Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Birdata app and portal – an exciting new step

Posted on 19 April, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Recording bird surveys has just become much easier for a lot of keen bird people in our local area! Last Friday (13 April), over 20 bird survey volunteers gathered at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens Tea Rooms to hear about BirdLife Australia’s smartphone app and bird data website.

Andrew Silcocks from BirdLife Australia manages the Bird Atlas – a comprehensive map of the distribution and numbers of Australian birds. Over the course of three very enjoyable hours, we learned how our data collection helps in bird conservation, how to use the very user-friendly app, and how to examine bird information on the portal known at Birdata.

And we were all very happy to hear Chris Timewell, BirdLife Australia’s Woodland Bird Project Coordinator (formerly Director of Connecting Country), present on the Birds on Farms research project. A separate blog post about the Birds on Farms project will follow soon.

Andrew Silcocks and Chris Timewell from BirdLife Australia


Connecting Country has been an affiliate organisation of BirdLife Australia since 2015. The two organisations are both bird mad (of course!), and collect and share bird data with one another. Connecting Country’s long term monitoring program has sent BirdLife over 20,000 individual records for their Birdata bird mapping project, and we have also extracted data from BirdLife to help with our reporting.

The Birdata app 

The feedback from participants was wonderful! The app is surprisingly easy to use – the phone finds your location, then you give it a site name, add the survey information such as the type of survey, and then simply start counting birds! So for those of you who were unable to attend the workshop, the following comments may encourage you to visit the Birdata website, download the app and have a go!

‘Really clearly explained, and I found the app easy to use’

‘I used Birdata extensively up until about 2 years ago so this provided a valuable update’

‘I had never previously used this app but I now feel very confident to conduct and submit surveys’

‘Opened my eyes to the power of the app AND the portal’.

To download the app click here. In the help section of the Birdata website here, there are short instructional YouTube videos and printed information on the portal and the app. These also might be useful for those of you who attended the workshop and would like a refresher.

The Birdata portal

The Birdata website is referred to as a portal. Once you are logged in, you can see your surveys and all your data. You can edit and change surveys you have done, such as correct a misidentified bird or refine the location.

You can also share your surveys with other people, such as on social media or by email. Any person doing bird surveys for one of our ‘official’ monitoring programs (such as the KBA monitoring, the Perkins surveys, or the Connecting Country sites) can send their data directly to BirdLife using the app if they wish. This saves on time and double handling. However, also emailing a copy of your surveys to us here at Connecting Country will help with keeping track of our bird survey program. Of course, those people who wish to stay with the old pen and paper method are most welcome to do so!

A fantastic feature of the portal is the ability to generate an up-to-the-minute bird list of any area of any size simply by drawing a polygon on the Birdata map. I used this function today to supply a bird list to Sutton Grange Landcare group. See the ‘Explore’ button on the portal for this feature.

Many many thanks to Andrew Silcocks for such an enjoyable and informative workshop! We would also like to thanks the Wettenhall Environment Trust for funding the workshop.

Say ‘swift parrot’! Workshop attendees were all smiles on a beautiful autumn day.





4 responses to “Birdata app and portal – an exciting new step”

  1. Carol Barker says:

    Really upset that I missed this event when I easily could have except that due to an nbnco/telstra stuff up I had no internet and so no heads up. Is there any way that those who missed out can get the information? I know others who could not attend.

    • Tanya Loos says:

      Hi Carol! Sorry to hear you missed out! The Birdata website has a very very good help page which takes you through all the information that was presented by Andrew on the day ( see the link in the blog post). And later in the year BirdLife Castlemaine may get Andrew out again for a repeat workshop – which would be great!

  2. Gayle says:

    We are so fortunate to have Connecting Country, your newsletters give me so much involvement with our community but most of all JOY.

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