WeBS Data FAQs

(1) How do I get a quote?

Due to the number of data requests we get, we require a completed data request form before we are able to produce a quote.  Quotes are produced free of charge and without obligation.

(2) How much do data cost?

The costs per table depend on how much data are required (there is a discount for bulk data) and whether the data are to be used for commercial purposes. Full details of Core Count data and Low Tide Count data costs are provided on the WeBS Data charges page.

(3) Do I qualify for a discount?

A discount of 60% on the Standard Rate is applied where applicants can demonstrate that the use made of WeBS data provides significant benefit for conservation, and that the intention of the work is to enhance or modify conservation interests. An example would be the use of WeBS data in the revision of a wildlife management plan. WeBS counters or persons requesting WeBS data for personal, educational or unfunded, usually undergraduate, research uses are exempt from Standard and Discount Rates. Applicants who require large amounts of data that need to be updated annually may enter into a licensing arrangement. This arrangement will run for a minimum number of years, allowing the cost of data provision to be reduced. Please contact the websdata [at] bto.org (WeBS Office) to discuss your requirements and to arrange precise details including special conditions of data use. See the relevant section of the Guidance Notes (DOC, 157.00 KB) for more details.

(4) How quickly can I obtain data?

Data are usually provided within 15 working days. If required sooner then requests will be subject to a fee increase. See the relevant section of the WeBS Data charges page for more details.

(5) What format are the data available in?

All synopsis data are supplied as rtf, pdf, html.  Core Count raw monthly data (monthly counts by species) are provided as csv files.  Alternative data formats are available upon request.

(6) Can I see an example of the type of data issued as a result of submitting a data request?

Examples of the type of data issued as part of a Core Count data request and Low Tide Count data request can be found on their relevant pages. Full details can be found in the Guidance Notes (DOC, 157.00 KB).

(7) What's the difference between Core Count and Low Tide Count data?

The WeBS Core Count scheme is used to assess overall numbers for a particular site. Monthly data are generally available for periods as far back as the mid-1960s. WeBS Low Tide data are used to assess the overall low-tide distribution of birds on key estuaries. In general counts are conducted on a rather ad-hoc basis and only since the winter of 1992-93.

(8) Which sites have been counted and when?

Please use our comprehensive web-based tool for assessing which sites have been covered as part of the WeBS Core Count Scheme. Click on the relevant region to drill-down to the particular area you are interested in. A full list of all sites covered is then given. By clicking on the relevant site, you can retrieve a map and a summary histogram of the number of times the site has been counted in each year. To check on coverage by the WeBS Low Tide Count Scheme, please refer to the Low Tide Coverage page.

(9) Why can't I see the boundaries of and number of counts at the site I'm interested in?

When using the drill-down tool to assess coverage by WeBS Core Counts (described above), maps and summary histograms of the number of times the site has been counted are not available for most of the larger sites. This is because the site is not currently counted at this geographical level - it may be split into smaller sections or lumped into larger ones. Please check those sections instead to ascertain the current WeBS coverage.

(10) Why can't I get fine-resolution sector level data from before 1993?

Currently, WeBS Core Count data are not stored electronically at the fine-resolution sector level prior to 1993. We are embarking on a long-term programme to transfer data from the original counter cards to our electronic database, but we don't expect this to be completed for several years.

(11) Can I sum raw data from individual sectors to give a site total?

Summing the mean peaks for the constituent parts gives a falsely elevated total for the whole area for the reason that the peak counts used for calculating the means on the individual areas will almost inevitably have occurred on different dates as birds move between adjacent areas of large complexes. Moreover, even summing "raw" data, i.e. monthly counts for the individual parts within the area being considered to produce a consolidated total for the site, is problematic because of the need to take into account missing counts. We recommend that if people plan to aggregate data across sectors then they should specifically request the synopsis & CSV files to be run for that consolidation to ensure missing counts and hence completeness are dealt with in a consistent manner. WeBS uses fairly complex algorithms to estimate the impact of missing counts from a multi-sector consolidation and we follow a defined protocol for how count completeness affects the computation of five-years means. Full details are available in the Guidance Notes (DOC, 157.00 KB).

(12) What are the most recent data available?

Due to the time it takes WeBS staff to gather, verify and load the count data, WeBS data are about a year behind the current date.  The most recent data currently available are for 2014/15.

(13) Can I get maps of the locations of roosting flocks?

No. At present, we only receive the counts of birds in a count section, we do not receive any maps of locations of birds.