Bird Atlas 2007-2011
The most recent bird atlas project took place over four winters and four summers between November 2007 and July 2011. It aimed to:
- Map the distribution of all bird species
- Generate information on patterns of relative abundance
- Quantify distribution changes
- Inform conservation priorities
- Engage a new generation of recorders
This atlas was a partnership of BirdWatch Ireland, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Scottish Ornithologists Club. Here in Ireland the project received funding from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Heritage Council and the Environmental Protection Agency.
So how did we do it?
Two fieldwork methods were used. As part of the Roving Records, bird record from every 10-km square were collected, which were used to describe the distribution range. The Timed Tetrad Visits (TTV's) method gathered records from tetrads (2 x 2-km squares) and were used to generate information on relative abundance of a species within a 10-km square.
The atlas relied on the inputs of more than 40,000 observers across Britain and Ireland, almost 2,000 in Ireland. For more on coverage in Ireland and some of the headline project stats, click here
What are the key messages for Ireland?
This atlas has shown that there has been considerable change across Britain and Ireland for many species and species groups. In the YouTube video below Brian Caffrey, the Irish Bird Atlas Coordinator, presents some of the key findings for Ireland. Presentations further down the page provide more detailed information on these key findings
Large-scale declines in many farmland birds over the past forty years. This example shows the decline in abundance of Yellowhammer since the 1990's. For more on this click here
Ireland's breeding waders are in poor shape - with almost all species showing massive declines in range and abundance. For more on this click here
Significant changes in patterns of relative abundance for many species - particularly sub-Saharan migrants, such as Willow Warbler which appear to be shifting north/ northwestwards in range. This map shows a decline in abundance in southeast Britain and an increase throughout most of Ireland and Scotland. For more on this click here
Some staggering range recoveries and colonisations. The Buzzard has increased by a massive 1980% over the past 40 years in Ireland, while the Great Spotted Woodpecker has colonised Ireland since the 1988-91 Breeding Atlas, with breeding records submitted for 43 10-km sqaures.