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Friday, September 17th, 2021
avinews
Birds
How to document a sighting?

Some sightings are marked with a yellow triangle and an exclamation mark. Such a symbol means that the sighting is unexpected and needs to be documented more precisely. It may be related to a rare species, an unusual date or an unusual observation site.

The main goal of documenting a sighting is to produce a detailed description of what you have observed:  Each and every evidence concerning the size, appearance, feathering, calling, song, behaviour, the observation conditions, and diagnostic criteria eliminating similar species are needed. Additional proofs like pictures, drawings, video sequences and sound recordings are most welcome. Such documentation is to be done using the official rarities homologation form, which is then sent to the Swiss Rarities Committee (sak@vogelwarte.ch) with the additional proofs. This expert group assesses whether the sighting is correct and sufficiently documented or not to be taken into account in the scientific literature. Sightings accepted by this committee are additionally marked with a green hook behind the yellow triangle.

If such a bird remains in the same place for many days, it is not necessary to describe each and every observation in detail. Yet it is very important to document the first and the last observation date as well as the different individuals present during that time if more than one individual is present. In the normal case, the person who discovered the bird is responsible for the sighting documentation.

An insufficient documentation is the most frequent reason for a sighting to be rejected by the Swiss Rarities Committee. In almost all such cases the description is too poor or even missing. Sentences such as "I know this species very well", "the song was typical" or "the bird was identical to the one pictured in my identification book" are definitely not part of a description. Insufficiently documented observations are not taken into account at all, in any scientific studies. They are marked with a red exclamation point and remain visible only for the person who submitted it, yet not for the other users of ornitho.ch.

In order to guarantee a long term quality of the data published on ornitho.ch, we need you to document your unusual observations as completely as possible. Keep in mind to send your documentation as soon as possible to the Swiss Rarities Committee. Thanks in advance for your commitment on ornitho.ch!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Tuesday, September 7th, 2021
technews
Query by troop size

You have seen 100 white storks and want to know if that is an exceptional number? Recently, it has become possible to filter by troop size on ornitho.ch with the "search engine". To do this, limit the number of individuals accordingly in the "Other restrictions" tab. This now makes it easy for you to find out whether such large groups are regularly reported.

posted by Sämi Wechsler
 
Tuesday, August 17th, 2021
tipnews
Birds
Which species should you count?

The autumn migration is already in full swing. Whether you are going to your favourite excursion area or keeping a lookout at an observation post, don't forget to fill in a complete observation list! But for which species do you need to fill in the most accurate figures possible? You can count all species if you want, but if it is too tedious, please count at least the species in category A (those with a red dot in front of their name). For analyses such as the calculation of the presence index, numbers are essential. For such an analysis, 200 counted Honey Buzzards weigh 200 times more than a simple cross that confirms the presence of the species. If possible, always count species A, or give at least an estimate or a minimum number.

We wish you great migratory bird observations

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
avinews
Birds
Communication of the Swiss Rarities Committee

The Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC) has published the minutes of its last meeting, held on 6 July 2021, on the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src). Among the reports accepted during that meeting are the 2nd record of Oriental Turtle-dove (same individual), the 5th record of Dartford Warbler, the 11th record of Audouin’s Gull, the 14th record of Pine Bunting, the 1st record of Little Bustard since 1996, a breeding record of a Citrine Wagtail with a Western Yellow Wagtail and the 5th breeding record of Moustached Warbler.

In order to facilitate its administrative work, the SRC recommends to send the rarities reports and photographic proofs as soon as possible and if possible in electronic format (preferably as Word file) to the following address: sak@vogelwarte.ch. The form can be downloaded from the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src-downloads). In the normal case, the person who discovered the bird is responsible for the sighting documentation.

The SRC thanks you for your collaboration!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Friday, July 16th, 2021
tipnews
Birds
Atlas code in summer

Depending on the breeding bird species, the atlas code is no longer automatically requested by the system since July 1 or August 1. However, we would be grateful if you would continue to attach it in case of justified breeding indications (Atlas code 7 or more). This applies in particular to duck families with still dependent young.

Furthermore we would like to point out that it is very valuable for duck families if you indicate the number of young birds/families as well as the size of the young birds in eighths (relative to the mother) under the remarks field. See leaflet "Altersbestimmung bei Jungenten / Détermination de l'âge des canetons".

The more precise your sightings are documented, the easier it is to interpret them correctly. Many thanks for your help!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Friday, June 18th, 2021
tipnews
Birds
Sightings from mountainous regions

Observations made above the forest line are extremely valuable due to the fact that the density of birdwatchers in the Alps and the Jura is rather low. We are also interested in observations of migrating and wintering birds at high altitudes. When submitting your observations, do not forget to check the altitude suggested by the system and correct it if necessary.

