RE: Atlas Results

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: RE: Atlas Results
From: David Geering <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 09:32:26 +1000
Rory pointed out some trends in reporting rates between the first and
current Atlas projects.

While this is all very interesting I suggest that we be very careful in
accepting this on face value.  There are some very serious limitations in
such as basic analysis, and I'm sure Rory would be among the first to
acknowledge this. 

The protocols for current Atlas are to encourage 2ha, 20 minute counts or
500m searches while the last Atlas was based on 10 minute grid searches.  I,
for one, am a fan of the current protocols but herein lies problems for the
reporting rates of certain species.

I feel that species such as Richards Pipit will be grossly under-reported in
the current Atlas - a ranking of 15 to 77 would suggest this.  In fact, most
grassland birds will probably go under-reported as many people select "good"
birding sites for Atlassing.  In the first Atlas, if you saw a Spotted
Harrier, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis or Masked Lapwing in a paddock
it was reported.  How many of us drive past these don't bother stopping to
get out the GPS or the map and work out where you are (yes, I know, some of
us do - but most will not).  I am aware that a number of people are still
steadfastly resisting the new methodology and continue with the 10 minute
blocks.  These could well be the source of the majority of these records.
The same almost certainly applies to Owls.  I try and stop to record
locations of Barn Owls but I am often trying to get home after a tiring trip
and just couldn't be bothered - I'm sure I'm not alone.

I would encourage Rory to continue giving us tid-bits of information but
suggest that we be cautious about interpreting reporting rates where the
methodologies are so different.

David Geering

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