Global data entry

Many of you have told us you want to use BirdTrack to record the birds you’ve seen overseas, alongside your British and Irish records. Now with BirdTrack’s global data entry tool you can do just that! This exciting development

  • enables you to add records from birdwatching trips anywhere in the world
  • makes it even easier to add records
  • provides a way for you to contribute records to the second European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2)
  • makes it easier to pinpoint where you have been birdwatching

How does it work?

To begin adding your records from anywhere in the world, simply register/log in and follow the link (under Add Records) to ‘BirdTrack Beta’. You’ll find a different landing page and a simplified way to add records. Note that you can use this data entry tool to add all your sightings, including those from Britain and Ireland, although at first we'd recommend you continue to use the standard BirdTrack pages (or the smartphone apps) to submit your domestic records.

BirdTrack is under constant development and improvement and the global data entry portal is still a work in progress. We have not yet had the resources to build all of the desired features into the global data entry portal (you can’t yet ‘explore your world records’ for example), which is why we currently have a two-portal solution for adding records. The plan is to bring the two sites back into one single system over the next 12 to 18 months.

The global data entry portal is intuitive and easy to use but if you'd like further guidance, please see the short video below or read the notes here.

How can I help make BirdTrack even better?

Add your records!

Not only does this add to the valuable database that’s available for use in conservation science but it also improves the information about species distribution and frequency of occurrence, leading to more finely-tuned validation.

Tell a friend

If you like the new features, tell your birding friends! If you’re on Twitter, you can do this using the hashtag #birdtrack or by copying us in @BirdTrack. If you find something that doesn’t seem to be working, please let us know birdtrack [at] (subject: Feedback%20on%20BirdTrack%20global%20data%20entry) (by email) (not Twitter please – 140 characters are rarely enough to get the required level of detail).

Make a donation to develop BirdTrack 

BirdTrack's global data entry portal has been made possible thanks to some generous donations from a small group of BirdTrack Champions, to whom we are very grateful indeed. There's a lot more we'd like to do and we've had lots of ideas and developments suggested by people already using the system. Making BirdTrack even more usable and accessible is good for everyone; better ways to record your observations, more people entering their data and even more data to inform science and conservation.

We intend to keep building new features, but to provide these more rapidly we need your help. If you enjoy using BirdTrack and want it to be even better, please make a donation


Frequently Asked Questions

Will the records and places I enter via the global data entry tool be available in the original website?

All records for Britain and Ireland that are entered via the new interface will be fully compatible with the existing BirdTrack site, including the Explore My Records tool. Records from outside Britain and Ireland won’t be available in the existing BirdTrack site but in time, the functionality to explore and interact with them will be introduced.

Users of the App should be aware that records submitted using a baselist other than 'BirdTrack legacy' baselist will only be shown in the global data entry portal. The two portals are planned to be merged in the near future so this is only a temporary issue.

Why are there two parallel data entry systems?

Significant developments were needed to both the online application and the database behind it to support easier data entry and global bird recording. We wanted to make this available as soon as possible so that British and Irish birdwatchers’ records can contribute to EBBA2 from 2014 onwards. The transfer of certain elements of the existing BirdTrack website, such as Explore My Records, to the internationally-enabled interface will take a little longer (but rest assured we are working on it).

Is the BirdTrack App available worldwide?

Yes! You can record your sightings from around the world in the new version of the App which was released in March 2016. The new version is currently (April 2016) only available for iOS devices, but a version for Android devices will be released soon! Locations in this new version are based on lat/long rather than grid reference to ensure it can be used globally.

Why did I receive a validation message about a common species?

The system is clever enough to be able to ‘learn’ how common a particular species is based on the number of records received. Initially, the system will not have many records on which to base its decisions, but the more records we add, the more accurate the validation system will be (and the less often you will get messages about common species).

***This system will not be immediately operational upon the initial launch of global data entry but is coming soon***

How will my global records be used?

  • Records will be provided to relevant organisations for use at local, national and international scale for research and, ultimately, for conservation.
  • Visualisations of bird movements on cross-continental scale.
  • Revealing the timing of migration at all stages of the cycle, not just arrival on and departure from British/Irish breeding/wintering grounds.

Why are there different ‘baselists’ and which should I use?

The various baselists reflect differences in the taxonomic treatment of birds by different recording authorities. By having more than one list, BirdTrack not only offers observers a choice but also provides the flexibility to record birds using the most appropriate taxonomy for a particular country. Find out more about baselists.

Why are some species that I saw outside Britain and Ireland missing?

Taxonomic differences between fieldguides and recording authorities mean that some species names will appear to be missing (hence we offer a choice of baselists). If you can’t find the species you’re looking for, try an alternative English name or the scientific name, if you know it. If that doesn’t help, Wikipedia has information about taxonomy and usually gives a list of previous / alternative English names for any given species.

Why is the list of ‘existing birdwatching places’ missing some well-known sites?

The gazetteers of existing birdwatching sites are to be manually created by regional ‘managers’. Whilst BirdTrack’s global interface is in its infancy, many areas will not have a full set of existing birdwatching places. If you find this is the case, please create your own sites – ideally as polygons. If they are well-known birding spots, birdtrack [at] (subject: BirdTrack%20Top%20Birdwatching%20Place%20recommendation) (drop us an email) and we may be able to use your polygons for those sites and add them to the list of existing birdwatching places.

***This system will not be immediately operational upon the initial launch of global data entry but is coming soon***

Should I create my birdwatching places as points, lines or polygons?

Have a look at the guidance about creating your birdwatching places. This includes advice on how to choose which type of place to create and how to draw polygons.