SK58 BirdersSK58 Birders

Why Record Birds?
Updated 14-Apr-2023


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est. 1992

website est. 1996


Recording the areas birds is one of the key foundations upon which the group was formed. Initially paper records were compiled each year. With the advent of home computing our records were computerised from 1999 onwards. This enables the group to interrogate the records we hold far more effectively.

So what is a record? Basically a record is an occurrence of a specific species at a specific site. This is then submitted ideally by electronic means to the group and entered into a database of similar records. SK58 Birders receive between 7,000- 14,000 records a year from our 10km grid square SK58.

One of the main reasons for recording birds is to monitor changes in populations as a whole in the SK58 square or at specific locations. This is achieved through the submission of records from a variety of sources. The majority are bird sightings from a visit to a site(s) on a particular day, from ringing records by registered ringers, or simply from people who send in what they've seen in their gardens. Every two years SK58 Birders hold a survey of the whole square. By recording in a standard methodical way the results can be compared year on year thus allowing us to monitor species populations over years and decades.

With accurate records of birds from specific sites, records from particular areas can be extracted effectively. With habitats and areas under greater threat from development than ever before, these specific records can be used to object to planning applications as they are logged and linked to specific sites. A good, useful record contains additional information, such as number, behaviour, age/sex, breeding data, direction of flight etc... This is all very useful and makes a record more valuable.

SK58 submit its records to the Regional Recorder annually, these records go into the Yorkshire Naturalists Union database to create a bigger picture of the regions birds.

So what do I record? is a question we are asked. Basically everything. People tend not to record common birds such as Robins or Dunnocks as observers perceive these records are not valuable- on the contrary. Records of common birds are more valuable than records of rarities. Lots of Dunnock records for example from across the square, give the group and idea of population status. Records of rare birds are great as its always good to add to the areas list of birds and for the observers who find them.

You can submit your records in several ways. Ideally electronically via the groups recording form as PDF or MS Excel sheet Or you can send an email to the recorder, noting the Date, Species, Number, Gender, Location, Observer and any other comments. Records are classed by rarity- Locally Rare are assesed by SK58 Birders. Regionally rare records are assesed by a Committee of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union. Nationally rare species are assesed by The British Birds Rarities Committee.

Rare birds by definition are not common, so these "Description Species" require supporting information as these records are given special consideration. If you can, photograph the bird and if possible summon an experienced birder to corroborate your record.

A list of these Description Species can be found at the foot of the Species List page. This page also has links to what information is required. Descriptions are required for all species on the list without exception. Records with no description or which are rejected by the relevant county records committee will not be published by SK58 Birders.

A byproduct of the compilation of records is a small income from correlating records of specific species or for specific areas. These are usually sold to Environmental Consultancies. The group charges £50 per hour for this record extraction and compilation.

A group focused on recording the bird life of a single 10km square between Sheffield, Rotherham & Worksop

content & design by Andy Hirst