Habitat records

To increase the value of the data for conservation, habitat information was also collected, with observers for every record, breeding or winter, allocating one or more habitat codes according to the standard system devised by the BTO (Crick 1992). This is, we believe, a feature that has not been incorporated into previous atlases, and aroused much heated discussion at the planning stages. ‘Birders don’t do habitat’ was a phrase frequently used, but in fact all participants in BTO survey work since the mid-1990s have recorded habitat, including for every bird ringed, every nest recorded and every BBS or special survey completed. With some trepidation, and a certain element of autocracy from the Atlas Coordinator, habitat recording was included in the atlas instructions; it met with little resistance from fieldworkers, proved to be straightforward to do and provided much new information of great interest for many species.