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The latest atlas that maps all of the birds that breed in North Wales has won a top award the journal British Birds.

The best bird atlas recognises the outstanding contribution the North Wales Breeding Bird Atlas has made to our understanding of the birds that call this region home. The Atlas was only made possible by the army of volunteers who took time to get out and visit all of the tetrads (squares 2km x 2km) in North Wales during the breeding season between 2008 and 2012, to record the birds present with evidence of breeding. Over the course of five years of fieldwork, online data capture, preparation of maps and data analysis resulted in the publication of a book, the Breeding Birds of North Wales, in 2013. The Atlas will inform bird conservation policies in Wales and provide an invaluable research resource for the next 20 years.

The award acknowledges the outstanding contribution of over 700 volunteers who submitted records into the Atlas. A project of this scale could only have been successful with a skilled and enthusiastic team behind it.

Iolo Williams, well-known Welsh broadcaster, said after news of the award, “in charting geographical patterns and changes over time in the distribution of 169 species, the new Bird Atlas is an extremely valuable resource for all organisations involved in conserving, researching or understanding birds in Wales.”

The Breeding Birds of North Wales has documented the changes in the breeding-season distribution of birds over the last 20 years. The nearly 300,000 records from the Bird Atlas have been made available to the British Trust for Ornithology and Cofnod, the local environmental records centre for North Wales, who will use these data to support conservation action and policy.

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