The First Atlas of Breeding Birds in…

Occurrence dataset published by National Biodiversity Data Centre

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Full Title

The First Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1968-1972.


A dataset of the distribution of the breeding birds of Britain & Ireland from 1968 to 1972, generated using a list of the species observed within each 10km square over the survey period.

Additional Information

Full details of the methods used in the field, how fieldwork was organised and the interpretation of the maps is provided in the published atlas Sharrock, J.T.R. (ed.) (1976) The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, Calton or from the British Trust for Ornithology website at Specific queries as they relate to the Republic of Ireland should be made to BirdWatch Ireland

Temporal coverages

Date range: 01-Jan-1968 - 01-Jan-1972

Language of Metadata


Language of Data


Olivia Crowe
BirdWatch Ireland Unit 20, Block D, Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, Ireland 353 (0)1 2819878
Metadata author
National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ireland Beechfield house, Carriganore WIT West Campus County Waterford Ireland +353 (0)51 306 240
Administrative contact
National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ireland Beechfield house, Carriganore WIT West Campus Waterford County Waterford Ireland +353 (0)51 306 240


Published by

National Biodiversity Data Centre

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This datasets contains data only for the island of Ireland, but is part of the larger Britain and Ireland mast… more


What does this map show?

Taxonomic Coverage

Species Groups recorded: bird.


Quality control

All the data was checked and validated as part of the atlas project. The list and number of species recorded in each 10-km square are as complete as they can be. Clearly those squares visited for less time (especially the more remote areas) are likely to have fewer species recorded and it is the rarer and more elusive species (eg nocturnal) ones which will not be recorded in these circumstances. However the maps as published are considered a true representation of the distribution of the species at a national level, while accepting that there will be some gaps in individual squares.

Method Steps

  1. Specific fieldwork was conducted by mainly volunteer observers although professional help was used in some remoter areas. Observers were asked to visit each 10-km square and record the presence of as many species as they could find and to note whether they were Possibly breeding (column 1) e.g. seen in the correct habitat, Probably breeding (column 2) e.g. holding territory, visiting probable nestsite, or Confirmed breeding (column 3) e.g. seen carrying food, recent fledglings, nest with eggs or young found. The stated objective was to get as many species into column 3 as possible. The dataset records the maximum category of breeding evidence obtained for each species in each 10-km square. To make the dataset directly comparable to the second BTO/SOC/IWC Breeding Atlas 1988-91 these were converted into S -- Seen (for Possibly Breeding) or B -- Breeding (for Probably and Confirmed Breeding).