Are you an avid bird watcher,or a citizen interested in conserving Kenya’s diverse bird-life?
Does the idea of a get-away weekend in green space elate you?
Do you find bird chirpings relaxing?
Do you enjoy being outside and exploring new places?
If yes, then Kenya Bird Map project is specifically coined for you.
Kenya Bird Map(http://kenyabirdmap.adu.org.za/) is an exhilarating project that fuses excellent birding with bird connoisseurs and explorations in Kenya’s diverse ecosystems.It is an internet-based bird database that employs citizen science to map where all the bird species in Kenya live and describe their distribution in real time.
It is is a joint conservation initiative by the National Museums of Kenya, A Rocha Kenya and the Tropical Biology Association,and Nature Kenya as a project of the Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society.
Register as a Kenya Bird Map observer and get an African Citizen Scientist Observer number by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Kenya Bird Map office, Ornithology Section, National Museums of Kenya Headquarters, Nairobi.
Once registered, you will receive starter toolkits to act as guidelines on how to carry out mapping and submitting your bird sightings.
For the Bird Map, Kenya is divided into grid squares of 5 minutes longitude by 5 minutes latitude:pentads. Each pentad is about 9 km by 9 km. (Penta is a combining form of 5, as in pentagon.)
For data collection, identify which pentad you are going birding in, and its boundaries. This is quite simple as the Kenya Bird Map system links you to Google Maps identifying the pentad code of your location. This makes it easy to find your pentad. For identification of the pentad boundaries while on the ground, identify some landmarks to guide you.
After the identification of your pentad and have all the necessary equipment – binoculars, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), bird guidebooks, data sheets or notebooks – you are good to go. Record and submit your observations in two ways: as ad hoc records or as a field card following the Kenya Bird Map protocol.
- Ad hoc records:
This is where you are unable to spend two full hours birding in the pentad but can make a useful list of species while visiting an area. List the birds in the order in which you see or hear them. Keep track of the hours you spend compiling the list. Then indicate the list as an ad hoc list when uploading it on the website.
- Standard Protocol (survey for two hours or more)
The standard protocol to be observed when collecting your data follows:
- Spend at least two (2) hours observing and recording birds in the pentad. List all the bird species observed. This is known as the initial intensive survey. This survey will help get a fairly comprehensive bird list for each pentad.
- Record the species in the order that you see and/or hear them. This will help us gauge which are likely to be the more common species in the pentad. Make a note of the end of each hour during your initial intensive survey. This helps us work out which birds are detected earlier than others.
- Continue the survey period in one pentad for up to five (5) days. The initial intensive survey should, where possible, take place on day 1 of the five days. You can then add any new species (in the order that you see/ hear them) to the list after the initial survey, until the end of the fifth day. A new survey or checklist should only be started after the end of the five-day period for each pentad (i.e. on day six).
After the completion of your field survey,submit your bird records to the Kenya Bird map. This can be executed in various ways:
- Sending in your data sheet (soft copy word document or scanned copy) to Kenyabirdmap@naturekenya.org .
- Posting a hard copy of your complete data sheet to: Kenya Bird Map, Nature Kenya, P.O. Box 44486-00100, Nairobi.
- Uploading the data directly to the website http://kenyabirdmap.adu.org.za. (Remember, you need to register and log in to the Kenya Bird Map website to do this.)
- Once logged in, follow the following steps:
- Click on ‘Add a Card/ Field Sheet’
- Search for the pentad code by opening the Google map through clicking the blue icon to find the pentad you surveyed
- Indicate if you surveyed at night. Don’t click on the small box if you did not survey during the night
- Click on the small box if you covered all the habitats in the pentad for this survey, or leave it blank if you did not cover all habitats
- Fill in the total number of species seen after each hour of observation up to a maximum of 10 hours. Remember, this is a cumulative total over the number of hours observed and not a new species total for each hour. Therefore, for hour 2 indicate the total of the birds seen in hour 1 and hour 2 (e.g. say you saw 7 birds in hour 1 and 5 new birds in hour 2, the figure for hour 1 should be 7 and that of hour 2 should be 12)
- Indicate the total number of hours you spent observing
- Write down the total number of species you recorded during the time you observed in the pentad
- Indicate if you did a full protocol (survey for 2 hours or more) or Ad hoc protocol (survey for less than 2 hours) by clicking on the drop-down icon at the bottom of the page
- Now Save your card and proceed to Add species.
- Search for the species name on the search-tab provided and select/highlight it from the list of outcomes. Once selected/highlighted, click the blue “add (+)” button to add the bird to your list. Add all species in order of sighting. Remember that you can save this and return to it later for additions or editing before submitting the final list. If you can’t find the usual name of the bird you saw, consult the Checklist of the Birds of Kenya, 4th Edition, 2009, available at Nature Kenya.
- Once you are satisfied that you have entered all data correctly, you can submit your card!
HAPPY BIRDING FOLKS!