Bird recording in Dorset is one of the core objectives of the Dorset Bird Club and we encourage everyone (not just Club members) to submit records of their observations. The annual Dorset Bird Report is compiled from the many records submitted and is the only regularly updated account of the county’s avifauna, with data on occurrence, distribution, populations, breeding success and unusual records.

How records are used:

Each year we receive over 200,000 records and all are entered into our database to be used for:

  • providing the records which form the basis of the species accounts in the Dorset Bird Report
  • providing information to be applied in the conservation of Red and Amber listed species
  • providing information against which future changes in population can be matched
  • allowing the relative value of sites of conservation importance to be assessed
  • providing valuable information in response to planning enquiries and proposed land-use changes



Please refer to the Dorset List which indicates the type of records requested for each species. All records are valuable, from breeding reports and counts of flocks or roosts, to migration or weather related movements and rarities. The Bird Report is an edited summary highlighting the occurrence and status of each species for that year. Due to the volume of records it is not possible to list them all in the report, but all records received will be entered into the DBC database and will be accessible for future reference. Species requiring a full written description are marked with either (*) for national rarities, or (D) for birds which are rare or scarce in the county. Descriptions of national rarities will be forwarded to the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC), whilst records of locally rare or scarce birds will be assessed by the Dorset Records Panel (DRP).



Records are welcomed from all parts of the county. There is a natural bias towards coastal sites and nature reserves as they are excellent places to see birds. Many of these sites produce their own reports, which are incorporated into the Bird Report, but please don’t assume that your records will be forwarded to us automatically by other organisations. Records away from these sites are often thin on the ground, so “local patch” records and casual recording from less well-watched areas are very important – this includes sites such as your own garden! These records enable us to gain as full a picture as possible of what is happening to Dorset’s birds. Many national surveys are carried out annually in the county as part of the wider picture of the UK’s bird life. A copy of any Dorset results would be greatly appreciated so the information can be added to our database.




Dorset Bird Club encourages everyone to use the BTO’s BirdTrack as the recording system of choice. The system allows individuals to input records directly online which the County Recorders can then access. It is also a free and convenient way of storing your bird records online, as well as a method to contribute data to conservation science and to have access to the latest trends across the UK for migration movements and distribution.

More details about BirdTrack can be found at:  [Note: When registering please ensure you have checked the box which allows the forwarding of your records to the County Recorders.]

Alternatives to BirdTrack

  • eBird - records submitted through can also be accessed by the County Recorders.
  • Local recording groups - both Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (including Lower Avon Valley) and Portland Bird Observatory publish formal annual reports and records from those areas should be sent directly to them.
  • Local annual reports – some dedicated patch-watchers produce their own annual report and then forward that to the County Recorders - including Holes Bay, Lodmoor, Lytchett Bay and West Bexington. Sightings for these areas would be very welcomed by local recorders (email DBC for contact details). If you watch a local patch on a regular basis do consider producing your own annual report for submission to DBC.
  • Trektellen - typically used for the recording of visible and nocturnal migration, all records from are uploaded to BirdTrack and so will be received by the County Recorders.
  • an Excel spreadsheet is available for listing your sightings and is transferable directly into the database, thereby saving a lot of time - click here DBC BirdTrack Spreadsheet to download.
  • Twitter – many people use Twitter to share their sightings for the ability to pass on news quickly and widely. The Club tries to collate some records from Twitter if we think they are not being submitted in any other way, but as yet there is no reliable method to ensure all Twitter records are captured.
  • Casual records can also be emailed to the County Recorders on an ad hoc basis at any time.
  • Paper records. Although we would encourage everyone to send records in electronically, we appreciate that some observers do not have access to this facility and may wish to send in paper records. If you have individual/casual paper records please try to send them to the County Recorders periodically throughout the year to enable them to be logged on to the database over a period of time. This will help to ensure that there will not be a backlog of data inputting to be done all at once which can hold up production of the bird report.

In all cases, at the latest, please enter/send records in by the end of January of the following year. Late records will be accepted, but it may not be possible to include them in the report for that year.


Submit general sightings and reports:

Submit rarity descriptions & confidential records: