Atlassing waterbirds: non-breeding birds and other unique challenges they present

Waterbirds present unique challenges when it comes to atlassing for a variety of reasons: some species take multiple years to mature, they may pair up away from the breeding grounds and well before the breeding season, and non-breeding individuals can be conspicuous and difficult to differentiate from true breeders.

Members of the waterbird team who review data submissions have come up with a number of points to consider and a list of common pitfalls. We urge all atlassers to report their observations of waterbirds with caution, referring to this document for guidance related to the specific pitfalls documented within.

As a general rule, please remember that providing thorough documentation (with written descriptions and photographs, not just to establish identification) and with repeated visits your observations are most likely to lead to high levels of breeding evidence that can be reviewed by our team of expert data reviewers.

For more information please read the following article:

The Problem With Non-Breeding Pairs, Breeding Adults Outside Of Their Nesting Square, And Sewage Lagoons – Repeated Visits And Detailed Documentation Are Key For A Proper Breeding Code.

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