Help with one of New Zealand's longest running citizen science projects

The Birds New Zealand Beach Patrol Scheme started in 1951 (although some records date from 1943) and for 70 years has aimed to systematically document the identity, location and numbers of seabirds found dead on New Zealand beaches. Beach patrols by Birds New Zealand members provides a unique long-term record and the data collected has helped to establish the occurrence and to some extent the distribution of more than 110 seabird species in New Zealand coastal waters. Several rarities have been found, including Adélie penguin.

It has also provided information leading to an improved understanding of the seasonal movements, migration and causes of seabird deaths. The database is now complete up to the end of 2018. Over 28,000 record cards and record sheets have been collected by patrolling our beaches and rocky shorelines; more than 440,000 birds have been counted.

We welcome the interest of members of Birds New Zealand to help enter data from the scanned cards into an online database. This approach will ensure that the database is kept up-to-date. You can help to make this new system effective if you have the inclination, some time and a computer at home that is connected to the internet. Data entry can be done anywhere at any time if you have access to the internet.

Interest from scientists, students and others is also invited to use the database, or parts of it, for research. If you would like to help enter records collected during beach patrols, or to request access to the database for studies please contact Ian Armitage, Beach Patrol Project Coordinator (

One of the earliest beach survey cards, collected on 17 March 1943, at Ohariu Bay, Wellington.


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