian Birds. With the redesign, Birdata expands to take in data from the Atlas project and also from various dedicated monitoring projects such as Shorebirds 2020 and WA Black-Cockatoos. Birdata is the most convenient and efficient method of contributing to these programs.
Register to use Birdata
Everyone is required to sign up for a BirdLife username to access the new web portal and app, including existing Birdata users.
- Click on the Sign Up button at the top of the page or ‘Create a new account’ in the app
- Fill out the online registration form
Your new login details will be sent to you in a confirmation email. Once you have your login details you can start using the app and web portal immediately. Please note, your BirdLife Australia username is not the same as your Atlas or member number or Shorebirds login, although you can choose this as your new username.
Existing users will not be able to see historical data, existing surveys, or access the reporting functionality for up to 48 hours until your new login is synchronised with your old login.
Note: Organisations, groups, and schools are unable to sign up online. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and we will set up a BirdLife username for your group to access the web portal and mobile app.
How to record, submit and manage your data
The menu items across the top of the web portal link to pages you have access to when logged in. You must have a BirdLife Australia username and password to access “My Data”, “Record Survey” and “Programs & Regions”.
This is your personal data page where you’re able to view and edit your surveys, and download your data. Your species list can be viewed and refined by date range or survey point using the filter.
The map shows the locations of your survey points.
How to use the interactive map
The map is interactive so you’re able to zoom in and out. Move the cursor over the map and double click to zoom in, or use the +/- buttons near the bottom right of the map, or use the scroll wheel on your mouse. As you zoom in you can click the “Restrict to visible map area” button on the left underneath the Filter to limit the number of surveys displayed in the table.
How to find a survey
In the table below the map, your survey points are listed. Surveys can be refined using the Filter on the left. You can do that by entering a date range or by typing in a Survey Point Name. In addition, the order of the listed surveys can be changed by clicking on the My Survey and Date headers. Then to view the survey details and species reported, click on a survey in the table.
How to edit a survey
To edit an existing survey, click on the survey you want to edit and a survey summary box appears. In the top right corner you’ll see an Edit Survey button, click on that. That will take you to the main Record Survey tab. Survey date, time and type can be changed within the Details tab. Sighting details such as species, counts, breeding can be changed within the Sightings tab, then the survey can be resubmitted within the Review and Submit tab.
How to export your data
The Export button allows you to export your data in CSV or JSON format. Note: Remember to use the Restrict button otherwise you’ll export all of your data. The Date and Survey Point filter allow you to further restrict your data export.
This is your data entry area. A new set of tabs will guide you through this.
Program – Conservation programs are listed (more will be added in future), select the one you’re collecting data for. It’s possible that you may have collected data for more than one program, select the main one you’ve collected data for. Note: all program data are stored in Birdata, so there’s no need to enter a survey more than once.
Location – In this tab you specify the location of your survey. This can be a repeat survey at one of your existing survey points, a new survey point or at an existing shared site which has already been set up for observers to use.
If you have an existing personal survey point you can either:
- Start typing the survey point into the search box
- Zoom in on the map and click on an existing survey point to choose your survey location
To create a new survey point you can either:
- Click “Enter GPS coordinates” and enter the coordinates of your survey location
- Zoom into your survey area and click on the centre of your survey site.
To enter a survey at a Shared Site (previously called Group Atlas Site), simply choose a point within the Shared Site polygon. To refine what Shared Sites you can view go to the “Display shared sites on map” drop down menu underneath the ‘Enter GPS coordinates’ button and choose the appropriate selection.
Details – Enter survey details: survey date, start time, duration, survey type and comments.
Survey date – defaults to today’s date. You can either overwrite or click in box and select from calendar.
For surveys of greater than one day, select the box “Survey conducted over multiple days”. Then you can enter the finish date of the survey.
“Incomplete survey” – It’s assumed that you recorded all species within your survey area, if you didn’t, check this box
For a “General Birdata Survey” the ‘Survey type’ options are the traditional Atlas methods, however they include an ‘Embedded Survey’ option which allows users who have conducted a ‘2ha 20 min Search’ to also record additional species seen outside the 2ha area, as well as before and after the 20 minute period. That will be classified as a ‘500m Area Search’.
Sightings – Enter the species you recorded on the survey here.
Species are added by typing the species common name into the “Search by species name” box. The lookup is predictive and refines the search as letters are entered. Once your species name appears, click to select. To remove the species, click the X on the right side of the page. If you are entering a species which is out of normal range, a message “Species out of current estimated range” appears. If you’re sure it was this species, leave it on your list and enter a comment in the Notes field to support your record.
Count – Default is P (Present). To add the number of birds, enter a number into the ‘Count’ box.
Breeding Activity – Select from the drop down menu, if applicable. Note that there are different breeding categories which we haven’t used before.
Notes – Add comments if you think they would be useful. Useful comments may refer to flying over, heard only, interesting behaviour or a comment which will help with data vetting.
Review & Submit – This screen allows you to review the data you’ve entered. If changes are required then the “ISSUES” are clearly listed. To correct these or other errors you’ll need to go back to the appropriate tab and make the alterations. Once you’re happy with everything and have met the survey requirements, click “Submit Survey”.
This allows you to explore Birdata by viewing maps, statistics, etc. Data can be filtered by Area, Date Range, Month, Survey Type and Program. Regional Group Administrators will be able to view individual User data and Export data for the area, species and date range that they’re interested in. Note that without setting any filters and hitting Export will result in exporting the whole dataset which will create a massive file – try to avoid doing that!
Vetting is done from this Tab, but can only be done by selected Regional Group representatives. Choose the appropriate Regional Group from the drop down menu, then enter a species to vet. At the bottom left of the map a “Vet sightings” button appears. For vetting you’ll need to view the map at large scale (zoomed in) as then you can see the individual records (as opposed to the records in grids at small scale). To vet records, click the “Vet sightings” button and details of the records will be displayed on your screen. Remember to click the “Restrict to visible map area” box, otherwise all of the national records will be listed. Vetters can see the vetting status of a record and can make suggestions for reclassification. It’s important that a comment is added to assist the Moderators.
PROGRAMS & REGIONS
This area gives users the opportunity to see what survey work has been done in their area and where the gaps in survey coverage are. Data can be filtered by Bird Group area and Program. Layers can also be added so you can check out a specific IBA or Shorebird count area. Hopefully users will locate sites which haven’t been surveyed recently and be encouraged to do a survey there.
Getting as many repeat surveys done at the same site is very important to BirdLife Australia, as they form the basis of most of the monitoring and conservation analysis work we do. To help facilitate repeat surveys, a number of BirdLife Programs are setting up shared sites which provide information of where these sites are and how to survey them. New sites will be added in consultation with the Programs and different Regional Groups.
The “Shared Sites” can be filtered by Survey Type, State, Regional Group and Program as well as by zooming in on the map and clicking on “Restrict to visible map area”. From the “Sites” list, click on the site and details will be displayed showing the site boundaries and instructions on how to access and survey the site. To enter a survey, click on the “Record Survey at this site” button.
It is important to know what type of survey you are conducting when collecting data. See the Survey Techniques Guide for details on different survey types.
Did you know?
The value of the data you collect during a survey in Birdata is determined by the type of survey you conduct. The most valuable surveys are the 2-ha,20 min Search, Area Searches and Embedded Surveys. Incidental and Fixed Route Searches provide only observation value and are not used to estimate population trends of species. Bird Lists only have recreational value indicating the presence or absence of a species.