We want your wildlife records

Water Vole photo by Tom Marshallonline wildlife recording

EcoRecord wants your help in recording where our region’s plants and animals live.

EcoRecord is the biological record centre for Birmingham and the Black Country. We collect and manage wildlife information and work to provide a sound evidence base on which to base decisions relating to wildlife (species and habitats) and geology.

What is biological recording?

Biological recording is spotting a species or plant or animal and then noting it down. This can be done anyone and can help to significantly contribute to our knowledge of the natural world around us. Much of the type of information gathered by volunteer recorders simply could not be gathered by any other means.

Making your records count

A useful record consists of at least the four following key pieces of information, often known as the ‘four W’s’: WHAT was seen, WHERE it was seen, WHEN it was seen and WHO saw it. A record may additionally contain information on how many of the plant or animal were seen or whether or not the creature is likely to be breeding.

ALL records are important

Biological recording is not restricted to species considered ‘high profile’ or rare. Information about the presence of relatively common species can often tell us something about the state of the ecosystem around them. We are not just interested in the species present in ‘nature reserves’ or other designated ‘wildlife’ areas. Wildlife is all around us. 

How your records help

Information on the distribution of species and habitats across Birmingham and the Black Country is useful in helping us to identify not only the areas of the conurbation which are most important for wildlife and therefore in need of protection, but can also help us to determine which areas are relatively wildlife-poor and in need of improvement. 

This approach is currently being used by The Wildlife Trust and its partners as a method targeting areas in which to carry out habitat improvements as part of the Nature Improvement Area initiative.

Having reliable and up-to-date information on the presence of species can help us to understand change over time, such as highlighting which species are declining in distribution and abundance, and which species are increasing. This is crucial in enabling the conservation effort, particularly of vulnerable species, both on a local and national level.

How to send us your records

To help to make it easier for you to send us your wildlife records, EcoRecord have just launched an online species-recording website called RODIS. A few clicks and you’ll be prompted to enter information about the species you’ve spotted, and where and when you saw it.

RODIS - A Quick Guide

  1. Go to ecorecord.org.uk and click on the RODIS button. A new window will open.
  2. Sign up for an account (if you haven't already)
  3. Click on Ad Hoc RODIS button - at this point you will be asked to enter the email address you registered with on RODIS.

You will then be taken to the data entry screen where you can enter information about the species you've spotted.

You can also send us records through Twitter by tweeting them to us @EcoRecording. The Wildlife Trusts will soon be launching a brand new online system called Wild Walks. The launch is due to take place in April, so watch this space for more news.

And you can of course also still send us your records the traditional way either by email – enquiries@ecorecord.org.uk - or by sending your paper-based records by post to EcoRecord, 16 Greenfield Crescent, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3AU.

Andy Slater, Biodiversity Information Officer