The importance of submitting Full Protocol cards on a regular basis (even for already mapped pentads)

Have a look at the Kenya Bird Map coverage map and you will notice that most of the covered pentads have less than 3 full protocol cards submitted (yellow or orange color). 4 is the minimum number of cards needed for bird records from a pentad to be analyzed scientifically beyond just the presence/absence of a species. Many other details such as relative abundance and seasonal migration patterns of birds can be obtained from the records in a pentad. Long-term population trends (i.e. whether a bird is getting rarer or more common in an area) can be seen from analyzing this data and this can help in planning effective conservation actions. But only if the pentad has a minimum of 4 FULL PROTOCOL cards. And of course the more cards, the better and more reliable the info that can be gotten from them. Pentads with less than 4 full protocol cards, even if they have several ad-hoc protocol cards, can only show us a list of the birds that have been recorded in the pentad but they can’t tell us anything beyond that.

Long-term population trends for birds such as this Eurasian Roller Coracias garrulus (a Palearctic migrant) can be monitored using data from full protocol cards (Photo: S. Shema)

This is why you should not only target unmapped pentads but also aim to change the color of already mapped pentads (e.g. change from orange to green, or green to blue) by submitting full protocol cards as often as possible. This is also why full protocol cards (minimum of 2 hours spent actively bird mapping) are superior to ad-hoc protocol cards (less than 2 hours spent actively bird mapping).

Use the KBM coverage map to see which pentads around your area are still yellow (1 card) or orange (2-3 cards) and endeavor to turn them green (4 cards)! It’s a lot of fun challenging yourself and some friends to try and turn all the pentads in your area green (or blue, or red, or purple for that matter!)

Coverage map
Kenya Bird Map coverage map as of the 16th July 2018


– Author: Sidney Shema (Project manager – Kenya Bird Map) –

4 thoughts on “The importance of submitting Full Protocol cards on a regular basis (even for already mapped pentads)

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