After the first three years of records good coverage has been achieved but evidence of breeding is still limited, even for the most common species. On this page we try to help observers improve their levels of breeding evidence. One piece of advice, take a list of codes with you, either on one of the BTO cards or paste a list in your notebook.
Many observers are completing TTVs in spring but not recording any breeding evidence at that time. Usually birds will be found by their singing (Code S) or by being in the right habitat (Code H). Also, a pair will often be seen while doing the TTV (Code P) or one seen carrying nest material (B) or food for young (FF). Sometimes, a displaying bird like a Lapwing will be seen (Code D). All codes should be inserted when TTVs are done. If you forgot to add the codes previously add them now as Roving records thereby at least recording the birds as Possible breeders.
We accept TTVs are not the ideal time to collect breeding evidence needing more lengthy observation so Roving visits will be essential on top of the TTV findings.
An explanation of the breeding codes can be found here. The details are on the TTV instructions provided by the BTO.
Some species start breeding very early in the year. Species to watch out for are listed here:
Additional help is in the table.
Note: The BTO website may question what it calls ‘out of season’ breeding records when you enter them. Don’t worry about this, it is intended to make you think twice, not delete the entry.
Some species breed in many months so, for example, watch out for Robins, Woodpigeons and Collared Doves at all times of the year.
We have some high priority species requiring special attention in the breeding season. These are listed here. Some of these were species found breeding during the last Atlas survey period but which have still to be found this time. We also list less frequent species where proven breeding has been very limited this time and finally, species where the tetrads with breeding confirmations are running at less than 50% of the previous Atlas. All these are the birds where we would like to concentrate efforts in the last survey period - from April to July 2011.
To assist surveyors we have produced a table here of 69 species with advice and guidance on breeding periods, nest site locations and ideas for finding breeding evidence for each of them based on experience. All of our priority species and many others are covered.
Guidance on appropriate fieldcraft in a few main habitats is also provided here.
Finally, the pages Distribution Maps enable you to see any of these species and the tetrads where they still need to be confirmed breeders or at least possible or probable.
If you have any questions please email berksbirdatlas berksoc.org.uk
Colin Wilson - 5 March 2011