In order to get the best possible information, we ask you to locate your sightings as precisely as possible (zoom into the map until the blue and yellow dots appear, then click on the observation site; in the drop-down menu displayed, select "Add observation with exact localization"; the tip of the red pointer should point to the observation site). By doing so the altitude of the observation is automatically and precisely determined by the system. You can also add exact localizations to observation lists if you wish to (see Tipnews from 7.5.2021). If you use the NaturaList app, each of your sightings is automatically localized exactly.

We thank you in advance for your commitment and wish you fruitful hikes!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
tipnews
Birds
Ducks families

At this time of year more and more ducks families are observed on lakes and rivers. Apart from Mallards, all kinds of wild ducks are monitored by the "monitoring of selected species" program for which the total number of brood is counted. In order to obtain an accurate synthesis at the end of the breeding season we need precise information. For these observations it is therefore important to mention specifically the number of families present and, for each family, the amount of chicks and their size has to be specified (remarks field). The following link gives indications on how to estimate the size of chicks relatively to the size of adults: Altersbestimmung bei Jungenten / Détermination de l'âge des canetons).

Thanks in advance for these precisions. They simplify the data analysis and the monitoring of rare species.

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Friday, May 7th, 2021
avinews
Precise sightings localization

Precisely localized observations are increasingly in demand, especially during the breeding season. This precision provides essential information for protection and promotion projects.

While recording observations, it is therefore very important that it is made in the right place. Whether on ornitho.ch or on NaturaList, the tip of the red pointer on the map should always define the location of the bird/animal observed (and NOT where YOU are!). In mountainous areas, precise localizations also have the advantage that they provide automatically the right altitude, the average altitude of a square kilometer being less accurate for this purpose.

With NaturaList, all observations are recorded with pinpoint accuracy. Remember to slide the map back and forth to place the actual location of the animal beneath the tip of the red pointer. On ornitho.ch you can give a precise location in observation lists too. Simply click on the “+”sign to the left of the species name and then on the "Map" tab. Then select the correct location by clicking on the map on the corresponding place.

https://cdnfiles1.biolovision.net/www.ornitho.ch/userfiles/instructions/Abb.13deuc.jpg

Thanks in advance for your commitment

 

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
avinews
Birds
Communication of the Swiss Rarities Committee

The Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC) has published the minutes of its last meeting, held on 31 March 2021, on the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src). Among the reports accepted during that meeting are the 1st record of Woodchat Shrike with characters of the subspecies Lanius senator badius, the 12th and the 13th records of Pine Bunting, the 25th record of Lapland Longspur since 1900 as well as several late records.


In order to facilitate its administrative work, the SRC recommends to send the rarities reports and photographic proofs as soon as possible and if possible in electronic format (preferably as Word file) to the following address: sak@vogelwarte.ch. The form can be downloaded from the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src-downloads). In the normal case, the person who discovered the bird is responsible for the sighting documentation.


The SRC thanks you for your collaboration!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
tipnews
Birds
Disturbance during the breeding period and pictures taken at nests

While birdwatching, be irreproachable!

More and more people are interested in birdwatching and that is wonderful! At the same time, we also know that birds are suffering heavy threats and that many species are weakened by perturbations and that their habitats disappear… For all these reasons, ALL OF US should adopt an irreproachable behaviour at any circumstances and regardless to the species considered. A code of ethics, which has already been adopted by most of us, exists. Nevertheless, Nos Oiseaux, ornitho.ch, Birdlife Switzerland, Ficedula and the Swiss Ornithological Institute would like you to pay a special attention to the following points:

  • Do not drive on restricted roads (especially in mountainous and agricultural areas).
  • Never leave the official paths in natural reserves.
  • Never enter agriculture areas or ecological compensation zones.
  • Don't imitate the songs and calls and avoid tape-luring.
  • A picture is nothing worth if it was taken to the detriment of the bird or its environment. Moreover such pictures will never be accepted for any of our publications. Avoid taking photos of birds on the nest, as the breeding success is strongly correlated to the disturbance level. (Note that disruptions during the breeding period imply a violation of the Federal Hunting Act and can therefore be prosecuted).
  • A rare bird does NOT justify transgressing the rules cited above.

Teach your family and friends to observe the same comportment.

Thank you for your understanding and your sensitivity towards nature and birds.

posted by Bernard Volet
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