"Birdata" - a joint initiative of Birds Australia and WildlifeLinkDuring the four years between 1998 and 2002, Birds Australia co-ordinated the largest continent-wide survey of birds in the world.   Over 7,000 volunteer atlassers, equipped with binoculars, field guides, GPS units and notebooks, produced 270,000 bird lists and recorded nearly 5 million bird sightings.
These will be stored in the Birdata database and have also been published in the magnificent new edition of The New Atlas of Australian Birds.
This survey followed a similar project conducted between 1977 and 1981, thus allowing 20 year comparisons.
Why should this project ever stop?
Birds Australia and WildlifeLink are now planning to keep the Atlas project alive - doing so will mean that the bird Atlas will realise its potential to become the most important long-term environmental monitoring project in Australia.
The Birdata project will involve volunteers entering and managing their data online on an on-going basis year after year, and mapping the survey sites they've visited in the past.
It is envisaged that the data will be available to:
- Birds Australia members
- teachers who will be able to illustrate to their students the factors that influence bird distribution, breeding and migration
- students needing bird distribution maps for their projects
- government policy makers
- members of the general public with an interest in Australia's varied and prolific birdlife
Development has already started on this exciting project.  It is hoped that the Birdata site will be up and running early in 2005, and that in time it could evolve into a full species reference guide.
Go to the exciting Birds Australia site at www.birdsaustralia.com.au