Guidance notes

Thank you for your request to access Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) data. The following notes are designed to help you decide which format of I-WeBS data will be appropriate for your uses and the costs of obtaining data. Any queries should be directed to the I-WeBS Office at BirdWatch Ireland.

The Irish Wetland Bird Survey
The Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) is a joint scheme of BirdWatch Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). I-WeBS aims to monitor the numbers and distribution of waterbird populations wintering in the Republic of Ireland, in the long-term enabling the spatio-temporal trends to be described for our wintering waterbird populations. The specific objectives of the scheme are to: (a) assess the size of non-breeding waterbird populations in the Republic of Ireland, (b) assess trends in their numbers and distribution, (c) assess the importance of individual sites and (d) develop a more thorough understanding of waterbird ecology. Further details about I-WeBS are presented here.
Data Availability
I-WeBS began in autumn 1994 and as the scheme has continued to grow and develop, a large body of data is now held on the database. Data availability, varies with sites, years and months due to a number of factors such as coverage variation by counters.

The schedule for data processing means that data are not normally available before the beginning of the most recent count season (e.g. data for the 1999/00 season are not normally available until the spring of 2001). The applicant will be informed if the amount or type of data available differs significantly from that requested before data are released. Please contact the I-WeBS office if you wish to discuss data availability before submitting a request.

A map illustrating the location of all I-WeBS sites covered is presented here. (please note that each site is made up of one to many subsites, so the distribution of wetlands covered may be much wider than illustrated by the location of the site - please contact the I-WeBS Office for further details).

Data formats available
Site-level summary data are now available here. If you require further specific datasets, such as by month, and/ or at subsite level, please proceed with your request on this form. Data will normally be supplied in one of three formats:
  • Monthly tabulations: provide monthly count data, summed across all parts of the requested reporting area, for one year. The printout gives the count of each waterbird species in each month during the particular season requested.
  • Summary tabulations: provide the winter peaks for each species and the average count from five consecutive years (where available) for each species. Also provided are the most recent national and international population thresholds available for each species (see Interpretive notes). I-WeBS partners recommend that data are requested in this format when undertaking site assessments.
  • Single species data: provide a count for each site and month where a species has been recorded.
Data are available for any combination of subsites that occur within a given site. Outputs will be emailed in pdf format.

Please allow a minimum of 10 days for the processing of your request.


Please review the Terms and Conditions on the next page.

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