Raptor Monitoring in Northern Ireland

Monitoring in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland monitoring of raptors has been poorly co-ordinated in the past, although efforts have increased in recent years and monitoring is now good, with data submission of between 300 and 500 records occurring annually.

There is however a large amount of data available historical in a variety of formats (including hand written records and partly digitised spreadsheets), this project initially proposed to streamline these and provide a record for the future of known annual raptor distributions and breeding parameters where available. This data will provide an excellent baseline for all future monitoring of raptor species and allow reporting on historical status of raptors in Northern Ireland.

This works complements the on-going raptor monitoring carried out by the NIRSG and other volunteers and provides a resource for new fieldworkers to identify potential nest locations. In addition, such data when available to conservation managers at a governmental level will inform robust management decisions in light of verified quantitative and spatial data suitable for population scale and localised scale (e.g. development proposals or planning application) assessments.

The NIRSG monitoring program collects data to establish parameters and adequately monitor the breeding patterns of the existing, and re-colonising raptor species. The lack of a centralised and standardised data format has been identified as an on-going constraint to reporting and utility of the data available to statutory authorities and conservation managers. This project aims to directly reverse this and maximise value of data for conservation and monitoring purposes.

In addition, volunteers and contributors to raptor monitoring databases require encouragement through regular feedback. The website and database aims to provide interactive maps and ‘notebook’ style functionality to fieldworkers to encourage submission of records whilst facilitating standardised formatting.

The project will undertake reviews, so that raptor monitoring, recording and reporting can be adapted, if required, to fulfil fieldworker requirements, statutory obligations and outline specific requirements (e.g. additional SPA monitoring or geographical and/or species coverage gaps) or threats (e.g. mortality due to persecution of raptors).