Image: Doug Harebottle

In an era marked by a growing need for ecological data on freshwater ecosystems, the South African Biodiversity Data Pipeline for Wetlands and Waterbirds, commonly known as the BIRDIE platform, emerges as a game-changer. We are thrilled to announce that the BIRDIE platform is officially live and ready for use.

BIRDIE’s mission: The BIRDIE platform has a mission to bridge the data-to-decision gap by collecting and interpreting information on wetlands and waterbirds. The goal is to provide decision-makers with information so they can make informed choices about the conservation of these critical ecosystems. At the same time, BIRDIE demonstrates the value of key long-term citizen science birding datasets.

How BIRDIE works: Think of BIRDIE as an accessible online hub, catering not only to experts but also to the general public. BIRDIE’s data pipeline embarks from various databases and repositories, undergoing cleaning, validation, and statistical analyses to produce accessible web platform indicators. The platform equips authorities and site managers with comprehensive data, vital for reporting on the state of wetlands and waterbird populations. Furthermore, it opens a window for bird enthusiasts, offering valuable insights and planning tools for birdwatching trips.

The data pipeline starts from different databases and repositories, and moves through cleaning, validation, and statistical analyses to create output indicators that can be accessed via the web platform

Citizen science at its core: BIRDIE harnesses the power of citizen science, inviting contributions from individuals passionate about birds. Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) and the South African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) are the primary datasets. This collective effort provides crucial information on bird abundance and species occurrence.

BIRDIE’s impact:

  • Global Alignment: BIRDIE aligns with international biodiversity agreements, including the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands where South Africa has 29 designated wetlands of international importance, and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement that looks after 255 species of waterbird that migrate between Africa and Europe.
  • National Biodiversity Assessment: Contributing to South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment through species assessments, BIRDIE guides policies and conservation efforts.
  • Birders’ paradise: Enthusiastic birdwatchers find a treasure trove in BIRDIE, utilizing it to understand species and plan their birdwatching adventures.
  • Wetland management: managers must make day-to-day decisions at sites, and can use BIRDIE data to help monitor change in species at their site.

Curious to explore the world of wetlands and waterbirds with BIRDIE? Visit the BIRDIE Platform.

Let’s embark on this journey together to ensure the flourishing of our wetlands and waterbirds!

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