Help write the bird reports

28th August 2018 | Richard Burness

The Birds of Berkshire annual reports for 2014 and 2015 have just been published. Unfortunately, there is little respite for the production team as a start now needs to be made on the 2016 report. The central feature of the report is the systematic list. For those that don't know, a team of volunteer Species Accounts Writers summarise the records in the database and provide a review of each species' activity within the county for the chosen year. These summaries are then correlated and edited by the editorial team and compiled into a systematic list. It is also the editors' responsibility to provide support and guidance to the Species Account Writers.

A significant change over the past two years has been the advent of the freely available on- line database. This has rendered the tedious task of copying every record from the database into the species account unnecessary. What is required now is a summary of a species' presence and activity within the county for the chosen year, perhaps accompanied by a table and/or a graph where appropriate.

Each Species Account Writer receives a section of the year's dataset, an account template and guidance notes from which to work. For additional guidance there will be a table of the significant factors that should be included for each species (first and last dates, records away from usual population centres, unusually high numbers etc.) together with a set of summary tables and graphs of, for instance, monthly maxima.

During the production of the 2015 systematic list there were so few Species Account Writers that the workload was rather heavy on us all. If you feel that you would like to contribute to the production of the Birds of Berkshire annual report by writing species accounts, please contact me at

Richard Burness
County Recorder