Habitat recording

Habitat recording is an essential part of the BBS. Please make a note of the habitat in your square every year using the categories shown on the back of the Habitat Recording Form.

•  We advise that habitat details are recorded on a reconnaissance visit OR following a count – please do not record birds and habitat at the same time.

•  Habitat is recorded separately for each of the ten 200 m sections, for the area within 25 m either side of the transect line.

•  If a section contains more than one main habitat type (e.g. woodland next to an arable field), you can enter details of both habitats. These are described as First Habitat and Second Habitat, but in many cases there will be two habitats of equal importance, in which case the order in which they are entered does not matter.

•  Please record the habitat in as much detail as you feel able, but note that Levels 1 and 2 are the most important. If you can, record the most appropriate Level 3 and 4 codes, but do not worry about leaving these blank.

For each transect section you can enter:

•  One Level 1 code (A – J), for the main habitat type, e.g. A: woodland.

•  One Level 2 code, for a particular category of the main habitat type, e.g. after A: woodland, you can enter 1: broadleaved.

•  Two Level 3 and two Level 4 codes. Levels 3 and 4 denote features of the main habitat type. For example, you can specify that the broadleaved woodland is coppiced, has low disturbance from people, has a dense shrub layer and dead wood present, choosing from the options in Levels 3 and 4.

Submitting your habitat data

When entering data online you can choose from the drop-down menus to enter the relevant habitat codes in each transect section. If you made a reconnaissance visit, keep your notes and input them with the bird records from your Early visit.

If major habitat change occurs on your square during the season, submit new habitat codes when entering the bird records from your Late visit. If submitting data on paper, enter the changed codes in the ‘Changed habitat’ table.

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