Atlas of Australian Birds

Yesterday I mentioned in passing the Atlas of Australian Birds. This atlas was published in 1985 as a result of birders all over Australia recording their sightings and submitting them to the Atlas office of the Royal Australiasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU – now called Birds Australia).


The atlas database consisted of many thousands of individual records of bird sightings made by over 3000 volunteer birders. Birders all over Australia contributed their records during the five years from 1977 to 1981. Some contributed only a few record sheets; others, like myself, sent in many hundreds. These records were collated and the data used to produce a map of distribution for each species. The maps also recorded where each species was observed breeding. These maps were published in book form in 1984.
The New Atlas of Australian Birds

After about twenty years it was realised that this data was quickly becoming out of date and a new atlas programme was initiated. This ran from 1998 to 2002. This time over 7000 volunteers contributed over a quarter of a million survey sheets listing over five million individual bird sightings. It was the largest continent wide bird survey in the world. Again I contributed many hundreds of survey sheets. This new atlas was published in book form in 2003.
Electronic Atlas

In order to keep the data up to date and relevant, the Ongoing Atlas means volunteer birders like myself can make a continuing contibution to bird conservation in this country. One does not have to be a professional ornithologist to make a very valuable contribution. In the Ongoing Atlas records are available on the internet, making the data accessible to everyone.

For details of Birds Australia click here.

For details of the New Atlas of Australian Birds click here.

For details on contributing to the Ongoing Atlas click here.


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