Submitting records to CBWPS and why it’s important

Swift Report - Winter 2022

Sending your bird records into CBWPS has never been more important. As our birdlife faces ever increasing pressure from the modern world the data you provide makes conserving our    birdlife a much easier task. After all, if we know what our bird populations are we can monitor trends and proactively help protect     species.

We also work alongside many conservation charities and provide data free of charge to help conserve birdlife and protect habitats. The experience of our volunteers and the connections they have within Cornwall mean that rare and scarce breeding birds can be protected, documented safely, and are given the best chance of success.

There is also a social element to sharing our sightings and with care and by following the countryside code we can all enjoy our sightings of rare and scarce visitors that Cornwall is renowned for. Friendships are often made and old faces re-acquainted when a rarity turns up. The wonderful atmosphere at the Roller site on its first twitch-able day was a great example of this, great friends and birding pals from all over the county enjoying a magnificent rarity as a group.

So what is the best way of sending in your records? The good news is that we have many ways of receiving your sightings and it is up to you how you send them, whichever way works best for you is also perfect for us too. There are some guidelines along the way which help when editing, which I always appreciate people following.

BTO BirdTrack – Bird Track is a free bird recording app        designed by the British Trust for Ornithology which you can use on your smartphone. You can record as many birds as you like all day every day in this easy-to-use app which also lets you view trends and contribute your data to BTO science. On a county level all the data which is submitted in Cornwall is accessible to us too thanks to the kindness of the BTO. I would suggest this is a great system for all types of birder no matter how often you use it. Top tip: if you are a very active birder who keeps a lot of records, this may be the best way of submitting records. More information can be found here: www.bto.org.uk

Ebird – Another brilliant birding app EBird is a free-to-use recording app managed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A truly    global project which helps conservation and science by sharing bird data with experts and conservation bodies throughout the world. For the birder Ebird also creates up-to-date maps for desired species which can help when planning trips to see new birds. We are also lucky enough to benefit from all the Cornish records that Ebird receive which also go into our database for inclusion in our annual bird report Birds in Cornwall.  Top tip: please let me know your unique Ebird observer number so I can credit your name to your sightings. More information can be found here: eBird – Discover a new world of birding…

Email our sightings team at [email protected] – our popular sightings page on the CBWPS website is often in the top 20 of all birding related web pages on the internet. We owe this to our members and contributors who make this page so interesting with their sightings. The bird news team comprises ten volunteers who make time for at least one evening a week to update the website and communicate with our members. We are always happy to help with bird identification and any bird related queries. Sometimes you may hear back from one of our friendly team informing you we have withheld a record from the website. This is usually to help protect vulnerable breeding species and also wintering birds which are suspectable to disturbance, such as roosting owls and birds of prey. We welcome all records and merely ask that you send them in a format which makes it easy to edit the website. Top Tip: actual counts are always more of a benefit to us than a list of species, please take the time to count the birds you see. More information can be found here: Submitting Records – Cornwall Bird Watching & Preservation Society (cbwps.org.uk)

Online Submission form on our website – our new look website has an online submission form which makes it easy to send your records into CBWPS and also share your bird photographs which may be used on the website or even in our annual bird report Birds in Cornwall (subject to permission from the observer). Top tip: by copying the simple example format on the online submission form you save our volunteers hours of editing time.

Contact me – You can contact me for any bird related enquiry in Cornwall and I will always do my best to help you. I will also be very grateful for any bird records that are sent to me. However, the main way that people send records directly to me is for species which may be compromised if they were to be publicised on our website, such as birds protected in the breeding season by law with Schedule 1 status. I pride myself on discretion and will only     divulge information if it is for the benefit of the bird.                 For instance, we often get enquiries from developers who wish to know whether protected species inhabit their land. The information you give me has saved several pairs of rare breeding birds such as Peregrine Falcon. Without your help these birds would be gone but thankfully we were able to help protect them and put a stop to would-be developers. I also welcome sightings of rare birds and actively encourage submission to British Birds Rarities Committee and our own County Rarities Committee so records can be saved into our ornithological history. An article on this subject will feature in a future Palores. Top Tip: You can also send your records to the county recorder via a spreadsheet which I can provide via email and I am also more than happy to receive records by post if you don’t own a computer.

I hope this article can help you along the way when submitting bird records to us and that it inspires you to send them in. As always if you have any further questions, I am available via email on [email protected].

Bob Bosisto 

Guillemots by Rupert Kirkwood
Sandwich Terns by Rupert Kirkwood