Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis at Azores Bank 2009-07-27 (Photo: Staffan Rodebrand).
When trying to give a fair description of the birds of
the Azores there is a problem of documentation and acceptance. Many reports
of birds seen on the islands do not reach the
Portuguese Rarities Committee (PRC), or no documentation or
rarity reports are presented.
Since our object in this matter is to describe the bird
fauna of the Azores as accurate as possible, and the number of species visiting
birdwatchers may expect to see, we have chosen to present all available
data. In the detailed accounts for rare species given in this site,
there is information about sources, documentation, and decisions
(accepted, or rejected) from the PRC. It is therefore up to the reader to
make his own judgment of the right status of the birds in the Azores. There
might be some misidentified birds in the material, but on the other hand
we have probably missed a number of reports.
We have omitted the birds rejected (in appendix A-B) by
Bannerman (1966), and the non-migrating Edible-nest Swiftlet Collocalia
fuciphaga that was collected over a hundred years ago. We have also
omitted birds missing information about date, place and any other reference
mentioned in Clarke 2006 (Birds of Atlantic Islands) and Le Grand 1983 (Check
list of the birds of the Azores). Sightings that we know of only as rejections
in the PRC reports (with no other sources) are also omitted.
The English (American) and scientific names and order
on this site have followed the AERC-TAC list of all Western Palearctic
Bird Species, since July 2011, with a few local additions.
Birding Azores Team
A special team, appointed by the board of ABC, is working with the development and maintenance of the Birding Azores website. Members of the team are at the moment: Richard Bonser, UK (Facebook), Richard Ek, Sweden (technical development), David Monticelli, Belgium (photograph section), Staffan Rodebrand, Sweden (editing the bird data), Pedro Rodrigues, Azores (bibliography), and "vacant" (daily updating of "Recent news").
The Birding Azores web site was initialized in 2004 by
Staffan Rodebrand and Bosse Carlsson, two Swedish birders visiting the Azores
on a yearly basis during recent years. The major purpose was to collect
information and describe the bird fauna of the islands, and to create a
source of information for visiting birders. The web site was then constructed together with Niklas
Holmström and his platform seawatching.net with Birding Madeira
already in use. In 2006 Bo Thoor joined the group adding more technical
assistance, and the database was on its way. From this year onwards the site has been managed by Staffan Rodebrand, with an always increasing amount of data to be processed.
2011 to 2014
Due to the workload attempts have been made to enlarge the platform for Birding Azores, to find an Azorean reliable partner, and to enroll new members to the team. A firm solution for this has been missing mainly due to the absence of an Azorean Ornithological Society or Club.
Fortunately the overall interest in birds and birdwatching in the Azores has rapidly increased during the last ten years and there are now a number of institutional and non-institutional actors, both local and foreign dealing with ornithological matters. Bird photos, observations, trip reports, and more are today published in a number of lists, blogs and web sites.
For a period of a little more than two years there has been no updating of Birding Azores, but daily updating of Azorean bird records have been done elsewhere.
2014 and the future
On 2nd February 2014 the Azores Bird Club was founded, and Birding Azores was freely turned over to this club, which has been taking over the database and continuing the work with Birding Azores since then. Daily updating of observations is now again on the agenda, with Staffan Rodebrand managing the first period February to August 15th 2014. From this date onwards there are unfortunately nobody available that can manage the updating section.
A first part of the older observations (January to June 2012) has been updated by Jorge Cardoso, Gerbrand Michielsen and Staffan Rodebrand. This work was planned to continue in late 2014 in order to update the rest of the backlog from 2012 and 2013, and a special form for adding recent bird observations directly to the database was to be developed. The goal here was to create instruments that could be used by several users, and make a continual updating of the database. However these goals failed due to lack of work input, and the situation was instead solved in another way. From then on bird sightings are daily published on Facebook (Azores Bird Sightings), later summarized, edited and published on paper in yearly reports ( Azores Rare and Scarce Bird Report 2013, 2014 etc.).
The Birding Azores database now (2016) only shows a complete list of bird observations including year 2011, and raw data (not complete and not edited) from parts of the period 2012-2014.
Many thanks go to Niklas
Holmström for all the initial technical and layout work, as well
as for his encouragements, patience and overall support; Bosse Carlsson
for his help in the start; Bo Thoor for constructing and developing the data base technique, Joël Bried, Gerbrand Michielsen, and Ricardo
Guerreiro for help in many different ways; Pierre-André Crochet,
Gonçalo Elias, Ricard Gutiérrez, Maria Magalhães, João
Paulo A. S. Medeiros Constância, Duarte Soares Furtado, Verónica Neves and Pedro Rodrigues for help
with published papers and references; and Tony Clarke for help with some
unpublished materiel; and of course all those who have contributed with observations, trip reports and photos of birds from the Azores.