Records will be entered into the CAWOS database. Each contributor should fill in and sign an Individual Data Transfer Agreement Form, which states that they are the copyright owner of their records and that they are willing to grant CAWOS permission to make use of their records. Individual forms (or Group/Society forms if required) are available from the Membership Secretary.
Guidelines for the Submission of Records and the Record, Rarity and Data Transfer Agreement Forms can all be downloaded from the CAWOS website: www.cawos.org.
Notes and short articles are always welcome for possible inclusion in the Bird Report or in the quarterly newsletter Bird News. Such articles could include describing any interesting behaviour observed, or the circumstances in which a rarity was found.
If acknowledgement of receipt of records and/or rarity descriptions is required include an sae. If you would like a supply of replacement Record Forms send a large sae for these.
Contributors can use as many columns/fields as they want; however, some are mandatory: ‘Species’, ‘Site’, ‘Date’ and ‘Number’. Please put headings at the top of each column. All entries, e.g. ‘Comments’, must be typed in on one line only for each record; it does not matter how wide the column is.
Always include a specific date, do not leave blank. If the record is a year summary for that species then simply put ‘2006’ under ‘date’. The system will also accept seasons (winter1 for Jan to Feb; spring for Mar to May; summer for Jun to Aug; autumn for Sep to Nov; winter2 for Dec) or date ranges (e.g. Jan – Mar, 13 Jan 06 to 31 Mar 06, etc), but a word of explanation in the ‘Comments’ column would be desirable, possibly essential. Create separate records for additional dates if these are particularly relevant for the species concerned; otherwise put as additional information under ‘Comments’.
Actual numbers are preferred, though the system will also cope with c100, 100+, number ranges (e.g. 50-100), and also zero (0) in the ‘Number’ field if recording the absence of a species from a usual location (with a word of explanation under ‘Comments’). An appropriate comment should also accompany weekly/monthly maxima or year/breeding summaries. Any figure in the ‘Number’ column should refer to the actual number of birds recorded, not to the number of nests or number of pairs; this information should be entered under ‘Comments’.
Where possible please refer to the published Cheshire and Wirral Gazetteer when listing the site name and grid ref. A more detailed location can always be included under ‘Comments’; in this case the more precise grid ref (if given) will still be held against that record. A new site can be added if it cannot readily be included under another site already listed, or if it is an important birding location which was missed off the original list. You must draw our attention to this new site in the main body of your e-mail and provide the 6-figure grid ref, the nearest town or village, and a suggested site name. The Gazetteer is free to members and regular contributors of records, but further copies are available at our indoor meetings, or by sending a cheque payable to CAWOS for Ł1.50 (incl p&p) to the Membership Secretary. Up-to-date electronic copies of the Gazetteer are also available.
Unidentified sightings, e.g. 'diver sp.' or 'commic' tern, and records of subspecies or races should also be sent in.
Any breeding records of 'Schedule One Breeding Species' will be automatically marked as confidential by the database. In addition, each observer has the option to mark any of their records confidential and these will not be released to any third party without the observer's prior approval. If the observer is unwilling to give an accurate description of the location, general locations may be used such as Wirral, Chester, North Cheshire, East Cheshire, Mid-Cheshire and South-East Cheshire, as listed in the Gazetteer.
The local significance of some records may not be immediately apparent. Additional comments are therefore welcomed and observers’ anecdotes are often useful in preparing a readable Bird Report. Comparisons to previous years' records are also useful.
If your sighting refers to an unusually early or late date for a particular species, please add as much extra information as possible, e.g. whether the bird was singing or not.
Electronic copies of both the Species List and the Site List are available on request from the Database Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic records should be e-mailed to email@example.com, or by post on a disc or CD to: Geoff Blamire, Woodruff Cottage, Clamhunger Lane, Mere, Cheshire, WA16 6QG.