Bird Atlas validation overview

You may have seen that I have started validating some of York Region's Atlas records with the help of YNU and local recorders Phil Bone, Peter Watson and Andy Booth.

So what is validation all about?
To ensure that our records are of greater value to science and conservation and that the BTO analyses are based on solid data, the records are run through a quality checking process.

What is checked?
ID - Often this could be the result of a typo rather than mis-identification; e.g. wrong species selected from the drop-down list.
ID can also be used for scarce or rare birds to get confirmation of the identification. The BTO guidelines for these are that the record must be acceptable to the relevant local or national rarity body (e.g. YNU, BBRC). So birds on the lists requiring descriptions in the latest YOC Report will be followed up with this code.
Similarly for species normally not seen in that season; e.g. winter migrants in summer.

GR - Grid reference errors. These have proved so far to be the commonest reason for querying. For example, an unknown name could indicate transposing of numbers or mis-selection of the letters in the OS reference from a drop-down list; it could also indicate a mis-reading of the map.

No. - Mainly applies to TTVs. To check that unusual counts are valid, there may be cases where an extra number has been keyed; e.g. 551 House Sparrows where 51 is more likely.

BS - Where breeding evidence is unlikely; e.g. FL for gulls where there are no known colonies, or confirmed breeding in winter.

What happens if one of my records is queried?
When you log on to the Atlas website, you will see a message on your home page. You can click on the link to this and then take action.

Perhaps it was a mistake that you can correct online. Or else you wish to discuss the record or confirm that it is correct as recorded, in which case you can send an email to the validator using the link.

Please take any query in a positive way, the important thing is to ensure confidence in the data of the final product. Please note that your records can only be changed by yourself, the observer, not the validator.

1 comment:

Ian Traynor said...

Thanks Rob

Ruth & I will look out next time we log on.


Ian T