BTO Garden BirdWatch is coordinated from the BTO headquarters at Thetford in Norfolk by a team of five, helped by other staff, regional ambassadors and, at busy times of year, by other volunteers. The Garden BirdWatch team deals with all the different aspects of the project, from the many jobs that make up the day-to-day running, through to other tasks like data analysis, promotion and development of new components.
Having a small team dedicated to a single project makes the whole process of managing the scheme that much easier. Of course, the most important part of Garden BirdWatch is the volunteers sending in information on the birds using their gardens.
Our job, here at the BTO headquarters, is to provide the material that participants need to submit their observations, to analyse and interpret the results and to provide feedback and answer queries. This is achieved through regular correspondence, the production of a quarterly magazine and use of the Internet (through these pages).
The tremendous success that Garden BirdWatch has achieved has only been possible because of the relationship between 'amateur' ornithologists and the small team of 'professionals' in the Garden BirdWatch office.
The term 'Citizen Science' has been widely applied in North America to describe this type of project, and we feel that Garden BirdWatch is a fantastic example of how people with a general interest in wild birds can work with scientists to collect important information about the changing fortunes of our garden birds.