April 2014: For the first time ever all of Britain and Ireland’s birds have been mapped digitally. More than 3,500 maps showing the distribution, range change and abundance for over five hundred different species of bird that have been recorded in Britain and Ireland since 1968 can now be accessed on line.
|The map shows that the corncrake |
has experienced huge habitat loss since 1968
This huge resource has been produced by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), based on bird records collected by volunteers for bird atlas projects run in partnership with BirdWatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) over a period of more than 40 years.
It illustrates how different species have coped over the last 45 years and which ones have flourished and which have declined. For example it shows how the huge range loss the corncrake has experienced and the spectacular recovery of the Marsh Harrier, which was down to a single breeding pair in the early 70s.Dr Simon Gillings, BTO lead scientist on the project said, “To finally see all these maps in one place is tremendous but it is the ability to toggle between different maps for a species and see its range shrinking or expanding before your eyes that really brings home how some of these species are changing. These maps raise many questions, many of which are addressed in detail in the published bird atlases, but we still have much to learn.”