New Birdata feature: Bushfire Assessment

In order to map the impact of the recent fires on our native birds and their habitats, we’ve added a Bushfire Assessment feature to our Birdata surveys. The next time you go birding with Birdata, please include a Bushfire Assessment in your survey.

How to use the Bushfire Assessment feature

Using the Bushfire Assessment feature on the mobile app
On the mobile app
Using the Bushfire Assessment feature on the website
On the website

Bird surveys during COVID-19

It is unfortunate that this new feature has arrived at a time when we are also all dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 public emergency. We therefore ask that you ensure that any bird survey you are undertaking complies with the latest relevant advice. If you decide to undertake surveys during this time, stay local, and remember to remain at least 1.5 metres away from other people while you’re doing your birding.

About the Bushfire Assessment feature

The 2019/2020 bushfire season was heartbreaking and unprecedented, and for many of us, there was little we could do but watch on in horror and give thanks to the brave men and women working hard on the front lines to save what they could.

Now that the smoke has cleared, we are working in earnest to understand the full impact on our birds and what it means for our long-term conservation planning.

With thanks to WildlifeLink for their generous gift to support this undertaking, BirdLife Australia is pleased to announce that we have added a new bushfire assessment feature to Birdata.

We’re asking you to help us map the impact of fire on our birds and their habitats.

With the Bushfire Assessment feature, you can provide high level data on:

  • bushfire extent
  • bushfire intensity
  • presence of supplementary feeding

This data is invaluable and will provide crucial information about bird population trends and species’ conservation status.

The bushfire assessment feature is optional, easy to use, and can be done in under a minute.

It is integrated into the existing survey process, so there is no disruption to your usual routine.

Regardless of how and where you choose to survey, please follow advice from the relevant authorities when accessing any outdoor areas that may be closed due to the potential for COVID-19 transmission, stay local, and remember to remain at least 1.5 metres away from other people while you’re doing your birding.

App & Browser

The new bushfire assessment feature can be used in the browser and the app. To access it, open the app or website as normal and follow the usual steps to start entering survey data. When choosing a Birdata program, choose either General Birdata or Birds In Backyards. You will find the tool on the “Survey Details” screen.

The Bushfire Assessment festure is available on the website and the mobile app
Figure 1: When using the app, simply tap on the new “Bushfire Assessment” field to start adding data about the bushfire effects on your chosen survey site. Similarly, if you’re using the web portal, click the “Record bushfire assessment” toggle to get started with your bushfire assessment

Shared and Personal Sites

We encourage you to undertake a bushfire assessment anywhere you wish, whether that survey site is new or an old favourite. This might include sites you haven’t visited for years but which you suspect have been burnt in the past bushfire season.

Survey locations can be a personal site, such as your own backyard or property. When surveying a new personal site, please use a standardised survey type such as a 2ha, 20 minute survey or a 500m area search.

Users are also encouraged to survey at Shared Sites that are part of our national monitoring network. These are specific public sites that are particularly important to our understanding of bird population trends. More information can be found at our Share Sites webpage.

On our Shared Sites webpage, you can filter to show fire affected sites only
Figure 2: On our Shared Sites webpage, you can filter to show only those sites affected by fire

Most Shared Sites are identified in purple on the location map screen, except those that we know or suspect were affected by bushfires. Those sites are indicated in red. We will be updating known bushfire affected sites as more data comes in.

Some areas may be still unsafe or closed due to damage caused by the summer bushfires. If you are uncertain about being able to access your planned site, please check with the local authorities before doing so. As always, your safety is paramount to us!

Happy birding and stay safe,

The Birdata Team

Birdata

The Tony & Lisette
Lewis Foundation
through a WildlifeLink
grant funded the
Birdata app and
the original Birdata

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